Musical creativity can take many paths, and that’s especially true for 20-year-old, Venezuelan-born Alejandro Otero, whose first album, “None But Everyone,” will be released on Babe City Records this March. Raised in a country plagued by political corruption, power blackouts, food shortages and 1.5 million percent inflation, Otero turned to music as an escape. Without access to instruments, amplifiers or microphones, he began composing electronic music at age 13 using an outdated computer. Over time, his tastes expanded to guitar-based indie rock, jazz and experimental music. Without formal musical training, he taught himself guitar and overcame a lack of available guitar strings by developing alternative tunings and guitar stylings. At 18, he moved to Madrid, enrolled in an arts college and continued to experiment with different instruments, developing a lush melodic style and honing his songwriting skills.
Today, at 20-years old, Otero describes himself as a multi-instrumentalist and composer, with musical inclinations that have grown beyond the conventional. After taking up the electric guitar, he became interested in extended techniques—"effect pedals, analog synthesizers, sound designs, even noise music,” he says. He traces his musical style to exposure to the work of abstract and surrealist artists featured in many of Madrid’s museums and galleries. As Otero explains, “I realized that I want to accomplish with music what impressionists and abstract expressionists achieved with their art: The focus on texture, rather than content.” In his college apartment, Otero is his own one-man band, recording vocals, guitars, synthesizers and drums using digital equipment and software not available to him in Venezuela. And he discovered other advantages in his adopted home: “I don’t have to worry about the power shutting off in the middle of a recording session,” he quips. “One time an intermittent shortage of electricity in Venezuela damaged my computer leaving me with no equipment for recording.”
Time and isolation due to COVID have served to focus Otero’s creative energies. After composing and recording dozens of songs, he selected his ten best for an album, uploaded it to a private playlist, and, on a whim, sent a link in a cold email to Washington, D.C.-based Babe City Records.
Otero signed to Babe City Records in late 2020, and the label releases his debut album “None But Everyone” on March 12, 2021, available as a limited-edition cassette and digitally worldwide. For Babe City Records, it represents the label’s first international signing. For Otero, it marks the official start of a career he could have hardly imagined in Venezuela.
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