On Sept. 30, 2014, Alex & Sierra (the winners of “The X Factor” U.S. in 2013) and Syco Music/Columbia Records began pre-release Internet streaming all 13 tracks of Alex & Sierra’s first album, “It’s About Us.” The tracks can be heard on Alex & Sierra’s official YouTube channel. “It’s About Us” is scheduled for release in the U.S. and Canada on Oct. 7, 2014. In addition, Alex & Sierra have announced that they are doing a limited promotional “meet and greet” U.S. tour, in which the duo will do autograph sessions and short performances for fans. Admission is free and open to the public. (See the tour dates at the end of this article.)
Pre-orders for “It’s About Us” began on July 15, 2014, the day that the album’s release was officially announced. People who pre-order the album will receive the album track “Little Do You Know,” which can be listened to here. People who pre-order the album will also get other selected downloadable songs from the album on a bi-weekly basis leading up to the album’s release on Oct. 7, 2014. (See the album’s track listing at the end of this article.)
Alex & Sierra did their first full-scale U.S. tour from Aug. 29 to Sept. 28, 2014, after doing a handful of select concert dates in New York and Florida. Alex & Sierra (whose full names are Alex Kinsey and Sierra Deaton) headlined most of the concerts, but some of the shows had Alex & Sierra as the opening act on the Train/Colbie Caillat tour. Alex & Sierra’s performances got mixed reviews from critics.
The New York Times had this to say about Alex & Sierra’s show at Rockwood Music Hall on June 24, 2014:
It’s easy to mistake Alex & Sierra for a partnership of equals. With heavy influences of jazz and cabaret singing, they make a cozy pair. But there’s a fundamental imbalance lurking beneath the idyllic surface. On songs like “Kids,” Ms. Deaton acted as salve for Mr. Kinsey, but really the balance was wrong — Ms. Deaton, with her clarion voice, should be the anchor, and Mr. Kinsey the accent (except for when they harmonize, which is unfailingly sweet).
This performance, saddled with cluttered sound, was ostensibly a free show for fans but had more of the feel of a showcase in front of people with whom the band is interdependent. Talking about contributing to the songwriting for their debut album, Mr. Kinsey said, “Thank you to every one in the audience that allowed that to happen, ’cause there’s a lot of you here right now.”
The Orlando Sentinel had this review of Alex & Sierra’s show at CFE Arena on Aug. 21, 2014:
At some points on Thursday, the couple’s inexperience showed: Occasionally, they talked over each other between songs and the harmonies had a tendency to drift a tad in spots. Yet Alex & Sierra’s potential was evident in “Scarecrow,” the first single from “It’s About Us,” a debut album slated for October release. Framed by an energetic drum beat, the song on Thursday was both pretty and powerful.
According to Syco Music/Columbia Records, Alex & Sierra collaborated with several songwriters for the “It’s About Us” album, including Josh Gad, John Legend, Sam Hollander and Julian Bunetta. Legend and One Direction’s Harry Styles co-wrote a ballad for the album, but Alex & Sierra have been saying in interviews that they decided not to have the song on the album since the song was better suited to be sung by one person.
As previously reported, Alex & Sierra’s first single, “Scarecrow” (which was released on June 23, 2014), failed to make it onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Given the flop sales of “Scarecrow,” it doesn’t look very likely that the “It’s About Us” album will be a big hit.
Alex & Sierra performed “Scarecrow” on NBC’s “Today” on June 23, 2014, but that high-profile TV appearance did not help the song become a hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, which ranks songs based on U.S. sales, airplay and social media. A lyric video for “Scarecrow” (directed by Alex Purifoy) premiered on May 27, 2014. The official “Scarecrow” music video premiered on July 11, 2014. In May and June 2014, Alex & Sierra also made promotional appearances at several New York-based media outlets, including Billboard, People, Vevo and Teen Vogue.
In its first week on sale, “Scarecrow” reached the Top 30 of the iTunes (U.S.) Top 100 Songs chart. However, it was a far lesser achievement than what Alex & Sierra accomplished in late 2013, when two covers songs (A Great Big World’s “Say Something” and Sara Bareilles’ “Gravity”) that Alex & Sierra performed on “The X Factor” U.S. reached No. 1 on iTunes (U.S.) Top 100 Songs chart. Alex & Sierra’s versions of those songs also failed to make it onto the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
As part of “The X Factor” grand prize, Alex & Sierra won $1 million and a contract with Syco Music/Sony Music. According to a Sony Music press release, “Scarecrow” was co-written by Alex & Sierra, along with Martin Johnson and Sam Hollander.
Here is the track listing for Alex & Sierra’s “It’s About Us” album:
Give Me Something
Here We Go
It’s About Us
Little Do You Know
I Love You
Back to You
All for You
Here are the dates for Alex & Sierra’s 2014 concert tour:
Aug. 27, 2014: Denver — Denver Botanic Gardens
Aug. 28, 2014: Kansas City, Mo. — Harrah’s Voodoo Lounge
Aug. 29, 2014: Glen Ellyn, Ill. — McAninch Arts Center
Sept. 1, 2014: Portsmouth, N.H. — The Music Hall
Sept. 2, 2014: Ridgefield, Conn. — Ridgefield Playhouse
Sept. 3, 2014: Huntington, N.Y. — The Paramount
Sept. 17, 2014: Los Angeles — Pantages Theater (opening act for Train)
Sept. 19, 2014: Reno, Nev. — Grand Sierra Resort & Casino
Sept. 20, 2014: Santa Rosa, Calif. — Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
Sept. 21, 2014: Modesto, Calif. — Gallo Center for the Arts
Sept. 22, 2014: San Francisco — Masonic Center (opening act for Train)
Sept. 23, 2014: Arcata, Calif. — John Van Duzer Theatre
Sept. 25, 2014: New York City — Radio City Music Hall (opening act for Train)
Sept. 26, 2014: Thousand Oaks, Calif. — Kavli Theater
Sept. 28, 2014: San Diego — Humphrey’s
Here are the dates for Alex & Sierra’s 2014 “meet and greet” (free admission) tour:
Oct. 5, 2014: Altamonte Springs, Fla. — Altamonte Mall
Oct. 6, 2014: Trumbull, Conn. — Westfield Trumbull Mall
Oct. 7, 2014: New York City — Hard Rock Cafe
Oct. 8, 2014: Lake Grove, N.Y. — Smith Haven Mall
Oct. 11, 2014: Los Angeles — The Grove