By Katie Webb Editorial Editor
Over the past few months, Blue Lenex went from two New Jersey natives and a Philly suburbs girl crooning in a dorm room, to raising over $10,000 in 25 days to produce their first album. “We’re not your conventional band,” said Lex Alvey, one of the three members of Blue Lenex. The self-described, alternative, indie, singer, songwriter, beat boxing, soul, blues artists can’t quite seem to find their niche, and that’s just fine by them. “If we were painters, translating music to painting, we would be the ones with the paintbrushes and the colors just going ‘Rah!,’” said Alvey, pantomiming whipping paint onto a canvas. This artistic chaos is the core of Blue Lenex’s creative process. Alvey and Ellen Hornberger are the beautifully bizarre artists of the triumvirate, equal in penning the lyrics and taking lead on the vocals. Melanie Rubin brings the business-minded organization to the group, as well as their “secret weapon” the beat boxing. After numerous coffee shop performances and campus gigs, the girls met producer Ted Richardson, who spoke prolifically of wanting to work with them to evolve their sound. Yet, securing recording time in his studio in Philadelphia was contingent upon whether they could secure the coin. With a deadline of 25 days, they set up an Indiegogo account, a crowd-funding site for artists and small businesses to seek funds for their projects. Enticing strangers and supporters from the School of Communication alike with a video showcasing their lark-like voices, they exceeded their original goal. With the money earned, and the time carved out to record during spring break, the rampant cold and fever plaguing campus wrecked Alvey and Hornberger’s voices. “This was the last solid amount of time we’d have together before I graduate in May,” said Rubin. So, they had to push through the illness and exhaustion. “It was painful, literally, I was in pain and each song, both Lex and I feel this way, when we sing the song it’s like rediscovering it, each time,” said Hornberger on forcing herself to sing through the physical and emotional turmoil. As Hornberger recovered and Rubin tirelessly laid down her beat boxing tracks, pressure mounted with just one day left and Alvey not fully recovered. “I had a day where I sort of broke down in the booth, it was the day before our last day, and Ted said ‘you’re still not there,’” said Alvey. Her voice has a distinctive raspy belt that was struggling to break through. Miraculously, Alvey woke up on the last day and her voice was healed. Yet, one last hurdle stood in her way. “I had to blindfold myself,” Alvey said, “I was psyching myself out for the bigger notes. I had to get past the mental feat. I had Ellen’s scarf and had to stop thinking and said, ‘fuck it!’” Blue Lenex has battled through technical sound issues on stage, faulty equipment while performing on TNL and almost got thrown out of a bar for being underage when the band Waveradio invited them to perform. Yet, all these difficulties seem simple in comparison to the mental and emotional challenges they’ve faced as artists. “It’s not sung perfectly,” said Hornberger of the songs they chose to go on the album, “there is imperfection because we’re actually feeling something.” Before meeting Rubin, Alvey and singer-songwriter partner Hornberger had been collaborating musically together for over two years, melding their hauntingly melodic voices on piano ballads. The two met freshman year, and while Hornberger was tentative to sing again after a few scrapes with the industry from Broadway to film roles, Alvey coaxed her songbird back out. “I planned this from the moment I met you, I planned this strategically,” Alvey mused deviously of her desire to sing with Hornberger. “This girl (Lex) pulled my voice back out. One day she played me her song ‘Blue Bird’ which is on our album, and I harmonized with her and it was like gold,” said Hornberger. “Blue Bird” became a siren song, also claiming the attention of Blue Lenex’s third member Rubin. After hearing them perform the song this past fall at Hofstra’s Got Talent, Rubin said, “I was in awe.” The songs on the album range from the hollow feeling a damaged family leaves within a person, to a whimsical encounter at the train station. “When you listen to our songs you listen to our souls,” said Hornberger. The album has elicited accolades from fans that recognize this music is deeper and more meaningful than much of the fluff on the radio. Though Blue Lenex can boast having already been on the radio on “The Edge with Joe and Alex” as well as getting through two rounds at the open mike night for “World Live Café” in Philly. “It’s not in our plan to sell out Madison Square Garden,” said Rubin of the bands ambitions. There scene is more akin to the Blue Bird Café in Nashville, a place that’s low key where they can truly connect to the audience. For instance, their upcoming performance during the Lumineria ceremony at Relay for Life is a show they’re humbled to be experiencing. “For us, the music, it’s not just about putting an album of songs,” said Alvey. “These songs come from our souls, so at the end of the day we wanted to help someone else with our songs.” Look for their debut album titled “Empty Teacups” in June.