Today we’d like to introduce you to Alex Lugwa.
Alex, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born and raised on Guam, where I get my musical roots from. My parents were both educators, father (Josede Figirliyong) and mother (Dana Figirliyong) who were both very supportive of my love for music. I spent my formative years on the Island playing in any band that would have me and started gigging the local club scene when I was in high school.
After studying music at the local university (UOG) on a merit scholarship for a couple of years, I decided to make the move to LA (Oct. 2010) to further my musical education and immerse myself in all that the “LA scene” had to offer. Over the last nine years, I have been working as live and studio musician as well as an educator. When I am not drumming or teaching private lessons, I am producing and writing music for both myself and other artists. Most recently, you could see me playing and singing in the local reggae or country scene and could find my original music on all music streaming platforms.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My first big wake up call on my musical journey came in the shape of an injury my senior year of high school.
I remember the night it happened. I was playing one of my weekly gigs and in the middle of our 3rd set, I felt a pain shoot down my arm. Long story short I spent that whole year seeing different doctors and specialists trying to figure how to fix the pain I was feeling. Was told I may not be able to drum anymore and went into a deep depression. Thankfully after about a year of rest, I was able to play again and have since taken proper technique and physical health very seriously.
There were definitely times of struggle at the begging of my journey in LA. My first couple of years here were the hardest. Partly because of the culture shock of moving to a big city from such a tiny island, but the hardest part was trying to get steady work in the music industry.
Can you give our readers some background on your music?
I am a musician, songwriter, producer, educator. I specialize in drum performance, programming, lessons, and recording services. I can record drum tracks remotely from my studio or travel to a client’s studio. I am known for my big smile and lively energy from behind the kit. I am most proud of the growth I have experienced in my craft and being able to support myself doing what I love in a place with so many talented musicians. A few of the things that set me apart from other drummers is my upbringing in the islands, my ability to sing and play at the same time, and my understanding of my role and other musicians’ roles in different musical settings.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My parents, Josede and Dana Figirliyong, and my sister, Joliene Hasugalayeg. They were my biggest supporters, from taking me to drum lessons and putting up with countless hours of drumming in the house.
My drum instructors, Ching Batimana, Mike Orland, and Larry Franquez, who gave me the tools to survive in a competitive industry and shared their love for drumming with me.
All the fellow musicians, friends, and fans who have supported me over the years, whether through coming to live show or just listening to music I was involved in.
Fat Cake Media, Diego Olivares, Lucas X, Christy Thomas, E. L. Woody