By Jessica Goolsby
For The Tribune
A song written by a Hewitt-Trussville graduate for a recording artist hit iTunes July 16.
“SunSoaked,” written by Alexandria Calderone, is being performed by recording artist Ali Lee, of Lexington, Ky.
The music video, which features shots of Calderone picking her guitar throughout, was released July 14 on YouTube, and has quickly circulated on other social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.
The song hit Sirius XM Radio’s channel 3 “20 on 20” station Friday.
“At first it was very surreal, and I guess it still kind of is,” said Calderone, a junior at the University of Alabama and 2011 graduate of Hewitt-Trussville High School. “I was just working on recording one of my songs I had written one day when my cousin-in-law came to visit me at my house in Tuscaloosa. She heard my music and said, ‘So, you know my cousin is a pop singer, right?’”
After a quick mention of Calderone to Lee via Facebook, the texts and emails began.
“In the beginning I was very hesitant about everything I said and sent to Ali because I didn’t personally know her,” she said. “And handing over songs to someone is like handing over your diary, so you can understand how hard that was.”
Lee’s first pop song, “Keep It Right There,” debuted on Sirius XM Radio last year. Lee said Calderone has a unique perspective she can relate to.
“I can say that through this time, I have learned that Ali is a fun-loving, caring, passionate individual that I am honored to be working with, and I’m honored to be a part of her music family,” Calderone said.
Calderone said the original idea for the song came to her one rainy day after leaving class in Tuscaloosa. With finals approaching, stress at work and tension building in some of her personal relationships, Calderone said she was “practically dying for an escape.” That’s when her creative gears began to turn.
The original version of the track, a reggae tune, was retooled by Lee’s producers, Jared Sciullo and Justin Spillner (Phivestar Productions), to fit the recording artist’s genre and fan base. Once an agreement was in place, the song was recorded within weeks.
“When my producers and writing team were able to get a hold of ‘SunSoaked,’ we knew we could make it just right for me without any hang-ups,” Lee said. “The vibe’s been just right with this one from the get-go.”
By April, Calderone had registered 15 songs with the Library of Congress. Calderone said there are more to come.
“She already has another song of mine tracked and I just finished another song for her as well,” she said.
Calderone said she still has trouble wrapping her head around it all.
“This whole scenario has been way more than I could have possibly hoped for already, and there is definitely more in store for Ali and me,” she said.