“I’m about to take over, I’m about to / Mark this date, get out of my head, start / Getting ahead, get to the paper / By taking a chance / Caution the offers / The industry’s naughty / If a surface deception, then accomplish / My motives / I will not cower in corners / I will achieve / I do believe.”
So sing identical-twin R&B duo, Aleexus and Aleeya Crowder, who perform under the name Elixir, in their single, “The Industry.” The song embodies their vision to create powerful, meaningful music without having to compromise who they are and to sing the truth as LGBTQ+ artists.
“The people making music right now, they’re basically making music that people want to hear,” Aleexus tells GO. “We’re making music that people need to hear.”
“They need to hear a message that’s telling them that they can be themselves, not what people expect them to be,” adds Aleeya. “They need to hear that through music.”
Originally from Carrolton, GA, Aleexus and Aleeya left their hometown for Atlanta when they turned 18 so that they could pursue a career in music. That they would embark on the musical journey together should come as no surprise; like many identical twins, the two have “been doing everything together our whole life,” says Aleexus. They even came out together, or at least in close proximity to each other — Aleexus in the 9th grade and Aleeya two years later. They hailed from a supportive family, with a mother who also identified as LGBTQ+.
Music has always been part of the twins’ lives and a connection for them back to their family. “Our whole life has been music,” says Aleexus. “We always loved music, we always loved performing — whether it was sports, whether it was singing for our family — so we knew that music was the direction that we were going to want to go in.”
The twins describe their work as a mixture of old-school R&B/soul with a new-school touch, inspired by artists like Lauryn Hill, Jill Scott, and Erykah Badu. “The way they create their songs, their melodies and rhythms — we listened to them, and we tried to allow it to help us develop our music,” says Aleeya, “So we want to put a taste of what they have in their music into ours and make it our own.”
But the power of artists like Hill goes beyond their rhythms and melodies. “They’re brave enough to speak the truth through music,” Aleeya says. ”We want to have that in our own music, to not be fearful to say something that needs to be said.”
This truth resonates in Elixir’s music, which urges listeners to stand up for themselves and reclaim their space in the world, in various ways. “White flag means surrender / And you will not surrender yourself,” they sing in “Red Flags,” a song about recognizing the dangers in toxic relationships. In “Thrive With Pride,” they sing of the importance of living your queer self and to “thrive with all you got.”
It’s a message of support for “people like us who are gay that don’t always feel supported,” says Aleeya. “We’re telling them that, although there are people who like to pass very negative judgment, that’s not a reason for you not to thrive for something that you are fully behind, like your sexuality.”
“It’s very relatable,” adds Aleexus. “I feel like people in our community need to hear that type of music.”
The song “Grab My Hand” addresses another timely matter: the coronavirus pandemic and the need for us to come together and support each other during the crisis. In an age when physical closeness can literally be deadly, music provides a way to reach out — and an emotional connection between singer and audience that amplifies Elixir’s message-based product.
“Although we’re not here for you physically, listen to our lyrics, our rhythms, our melodies and find some sort of comfort within the music,” Aleeya says. “We want to portray a sense of comfortability through sound.”
Aleexus and Aleeya are spending their own quarantine at home with family back in Carrolton, where the quiet serenity and seclusion of the country — plus the extra time now on everyone’s hands — has helped inspire them creatively. They’re using this time to work on three new songs and videos and to compile their existing work into a new EP.
While most musicians and artists would agree that creating music in collaboration is a unique and rewarding experience, for the Elixir sisters, “the connection is deeper,” Aleexus says. “Sometimes, we don’t really have to sit down too long and figure out where we’re going to go because once we hear a certain beat, me and her just start going. It’s really harmonic; it’s really effortless to work with each other.”
The name, Elixir — which they’d come across during a brainstorming session — seems ready-made for such a seamless musical partnership between identical twins: a combination of two separate materials synthesized into a single, greater product.