Rex Orange County

Rex Orange County

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About Rex Orange County

“Always strive to be myself, but who am I?” a 16-year-old Alex O’Connor sings from his bedroom on the lounge-y, R&B-inflected “Rex (Intro),” his official introduction as Rex Orange County. This world-weary mix of self-awareness and self-doubt is what drives the singer/songwriter’s rich puree of lo-fi pop, soft rock, jazz, soul, hip-hop, and spoken word. Born in 1998 and raised in the South East England village of Grayshott, O’Connor (who got Orange County from his nickname, “the O.C.”) is the epitome of a Gen-Z artist that soaks up—and does—everything. His influences jump between Stevie Wonder, Green Day, and the Doobie Brothers. At times, he evokes Frank Ocean or Amy Winehouse; elsewhere, he spits out stream-of-consciousness lines with the poetic flair of Fiona Apple. And combined, he sounds like none of them. His self-produced, self-released debut album, 2015’s Bcos U Will Never B Free, is delightfully uninhibited, as he gets personal over a hypnotizing swirl of vocal samples, blurry keyboards, loose guitar, and scrappy beats. By 2017, he perfected his sentimental grooviness with Benny Sings on “Loving Is Easy,” weaved in glam-rock and sweeping orchestral touches on Apricot Princess, and collaborated with Tyler, The Creator. Two years later, Pony fully solidified his sound: easy, breezy, timeless, and genreless. Still, that battle between striving and simply being remains at the core of his ambitions: “I’d love to become like any other person who’s really well-appreciated,” he told Apple Music, “and still be the same guy.”

Grayshott, Hampshire, England
May 4, 1998

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