Being the child of a celebrated rock icon might sound fantastic since there’s no doubt that it’ll give anyone a headstart while starting out in life. However, things also could take a darker turn since whatever the child might accomplish, it’s likely that people will always shadow the said success by comparing them to their famous parent in question.
Wolf Van Halen probably has a lot to say about the matter, as he recently received harsh criticism for using his last name, Van Halen, while claiming to be forming his own independent musical path. The rocker replied to the criticism by jokingly changing his Twitter username to ‘Wolfgang Led Zeppelin,’ mocking his ‘haters’ without the need to say anything.
Noel Gallagher’s daughter, Anais, is also among those who receive comments for being a ‘nepo baby’ since people love claiming how she uses her father’s Oasis fame to establish her own figure in the industry. From the accusations young Gallagher faced to the criticism against Wolf, it might be safe to say that being the child of a celebrity is surely fun, but it surely brings a ton of problems.
People also love comparing children with their parents, especially if they follow the same career paths. So, Alexa Ray Joel was surely aware of the criticism she would receive after her decision to become a musician. Still, she went for it anyways and tried building a path without using her father, Billy Joel’s fame, to her advantage.
Although the ‘nepotism’ allegations made things challenging for Alexa, she made it clear she’s not one to give in easily over the years. So, from her early days with her father, Billy, to the latest news of her personal life, let’s take a deep dive into young Joel’s life and see what she’s been up to.
Becoming A Joel: Alexa Ray’s Early Days
Alexa was born on December 29, 1985, to her rock icon father and his second wife, model Christine Brinkley. She’s the couple’s only child, sharing a brother and a sister from her mother’s side and two younger sisters from her father’s. Her middle name, ‘Ray,’ is an honorary mention of the brilliance of the late Ray Charles, a collaborator of Billy.
Joel’s childhood, as one might expect, was filled with musical passion all around, so it was surely not a huge surprise when she also decided to become a musician like her father. It appeared that just like the Van Halens, musical talent also ran in the Joel family as Alexa started to compose and write down lyrics at a young age.
The rocker often stated she inherited the technique of how Billy created his songs, typically composing the melody first and then writing the lyrics later. Alexa also recalled when she started composing full-length tracks on piano by the age of 15, quickly writing lyrics after that and creating her first songs.
Music Runs In The Family: Alexa Ray Joel’s Musical Career
In 2005, she started her own band and performed in various venues, even scoring a Hard Rock Cafe tour in 2006. After playing for about 100 shows, Joel released her self-distributed, independent six-song EP, ‘Sketches,’ in the same year her Hard Rock tour wrapped up. The singer also often recalled how three of the songs from the EP were created in one take, smoothly showing off her musical genius.
After the ‘Sketches’ release, Alexa appeared at numerous festivals while also taking the stage for charity events, once sharing the stage with her father for a Barack Obama election fundraiser. Her single, ‘Notice Me,’ debuted in 2009 and received positive reviews, radio airplay, and acknowledgment from fans and critics.
She’s laid low after a mental breakdown in 2009, as she decided to take a break and focus on her personal life. However, this doesn’t mean she backed away from the spotlight entirely, as Alexa resurfaced for numerous commercial deals and performed for benefits during her ten-year break.
Joel signaled that she was making a comeback to the scene by releasing her newest single, ‘Seven Years,’ her first musical project in over a decade. The song was dedicated to her relationship with Ryan Gleason, but we’ll get into her love life later on. After the release, Alexa chatted with Yahoo Entertainment in 2021 and discussed getting compared to her parents and returning to the music industry.
The singer’s words on why she took a hiatus:
“I know I’m going to be compared to my mother’s beauty and my father’s talent, and it takes a lot of internal work — or at least it did for me — to get to a place where I could even feel comfortable getting back in the saddle with music and putting myself out there. It just took me some time to find my own voice and figure out what I wanted to say, and also to get up the courage.
When you put yourself out there as an artist, a lot of people don’t like to talk about this, but it’s scary. But ultimately, I just loved the song so much. As an artist, you have to go on instinct. And I just felt ready and wanted to put it out.”
Is Alexa Ray Joel Married?
It’s known that she had one long-term relationship in the mid-00s, but things came to a halt after the said four-year relationship broke apart, giving her a challenging time. During this time, she had her own battles with mental health, often being candid about the difficult period, describing how she overcame her struggles.
However, Alexa’s surely now in a better place relationship-wise, as she started dating restaurateur Ryan Gleason in 2013. The pair had been going strong since even getting engaged after five years of dating, with plans for a wedding in 2021, but the reception was postponed due to the pandemic.
Final Thoughts On Nepotism And Celebrity Children
So, although it could be prestigious to be Billy Joel’s daughter, one can quickly see how Alexa tried her best to become her own musical person from a young age. She didn’t want to rely on her father’s fame and decided to self-release an EP and form a band of her own right while she was starting out.
Joel’s been under the eyes of the public from the very moment she was born, having two famous parents. It’s undoubtedly been challenging for her not to be overshadowed by her father’s musical success, although we could also say that she wisely used the musical talent she inherited to her advantage.