Aspiring musician Alex Kinsey is taking all the right steps toward kick-starting his career

Michelle Ferrand

Kinsey first started to play guitar when he was in middle school after the school started offering free lessons. Photo illustrations by Melissa Landolfa.

“I’m sorry if I don’t make eye contact with you while I play,” began Alex Kinsey as he propped his acoustic guitar onto his lap. “This is such a small space.”

Whether or not he felt awkward playing in a lounge room on the fifth floor of HPT to a complete stranger, you couldn’t tell as soon as Kinsey began strumming out chords on his guitar and his voice began to fill the room.

A die-hard Jason Mraz fan since he was a child, Kinsey’s music is heavily Mraz-inspired. He emulates the singer/songwriter’s sound and vibe in hope of someday having the same influence on another person the way Mraz has on him.

While music came to Kinsey at a young age — a brief stint at piano lessons when he was four and singing karaoke before he could read — it wasn’t until Kinsey was 17 that he realized he could make a living performing for people. Now, the 20-year-old commercial music major plays four shows a month in his hometown of Daytona Beach, Fla. and recently released a song, called “I Like It,” on Hoot/Wisdom Recordings latest CompOWLation album. He’s also getting ready to record his first EP in the summer.

“I’m hoping to write and record 10 or 15 songs, and then cut it down to six,” Kinsey said. “I already have four songs that are written and ready to be recorded.”

The leftovers, he said, will be used as backup songs at live shows. Kinsey hopes to release the EP this upcoming September on iTunes, stream it on his Facebook page, and eventually on his website, which is still in the planning and designing process. Kinsey sees the EP as an autobiographical work, where each song is about different parts of his life.

Chris Via, a co-producer on Kinsey’s upcoming EP and a Daytona Beach musician, said he heard of Kinsey while playing on tour and knew right away he wanted to work with him.

“When I first saw Kinsey play, I saw a star in him,” Via said of the time he met Kinsey two years ago. “His music is so real and you can tell it’s coming from his heart.”

Kinsey said he will be OK with any level of success his EP reaches. “I would just love for this CD to just explode or go viral. But if just a few people hear it and like it, it’s OK.”

According to Kinsey, the music supervisor of the MTV documentary series, World of Jenks, is trying to get a song of his on the upcoming season.

Plus, on March 25, Kinsey played an hour-long set outside of Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale, while people waited in line for the rock band Blue October. Kinsey managed to land the gig with the help of his friend and manager, Matt Smith, who emailed the venue asking if Kinsey could open any upcoming shows.

“It went really well and I got a good response from the people there,” Kinsey said about the show. “Afterwards, they came up to me showing interest and asking questions about my music.”

Smith, who has known Kinsey for three years and helped him get signed to Hoot/Wisdom, believes Kinsey’s laid-back music is fun to listen to and that he can actually make a career out of it.

“I definitely think he has the potential to make it big,” Smith said.

Considering Kinsey’s lifelong determination and upcoming opportunities, he might be well on his way to stardom. But his ultimate goal is simply to reach out to someone.

“The thing I want to accomplish with music is to make someone passionate about something,” Kinsey said. “The best feeling I’ve ever felt is being passionate about music, and I want to give that to somebody else.”