As singer Lexi Lalauni stood on stage at Seattle’s famed Paramount Theater looking out at a sold out crowd, she forced herself to stop for a moment and soak it all in.
“I was like, is this real?” she said of the September concert. “This is the thing I used to dream about. I used to be 6 years old imaging this. I used to dance in my room in front of the mirror imagining a whole audience, and then all of the sudden it was real.”
For Lexi and her manager, Emily Petry, the concert felt both like the culmination of a lot of hard work and the beginning of something special. In less than a year, Lexi had been invited to join a prestigious group for aspiring hip hop artists, sang on live tv, and performed for rapper Macklemore at his home.
It was whirlwind time, to say the least.
Lexi and Emily met while both were students at Bethel High School. They ran in slightly different circles — Lexi was in Running Start and Emily was in ASB Counsel and JROTC — but they kept up with each other after graduation.
Lexi headed off to Central Washington University where, because of her time in Running Start, she was able to earn her bachelor’s degree in just two years. Emily stayed home and studied biomedical science at the University of Washington, Tacoma.
When Lexi returned home to follow her dreams of singing and acting, she connected with Emily, who was pursuing her own passions for event planning and managing artists.
For Lexi, the desire to perform for adoring crowds started way back when she was a kid watching Miley Cyrus in Hannah Montana. The problem was, she wasn’t quite sure how to make that dream a reality.
“How do you become a singer? I didn’t know. I didn’t know the steps you have to take. But I always knew it was going to happen some way,” she said.
That’s where Emily came in. After deciding to take a break from college, Emily took a job at a small record company in Tacoma, where she created websites, helped with marketing, and worked with artists.
It was a fun job, but it only whet her appetite for the music business. So when the opportunity presented itself, Emily decided to work full time managing Lexi’s career. The two women have been working full tilt ever since.
Perhaps the biggest break in Lexi’s young career came when she auditioned for, and was accepted to join The Residency, which is a Seattle-based program that Macklemore launched to help aspiring singers and rappers.
According to its website, The Residency “seeks to build a powerful community of young hip-hop artists equipped with the artistic and leadership skills, business acumen, and mentorship necessary to become professional artists and cultural change makers.”
Not only did the program teach Lexi valuable lessons about what it takes to make it in the entertainment industry, but it also gave her a chance perform with Macklemore at The Paramount. It also helped her and Emily focus in on what kind of music Lexi is best suited for.
“We want her music to have to have that Macklemore vibe, something you can take your family to listen to it or play it on the radio and it’s not going to be vulgar and people aren’t going to be offended listening to it,” Emily said.
Lexi and Emily have big plans for the future. They recently produced a music video for one of Lexi’s songs, and the video has already racked up nearly 100,000 views on Youtube. They plan on releasing a Christmas album later this year, and Lexi already has a number of concerts on her calendar.
Both women are also interested in giving back to their community. Lexi said she’d love to perform at Bethel High School and speak to students about the things she’s learned in her young career.
Lexi advises aspiring singers to work hard in school and get a college education. Namely, she’s a huge proponent of the Running Start program.
“Running Start was really good because I knew what I wanted to do and I knew I’d be able to knock out two years of college while I was still in high school. That’s pretty cool. You save money. You save time,” she said.
Keep up with all things Lexi Lalauni here.