Lexi Krekorian, the Waterloo singer who goes by the artist name Alexandra Kay, used to work with a man named Scotty in St. Louis.
He moved to Los Angeles, playing music in the city and driving for Uber.
One day, an executive producer hopped in Scotty’s car and began telling him about an unscripted show he was casting for Netflix.
It needed only one more cast member.
Scotty promptly got in the backseat and showed the executive producer videos of Krekorian performing.
The next day, she got a call asking her about the part.
“I was like, ‘what the heck is this,’” Krekorian told the Republic-Times. “I was really skeptical of the whole thing. I just decided to put my trust in God and go for it. And once I got cast two months later, I was like ‘this was meant to be.’”
Krekorian began singing when she was a teenager, deciding to focus on music when she was 17.
In the time since, she has performed in local shows, competed on “American Idol,” appeared in commercials, seen YouTube videos of her singing go viral and had several songs chart highly.
“It’s been a slow and steady climb up this crazy steep mountain,” Krekorian summarized. “There’s been a lot of times when I really wanted to give up. So, the times when I would have a single chart, I would get to open for somebody big or have a video go viral, those were the times that kept me going all those really hard years.”
One of the most recent hard times came in 2017, when Krekorian, now 27, auditioned for “The Voice.” No judges selected her to be on their team for the singing competition show.
So, when the executive producer pitched “Westside” to her last July, with Krekorian serving as the wide-eyed newcomer to Los Angeles, she was intrigued.
“I was ready to step outside my comfort zone,” she explained. “After not getting a chair to turn on ‘The Voice,’ I was devastated. So when the show came to me it was just a Godsend.”
Krekorian got the part later that summer and moved to Los Angeles in October last year.
“Westside” marks one of Netflix’s first forays into reality television. It follows a group of nine struggling musicians as they put together a live performance about their lives.
The other artists on the show are Sean Patrick Murray, James Byous, Caitlyn Ary, Pia Toscano, Leo Gallo, Arika Gluck, Taz Zavala and Austin Kolbe.
“It was really great getting to work together because we were just telling our own stories,” Krekorian said. “We wrote songs about our struggles, and not just about the music, but about our lives, as well.”
Filming began on the series in August last year, wrapping up earlier this year.
Krekorian said the long filming process helped her.
“You don’t realize how hard it is to be yourself when there are cameras in your face all the time,” she noted. “You automatically just start changing your insecurities about yourself. You start to overthink a lot of things.… Then you get to the point where you do it for so long you forget the cameras are even there.”
Krekorian said another difficult aspect of “Westside” was learning to work with other musicians.
“It was kind of hard at the beginning because when you are a solo artist your whole life all you have to worry about is you and perfecting your craft and trying to put yourself out there,” she said. “Then, all of a sudden, you’re thrown into a group of nine people and it’s humbling because you have to realize that you’re going to learn more if you stop thinking you have to always say something and just listen to the people around you.”
She said working on the show taught her those lessons about collaboration and about songwriting.
“I think that we’ve really gotten thrown into this amazing singer/songwriter boot camp, and we all came out better,” Krekorian said. “So I think we’re really fortunate to have had this opportunity.”
She also highlighted the diverse musical styles the artists each brought to the project, saying they came together to create an appealing aspect of the show.
“I think that people are going to love the music in the show,” she said. “We’ve gotten to work with Grammy Award-winning producers and songwriters in this show, as well as Grammy Award-winning directors because there are music videos woven into the show.”
There are 19 music videos in the series.
“I think that what people are really going to love is they’re going to see us become a family, slowly, over the eight episodes,” Krekorian added. “That was definitely the biggest highlight — that I came out of this whole experience with eight best friends.”
She said that dynamic helps with the relationships on display, as no scenes were fabricated for entertainment value.
“No one was ever told what to say or what to do,” she said. “No fights were planted. This is more of a documentary than it is a reality show. That’s what I think people are really going to love about it. It’s authentic. Netflix is not bleeping out curse words. It’s like what you see is what you get.”
The entirety of “Westside” will be released Friday on Netflix, as will the show’s soundtrack from Warner Bros. Records. The trailer for the show and a music video are available on Facebook on the show’s page, Westside Netflix.
Now that she has finished the series, Krekorian said she cannot talk much about what is coming up next from her, though she did say she will have a new single released within the next two months.
“I just hope people love the show and people watch it and look at it with a complete open heart, eyes, ears and an open mind and they don’t just start judging,” she stressed. “There are people in this show who are opening things that they wouldn’t even talk about with their therapist, some of them. And they’re able to do that and show the viewers a real, raw glimpse into their lives.”