Rex Orange County

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Rex Orange County
O'Connor in 2020
O'Connor in 2020
Background information
Birth nameAlexander James O’Connor[1]
Born (1998-05-04) 4 May 1998 (age 24)
OriginGrayshott, England, United Kingdom
Genres
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
  • drums
  • bass guitar
  • saxophone
Years active2015–present
LabelsRCA[5]
Websiterexorangecounty.com

Alexander James O'Connor (born 4 May 1998), known professionally as Rex Orange County, is an English singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. O’Connor rose to prominence in 2017 following multiple features on Tyler, the Creator’s Grammy-nominated album Flower Boy, including the single "Boredom". NPR Music journalist Zoë Jones has described O’Connor’s music as "a bright blend of hip-hop, jazz, and bedroom pop”.[6] Under the Rex Orange County moniker, O'Connor has released one mixtape, Bcos U Will Never B Free (2015), and three studio albums: Apricot Princess (2017), Pony (2019), and Who Cares? (2022). O'Connor also released a live album, entitled Live at Radio City Music Hall, in 2020.

Early life and name origin[edit]

Alexander James O’Connor was born on 4 May 1998, to Nina and Phil O’Connor, a professional sports photographer. He grew up in the village of Grayshott near Haslemere, Surrey.[7][8] O’Connor’s interest in music began at a young age. At age 5, O'Connor joined the choir at the school where his mother worked.[9] He became a drummer and later taught himself piano.

The name Rex Orange County is based on a teacher-given nickname, "The OC", after his surname O'Connor.[10] O’Connor attended Frensham Heights School in Farnham, Surrey.

Career[edit]

2014–2016: Early career and Bcos U Will Never B Free[edit]

At age 16, O’Connor picked up the guitar and started to produce his own music using Apple’s Logic software.[10][8] At this age, he also began attending the BRIT School where he studied drumming and was one of four percussionists in his year; the relative rareness of his primary instrument provided him with wide exposure to various projects of others in his school which he credits to exposing him to new and fresh music.[9]

On 4 September 2015, O’Connor self-released his debut album Bcos U Will Never B Free on SoundCloud and Bandcamp.[8] Upon listening to the album, fellow English musician and producer Two Inch Punch got in touch with O’Connor, providing him with a management team. The two have continued to collaborate throughout O’Connor’s career in the form of the tracks "UNO", "Best Friend", and "Untitled". The album also caught the attention of American rapper Tyler, the Creator, who sent O’Connor an email describing his enjoyment of the project. This led to him flying O’Connor out the following year to L.A. to collaborate on his then-upcoming album Flower Boy,[11] with O’Connor co-writing and contributing vocals to the songs "Boredom" and "Foreword".[12] On 17 November 2016, O’Connor released the single “UNO”, a song Clash magazine described by writing, "The buoyant keyboard riff underpins a hypnotic half-spoken vocal, one that veers from topic to topic in a hazy burst of creative mania."[13] On 25 January 2017, O’Connor released the single “Best Friend” (premiering on Apple Music’s Beats 1 station), followed later in the year by the release of his second album Apricot Princess.[12] O’Connor’s work has been compared to "other artsy, post-genre teen artists".[14]

2017–present: Apricot Princess, Pony, and Who Cares?[edit]

O’Connor’s first release following the success of Apricot Princess and Flower Boy was on 11 October 2017 with the single "Loving Is Easy", created in collaboration with the Dutch artist Benny Sings.[12] On 16 April 2018, O’Connor performed the song in his television debut on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.[15] On 31 May 2018, O’Connor released a cover of "You've Got a Friend in Me" in collaboration with Randy Newman, the creator of the song.[16] He was also featured in Spotify's Rise Program.[11]

On 9 October 2018, O’Connor was scheduled to appear on the French television programme Quotidien, but refused to perform because it featured a sketch by comedian Alison Wheeler parodying the Ku Klux Klan, which he called "tasteless".[17]

On 14 February 2019, O’Connor released the single "New House". Later that year on 12 September, O’Connor released "10/10"; the lead single from his third album Pony.[18] Released on 25 October 2019, Pony was O’Connor’s first major-label album release through RCA Records.[6] The album received a lukewarm reaction among critics, with Pitchfork rating it a 5.0 out of 10. Associate Editor Anna Gaca described the album as "relentlessly juvenile"[19] while criticising its more "childlike" sound relative to his previous releases.

On 30 September 2020, O'Connor released an EP with recordings from his performance at Radio City Music Hall in New York City during his Pony tour titled Live at Radio City Music Hall alongside a documentary [20] released on YouTube. This documentary showed the events leading up to this performance as well as the early conclusion of the Pony tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In October 2020, O'Connor confirmed that he was in the process of recording a fourth studio album titled Who Cares?.[21] In January 2021, he liked a Tweet seemingly confirming that it would be released at some point later that year.[22] However, this did not materialise. On 13 January 2022, O'Connor began officially teasing the album, sending out postcards containing a phone number that when called, a snippet of song would play.[23] The song, titled "Keep It Up" was released as a single on 26 January 2022. Along with this, it was announced on O'Connor's Instagram that 'Who Cares?' would be released on 11 March 2022.

Artistry[edit]

Growing up, O'Connor listened to Queen, ABBA, Stevie Wonder, and American alternative artists like Weezer and Green Day.[11] He cites these artists and others as core inspiration for his own music.

Personal life[edit]

In 2015, O'Connor began dating fellow British singer-songwriter Thea Morgan-Murrell (known professionally as Thea), having met while attending the BRIT School together.[24] O'Connor has sung about Morgan-Murrell in a variety of his songs, and both have collaborated on the tracks "Sycamore Girl" and "Never Had The Balls".[25][26] On 24 November 2020, O'Connor confirmed on Twitter that he and Morgan-Murrell were separated, tweeting "i am not in a relationship".[27]

Accolades[edit]

In January 2018, O'Connor came in second in the BBC Sound of 2018 award after Norwegian singer Sigrid.[28]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions Certifications
UK
[29]
AUS
[30]
CAN
[31]
NZ
[32]
US
[33]
US
Heat.

[34]
US
Ind.

[35]
Bcos U Will Never B Free [A] 28
Apricot Princess
  • Released: 26 April 2017
  • Label: Self-released
  • Format: Digital download, CD, vinyl, streaming
2 8
Pony
  • Released: 25 October 2019
  • Label: RCA
  • Format: Digital download, CD, vinyl, streaming
5 4 3 6 3
Who Cares?
  • Released: 11 March 2022[38]
  • Label: RCA
  • Format: Digital download, CD, vinyl, streaming
1 2
[39]
16 1
[40]
5
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory

Singles[edit]

As lead artist[edit]

List of singles, with year released, selected chart positions and certifications, and album name shown
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
UK
[29]
UK
Indie

[41]
BEL
[42]
NZ
Hot

[43]
US
Bub.

[44]
US
Alt.

[45]
US
Rock

[46]
US
Rock
Airplay

[47]
US
AAA

[48]
"Japan" 2015 Bcos U Will Never B Free
"Corduroy Dreams"[49]
"Uno"[51] 2016 Non-album singles
"Best Friend"[52] 2017
"Sunflower"[54]
"Untitled"[55] Apricot Princess
"Never Enough"
"Edition"[56] Non-album singles
"Loving Is Easy"[57]
(featuring Benny Sings)
40 27 35 24
"You've Got a Friend in Me"[58]
(with Randy Newman)
2018
"New House"[59] 2019 47 19 40
"10/10"[60] 68 22 9 6 27 25 Pony
"Pluto Projector"[61] 17 7
"Face to Face"[62] 86 15 8
"Keep It Up" 2022 95 24 16 21 29 Who Cares?
"Amazing"[63] 24
"Open a Window"[64]
(with Tyler, the Creator)
89 7 16 15
"Threat"[65] 18 29 Non-album single

As featured artist[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Albums
US R&B/HH Bub.
[66]
NZ
Heat.

[67]
"Boredom"
(Tyler, the Creator featuring Rex Orange County and Anna of the North)
2017 9 10 Flower Boy
"Forever Always"[68]
(Peter CottonTale featuring Rex Orange County, Chance the Rapper, Daniel Caesar, Madison Ryann Ward & YEBBA)
2018 Non-album single
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Other charted songs[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
IDN
[69]
MLY
[70]
NZ
Hot

[43]
PHL
[71]
SGP
[72]
US
Rock

[46]
"Always" 2019 18 16 Pony
"Never Had the Balls" 21 21
"Worth It" 2022 19 35 Who Cares?
"One in a Million" 17 30
"If You Want It" 21 39
"7AM" 44
"The Shade" 11 10 3 12 38
"Making Time" 48

Music videos[edit]

  • "Sunflower" (2017) (produced by Illegal Civ Cinema)[73]
  • "Loving Is Easy" (2017) (directed by Chris Ullens)[74]
  • "10/10" (2019) (directed by Warren Fu)[75]
  • "ONE IN A MILLION" (2022) [76]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Bcos U Will Never B Free did not enter the UK Albums Chart, but peaked at 26 on the UK Albums Sales Chart.[36]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BMI | Songview Search". repertoire.bmi.com.
  2. ^ "Rex Orange County - Things to do in New York". Time Out New York. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  3. ^ "Pony - Rex Orange County AllMusic". Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  4. ^ "This Valentine's Day, Rex Orange County Wants To Move Into A 'New House' Together". NPR.org. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  5. ^ "Rex Orange County Doesn't Care What You Call Him (Anymore)". NPR.org.
  6. ^ a b "Rex Orange County On What 'Pony' Means And How Fame Really Feels". Npr.org. 6 November 2019. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  7. ^ Dunn, Frankie (11 May 2017). "10 things you need to know about rex orange county". Vice.
  8. ^ a b c "Rex Orange County: The Emotionally Visual Mastermind of the Next Generation". noisey.vice.com. Ryan Bassil. 11 September 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Rex Orange County's Road From School Choir to 'Flower Boy'". PigeonsandPlanes. Archived from the original on 15 November 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  10. ^ a b Joshi, Tara (18 November 2017). "One to watch: Rex Orange County". The Guardian.
  11. ^ a b c "Rex Orange County is An Old Soul Moving at Lightspeed". Pitchfork. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  12. ^ a b c "COLUMN: Rex Orange County is an artist that cannot be labeled". Indiana Daily Student. 23 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Rex Orange County Shares 'UNO'". Clash. 17 December 2016.
  14. ^ "Rex Orange County Is Teenage Joy Personified". Thefader.com. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  15. ^ "Rex Orange County performs "Loving Is Easy" on 'The Tonight Show'". Substream Magazine. 17 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Rex Orange County and Randy Newman – "You've Got a Friend in Me"". Spin. 31 May 2018.
  17. ^ Geffray, Emilie (11 October 2018). "Quotidien s'explique après l'annulation du groupe de Rex Orange County". Le Figaro (in French). Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  18. ^ "Rex Orange County's new album, Pony, to arrive next month via Sony Music". Music Business Worldwide. 19 September 2019. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  19. ^ Gaca, Anna (25 October 2019). "Rex Orange County: Pony Album Review". Pitchfork. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  20. ^ Video on YouTube
  21. ^ Graves, Shahlin (17 October 2020). "Rex Orange County announces new album 'Who Cares?'". Coup De Main Magazine. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  22. ^ Graves, Shahlin (14 January 2021). "Rex Orange County confirms 2021 release for new album 'Who Cares?'". Coup De Main Magazine. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  23. ^ Graves, Shahlin. "Rex Orange County is sending fans postcards to tease... something". Coup de Main Magazine. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  24. ^ Graves, Shahlin. "Interview: Introducing Thea and her new single 'So Simple'". Coup de Main Magazine. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  25. ^ Horne, Rory. "Interview: Rex Orange County on his new album 'Apricot Princess'". Coup de Main Magazine. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  26. ^ "Thea". Genius. Genius. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  27. ^ @rexorangecounty (24 November 2020). "i am not in a relationship" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  28. ^ "The Longlist, Meet the 16 longlisted acts for BBC Music Sound of 2018". BBC.
  29. ^ a b "Rex Orange County | full Official Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
  30. ^ "Discography Rex Orange County". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 10 March 2022.
  31. ^ "Rex Orange County Chart History: Canadian Albums". Billboard. Retrieved 22 March 2022.
  32. ^ "Discography Rex Orange County". charts.nz. Retrieved 10 March 2022.
  33. ^ "Rex Orange County Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved 22 March 2022.
  34. ^ "Rex Orange County – Chart history (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Archived from the original on 23 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  35. ^ "Rex Orange County – Chart history (Independent Albums)". Billboard. Archived from the original on 23 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  36. ^ "Official Albums Sales Chart". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  37. ^ a b c d e f g "British certifications – Rex Orange County". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 4 September 2022. Type Rex Orange County in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  38. ^ @rexorangecounty (26 January 2022). "my new album "WHO CARES?" out MARCH 11th pre order / pre save at rexorangecounty.com" (Tweet). Retrieved 26 January 2022 – via Twitter.
  39. ^ "ARIA Top 50 Albums Chart". Australian Recording Industry Association. 21 March 2022. Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  40. ^ "NZ Top 40 Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. 21 March 2022. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
  41. ^ Peak positions for UK Independent Singles Chart:
  42. ^ "Discografie Rex Orange County". Ultratop (in French). Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  43. ^ a b "NZ Hot 40 Singles". Recorded Music NZ. 25 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
    • "10/10": "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. 23 September 2019. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
    • "Pluto Projector": "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. 28 October 2019. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
    • "Face to Face", "Always" and "Never Had the Balls": "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. 4 November 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
    • "Keep It Up": "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. 7 February 2022. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
    • "Open a Window", "Worth It", "One in a Million" and "If You Want It": "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. 21 March 2022. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
    • "Threat": "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. 22 August 2022. Retrieved 20 August 2022.
  44. ^ "Rex Orange County Chart History: Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles". Billboard. Retrieved 22 March 2022.
  45. ^ "Rex Orange County – Chart history (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  46. ^ a b "Rex Orange County – Chart history (Hot Rock Songs)". Billboard. Archived from the original on 23 December 2019. Retrieved 22 March 2022.
  47. ^ "Rex Orange County – Chart history (Rock Airplay)". Billboard. Archived from the original on 23 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  48. ^ "Rex Orange County – Chart history (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Archived from the original on 23 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  49. ^ Leung, Gabrielle (4 September 2020). "Rex Orange County honors debut album's 5th anniversary with live performance video". Hypebeast. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
  50. ^ a b c d "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2021 Singles" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 7 February 2022.
  51. ^ "Uno - Single by Rex Orange County on Apple Music". iTunes. 17 November 2016. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  52. ^ "Best Friend - Single by Rex Orange County on Apple Music". iTunes. 25 January 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  53. ^ a b c d "Gold & Platinum – Rex Orange County". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  54. ^ "Sunflower - Single by Rex Orange County on Apple Music". iTunes. 22 March 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  55. ^ "Untitled - Single by Rex Orange County on Apple Music". iTunes. 19 April 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  56. ^ "Edition - Single by Rex Orange County on Apple Music". iTunes. 19 September 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  57. ^ "Loving Is Easy (feat. Benny Sings) - Single by Rex Orange County on Apple Music". iTunes. 11 October 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  58. ^ "You've Got a Friend in Me by Rex Orange County and Randy Newman". Spotify. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  59. ^ "New House - Single by Rex Orange County on Apple Music". iTunes. 14 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  60. ^ Reilly, Neil (13 September 2019). "Listen to '10/10′, the new single from Rex Orange County". NME. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  61. ^ Clarke, Patrick (17 October 2019). "Take a listen to Rex Orange County's glistening new single 'Pluto Projector'". NME. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  62. ^ Rudas, Matthew (23 October 2019). "Rex Orange County's "Face To Face" May Be His Most Exciting and Personal Single Yet". Ones to Watch. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  63. ^ "Watch the video for Rex Orange County's warm new single, 'Amazing'". NME Australia. 18 February 2022. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  64. ^ Carter, Bobby (9 March 2022). "Rex Orange County (feat. Tyler, the Creator), 'Open a Window'". NPR. Retrieved 9 March 2022.
  65. ^ Graves, Shahlin (10 August 2022). "Rex Orange County releases new single 'Threat'". Coup De Main Magazine. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  66. ^ "Rex Orange County – Chart history (Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles)". Billboard. Archived from the original on 23 December 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  67. ^ "NZ Heatseeker Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. 24 July 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  68. ^ "Forever Always (feat. Rex Orange County, Chance the Rapper, Daniel Caesar, Madison Ryann Ward & YEBBA) - Single by Peter CottonTale on Apple Music". iTunes. 22 June 2018. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  69. ^ "Rex Orange County – Chart History (Indonesia Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  70. ^ "Top 20 Most Streamed International Singles In Malaysia Week 30 (22/07/2022-28/07/2022)". RIM. 6 August 2022. Retrieved 6 August 2022 – via Facebook.
  71. ^ "Rex Orange County – Chart History (Philippines Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  72. ^ "RIAS Top Charts Week 31 (29 Jul - 4 Aug 2022)". RIAS. 9 August 2022. Archived from the original on 9 August 2022. Retrieved 9 August 2022.
  73. ^ Sunflower music video, Shot by Illegal Civ Cinema, YouTube
  74. ^ It's Nice That | Chris Ullens directs charming stop-motion music video for Rex Orange County, Itsnicethat.com
  75. ^ "Rex Orange County returns with new single "10/10"". Thefader.com. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  76. ^ ONE IN A MILLION Official Video, YouTube

External links[edit]