Following a highly anticipated debut performance at SXSW, rising musician Alec Meza has just released his newest single “PAPERBOY!” alongside a nostalgic-feeling new video. Coming right after his debut album in 2020 titled Extra Virgin (which concentrated on the ethos of East-coast rap with tracks like “Hot Boy Summer” and “Curfew”) and the 2022 release of The Right Way To Cope (which saw Meza tap into a more R&B/Soul sound with songs like “Crazy Ex” and “Manic Pixie Dream Girl,”) “PAPERBOY!sees Meza lean into the energetic world of pop-punk.

With the newly unveiled music video giving off the feeling of a classic 1950s sitcom aesthetic, the video centers around a seemingly miserable housewife, played by actress Alexandra Chelaru, and an unsuspecting partner, portrayed by Alec himself, and the dynamic of their complex love story. With the release of the new track and dreamy video, the two serve as the first real previews of Meza’s seven-track project, AH! REAL LOVERS!, which is due out this summer.

Below, GEN V caught up with Meza to discuss how the video came together, his debut performance at SXSW, and his upcoming summer plans.

GEN V: How did you come up with the concept of the music video for “PAPERBOY!”? In what ways did the single inform your approach to the set up for the video? 

Alec Meza: The concept of this video didn’t come about until my producer, Pete Fenske, and I started working on a few other songs. I noticed that the energy I was moving towards felt a bit nostalgic, and so everything I was thinking about while listening to the tracks always seemed to return to black and white. This single in particular made me feel as though I was moving through the beginning stages of a complicated love story, and so because that’s what I was feeling, we just went for it. Mostly everything I do with my team and my friends starts with a gut feeling. 

GEN V: Echoing the era of the 50s, the video very much gives off some “I Love Lucy” vibes. Walk us through the plot of the video a bit and how this first video visual opens up a larger summer project for you. 

AM: The video opens up with a young couple who don’t seem to be on the same page, and there’s a bit of discomfort and tension within the first 30 seconds of the video. We don’t want the viewers to know exactly why this is, because frankly, I don’t think it matters very much. Although we went with the 1950s “I Love Lucy” style, I didn’t want the tone to feel like the show. Most of those episodes revolve around humor, and although there are hints of that within this video, I can’t help but mostly feel bad for both of these characters. With the emotions in mind, I realized that this couldn’t just be the end of the story — so, yes, I’m excited to say that there are more videos coming soon and that they will all be connected to one another. I can’t wait for people to follow along as more of the videos unravel and the wider project is released this summer.

GEN V: Noticeably the track leans more pop than your previous work—what inspired this new era of sorts for you? 

AM: What’s so funny about this track is that it was made almost completely on accident. Pete and I were waiting for some stems to be sent over to us, and while we were killing time, this track just kind of happened. It started with this pretty guitar part that Pete leads the track with, and then the lyrics followed fairly seamlessly. There was no pressure at all because I didn’t think this was really going to be anything. Fast forward two years and its the first single off a new project. After that day, Pete and I kept listening to the demo and both agreed that we needed to keep moving towards this sound. 

GEN V: This release comes after your debut performance at SXSW—how are you feeling about the performance and now this new single + video being out?  

AM: SXSW was one of the best experiences of my life. To do what you love is one thing, but to do it with your best friends in the world is another feeling completely. It’s divine the way everything has played out. From the festival stages to the releases, I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed with gratitude for all the opportunities and people in my life. I’ll never take these moments for granted. Even if not much comes from this, I’m already living the dream that little Alec had envisioned for himself. I’m so happy right now. The job is definitely not finished, but right now, career-wise, I’m very happy. 

GEN V: What are you hoping for this coming summer? What can we expect to see in the coming months?

AM: These upcoming months are going to be the most crucial months of my life. When I’m old and grey and looking back on my life, this season will never be forgotten. With all the music and art that I have been waiting to release, this feels like the beginning of a long and fruitful journey. One of my best friends, Minkah, once told me, “There’s no strategy in hope,” and he was absolutely right. So what the world is about to see is years of planning and preparation. The music, the visuals, and the live performances are just going to get better and better and better, and I hope there will be many people along for the ride.

(Article cover photography by Julia D’Ambola)

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