For Maryland R&B Singer LeXuS, It’s All About The Fire

By Teta Alim

Neo-soul artist Alexis Hayward, or LeXuS, has a mature voice that belies her age.
Neo-soul artist Alexis Hayward, or LeXuS, has a mature voice that belies her age.

At first introduction, Alexis Hayward comes across as bubbly and welcoming. But as soon as she starts talking about her music, she’s taken over by a focused, intense energy.

That energy is captured on “Perfect Match” (listen below), Hayward’s silky and sophisticated new love song featuring California rapper Negus Gold Phoenix. The tune derives its power from Hayward’s sultry vocals, which she pours over a sensual instrumental produced by C.A.S Beatz.

“It’s about the fire,” says the 21-year-old native of Brandywine, Maryland, who records under the name LeXuS. “My inspiration was desire. Desire for what I want.”

What does Hayward want? To make music — but that’s just for starters.

“People used to ask me what I want to do,” Hayward says. “They’d ask me if I wanted to be a singer and I said, ‘No.’ They’d ask me if I wanted to be producer and I said, ‘No.’ Then they asked me, ‘Well, what do you want to do?’ and I said, ‘I want to do everything.’”

By the time Hayward reached 8 years old, she was already making music. She’d been influenced by her parents’ taste, especially songs her mother listened to on drives to D.C. Hayward cites ‘90s hitmakers Jodeci as a key inspiration. The first album she bought was the R&B group’s greatest hits collection.

Following in the footsteps of Jodeci’s DeVante Swing, Hayward wanted creative control over her music. So she formed her own record label, VybeTribe Recordings. “Perfect Match” is the first song for the label, and she has more projects on the way.

“I don’t want to be an employee. I want to be a leader. I want to start something new,” Hayward says.

“Perfect Match” is a throwback song for sure, but not just a nostalgia trip. It’s contemporary and astonishingly mature — to the credit of Hayward, who sounds like she can rock out in front of a crowd of 50,000 by tomorrow.

“I’m everything you think,” Hayward says with a smile in her voice, “and nothing you think at all, at the same time.”