Words by Pankhuri Bhutani.
Photography // Lil Xxel – press.
Starting to rap at just the age of 15, Alex Perez who professionally goes by the name Lil XXEL is an American rapper of Cuban descent and currently one of the most trending artists in the industry. His song “LMK” is home to over 2 million Tiktok videos and his music has garnered over 30 million likes on the video streaming platform and more than 17 million views on his YouTube channel.
Starting out through performing in school talent shows, Alex later transformed into creating R&B music and then further entered the world of rap music. He now is the creator of one of the most viral tracks that is presently being streamed by millions of people, leading to him garnering more than 3 million active monthly listeners on his Spotify Channel. We caught up with Alex to talk about his music journey, discuss significant insights about his globally viral track “LMK” and plans on future music!
Hi Lil Xxel, thank you for joining us on Peachy! How would you describe your sound in your own terms?
My sound is an exact reflection of who I am as a person. I’m a simp! But I’m always happy and spreading positive vibes. So my music is always some love, R&B vibe mixed with a happy dance cadence.
How did the name Lil Xxel come into existence?
So my name is Alex and I used to call myself Young Lexx back in the day when I first started music lol. It wasn’t until I wanted to become a “Lil” artist, where I flipped my name Lexx into what we now pronounce “zell”!
Listen to “MNU” while reading the piece:
Let’s talk about your globally successful track “LMK”. How did you feel when you first found out it had turned into this immensely viral track?
I mean I didn’t just find out, I watched it grow every single day and it was the most amazing feeling ever. Seeing a 2 minute track that I produced in my own bedroom go as crazy as it is was quite an inexplicable feeling.
What was the creative process like with the track. Did you face any challenges during the making of the song?
It all started with me making a rhythm with my bare hands. I was banging my hand on the desk sort of like we all did back in school. I started with the infamous “lately I been missin’ u..” and the rest was history. It was a butter smooth creation. No bumps at all.
Did your initial visualization of the track match up with the final outcome?
My initial visualization was surpassed within the first few minutes of me uploading the track to the world. Millions of streams was something new to me. I was expecting 20K and no more. So I was most definitely blown away.
When you first made the track, what kind of reaction were you hoping to receive from it?
I wasn’t really hoping for much. I made the track about my ex at the time and I just hoped she heard it and liked it. Maybe even get back with me haha!
At just the age of 19, you have garnered more than thirty million likes on your Tiktok profile and your sound is the home to over 2 million Tiktok videos. How does it feel to know your music has such a global influence?
I never knew that I had the ability to really be heard by what I felt was like the whole world at the time. Then I became so apart of the Tik Tok community that it was like wow, people actually like my music. It feels great.
“LMK” being your debut single is already breaking records. What kind of reaction are you hoping to receive from your future projects and is there any ideal collaboration you hope to achieve in the future years of your career?
I’m grateful for whatever reactions I receive, if any. I just hope everyone continues to follow my journey and love the music. I am no “one hit wonder”.. I really do this haha! I won’t stop until I get Dua Lipa on a track with me! She’s the dream collab!
Lastly, is there anything that you wish to convey to your fans from all around the world?
Love yourself and do what you want, actually. If you have a dream, chase it. Don’t hold back or you’ll regret what could’ve been. Be happy, be you & spread positive vibes! I love you all! MNU on all platforms August 28th! – xelly bean <3