Interview: Alexz Johnson Offers a Heartfelt Hug in “Hurt Me,” an Achingly Beautiful Song of Unconditional Love

Alexz Johnson © Matthew McWilliams
Alexz Johnson © Matthew McWilliams
Alexz Johnson gives us permission to grieve, to hurt, and to bleed in her soul-stirring song “Hurt Me,” an achingly beautiful and breathtakingly raw preview of her fifth album, ‘Seasons.’
Stream: “Hurt Me” – Alexz Johnson




You can tear up my heart while I stand here and bleed. Give all of your demons to me, and hurt me…

The old sayings just don’t work for us anymore. Grin and bear it. Keep calm and carry on. These phrases from a not-so-distant past encouraged us to be stoic; to tamp down our emotions and hold our heads high through tragedy and misfortune.

What if, instead of denying our feelings, we leaned into them? What if we allowed ourselves to not just experience grief, but to embrace it? Alexz Johnson’s new music is more than an artistic rebirth; it’s a total shift in perspective – the kind that completely alters your approach to (and understanding of) life itself. Achingly intimate and breathtakingly raw, Johnson’s soul-stirring new song “Hurt Me” recognizes, accepts, and welcomes pain as an essential part of life. The artist gives us permission to grieve, to hurt, and to bleed, creating a space for us to feel comfortable with the full spectrum of our emotions in a beautifully expressive song that itself holds nothing back.

Hurt Me - Alexz Johnson
Hurt Me – Alexz Johnson
There’s a greater reason
You’re feeling so much pain
‘Cause, darling, I adore you
And I feel the same
And no one really warns you
How quick your world can change
But let me reassure you
(that you can) hurt me

Independently released February 16, 2023, “Hurt Me” is the heartrending lead single taken off Alexz Johnson’s forthcoming fifth studio album, Seasons (out April 7). Her first musical offering since 2020’s impassioned fourth album Still Alive, “Hurt Me” is radiant and unapologetic return that finds the NYC and Toronto-based singer/songwriter and actress shining boldly and brightly. It’s a sonically and emotionally driven song of reckoning and affirmation, self-discovery and unconditional love – one that soars high whilst allowing us to drop as low as we need to go.

Alexz Johnson's Stirring Anthem of Hope “Still Alive” Previews an Intimate 4th Studio Album

:: PREMIERE ::



“I think in order to be in a position to take on another person’s pain, you need to have experienced some level of pain yourself,” Johnson tells Atwood Magazine. “I feel like everyone is hurting, but they feel they’re not allowed to hurt. As though, if you’re broken, you’re not worthy of love. ‘Hurt Me’ is a song about a person giving another complete permission to share the darkest parts of themselves, and that they will still be there, carrying them through to the other side.”

A warm light glowing in the cool, cold dark, “Hurt Me” hits heavily through tender piano chords, plaintive guitar strums, and Johnson’s charismatic, passionate vocals. “Cry on my shoulder, I won’t let you go,” she promises in her comforting and cathartic chorus, laying the foundations for a mindset built on emotional acceptance rather than suppression. “Don’t leave! What kind of friend would I be? You can tear up my heart while I stand here and bleed. Give all of your demons to me… and hurt me…

(that you can) hurt me
I’ll let you tear up the home
Cry on my shoulder
I won’t let you go
Don’t leave! What kind of friend would I be?
You can tear up my heart
While I stand here and bleed
Give all of your demons to me
And hurt me

“To love someone is to love all of them,” Johnson says of her song’s chorus. “To love someone is to see the ugly, raw, and brutal parts, but still be a shoulder for them to lean on.”

Alexz Johnson © Matthew McWilliams
Alexz Johnson © Matthew McWilliams



I think in order to be in a position to take on another person’s pain, you need to have experienced some level of pain yourself.

“Hurt Me” is a powerful introduction to Johnson’s new album Seasons, which represents a new chapter in her journey and growth, both as an artist and as a human. The album arrives in the wake of her sister Mackenna’s passing from cancer in 2019, as well as the birth of her two children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I created this album from home and hearth to heal my grief, heal my relationship with music, and regain the confidence to remember why I started doing this in the first place,” Johnson explains. “There is a reason in the seasons of your life.”

You just need a change of season
There’s been too much rain
And you’ve committed a treason
And you’re the queen
And no onе really warns you
How quick your world can change
So let me reassure you
(that you can)

We will all, eventually, come to know loss and grief on an intimate level; there is no running from them, just as there is no denying their place in the natural order of our lives. You can try to grin and bear it; you can try to keep calm and carry on; or you can learn to live together with your hardship – to cry when you feel like crying, ache when you feel like aching, and grieve when you feel like grieving.

“Death, loss, birth, and life are all around us,” Johnson observes. “This album represents all of those things, mirroring the feelings and changes we experience.”

I’ll always hold your hand
And I won’t let go
I’ve got your back
Tell me all your woes
I’ll take the tears from your sadness
And turn them into gold
Listen: Give me all your pain
I’ll take it away, let me take it away
‘Cause no one really warns you
How quick your world can change
Let me… (That you can)
Let me, baby!
Alexz Johnson © Matthew McWilliams
Alexz Johnson © Matthew McWilliams



A tender emotional unveiling, “Hurt Me” is the heavy, heartfelt hug so many of us need to hear.

Johnson positions herself as the exact opposite of a fairweather friend, offering herself in our greatest times of need and reminding us that we shouldn’t run from our hard feelings. Share your darkest parts with your loved ones; give them “all your pain,” and trust that they will be there for you when you need them most. Embrace your emotions and let it all out; give all of your demons to me, give all of your reasons to me, and hurt me.

Atwood Magazine briefly caught up with Alexz Johnson to talk about the release of her soulful and uplifting new single. Dive deeper into “Hurt Me” in our interview below, and stay tuned for more beautiful music to come in the lead-up to Seasons.

Alexz Johnson’s fifth album is set for release April 7.

Hurt me! I’ll let you tear up the home
Cry on my shoulder, I won’t let you go
Don’t leave! What kind of friend would I be?
You can tear up my heart
While I stand here and bleed
Give all of your demons to me
Give all of your reasons to me
Give all of your… your reasons to me
And hurt me, hurt me, just hurt me

— —

:: stream/purchase Hurt Me here ::
Stream: “Hurt Me” – Alexz Johnson



CATCHING UP WITH ALEXZ JOHNSON

Hurt Me - Alexz Johnson

Atwood Magazine: It's been almost three years since your last album, Still Alive. How do you feel you've grown, musically and as an artist, in that time?

Alexz Johnson: It’s hard to express in sentence outside of my lyrics… but, since releasing my last album, since my last live show, I’ve lost a sister, given birth to two children at home, and recorded an entire album from that home up north… I’m hoping this new album, and these songs, represent how those experiences have lent themselves to the music, creatively and spiritually.



What is it about “Hurt Me” that led you to kick off the year with that song?

Alexz Johnson: I think in order to be in a position to take on another person’s pain, you need to have experienced some level of pain yourself. I feel like everyone is hurting, but they feel they’re not allowed to hurt. As though, if you’re broken, you’re not worthy of love. “Hurt Me” is a song about a person giving another complete permission to share the darkest parts of themselves, and that they will still be there, carrying them through to the other side.

There's a greater reason you're feeling so much pain,” you begin. “‘Cause darling I adore you, and I feel the same.” Can you talk about the pain and hurt you're addressing in this song?

Alexz Johnson: I think everyone’s pain is relative, and unique to them and their experiences up to that point. These lyrics are stating, “I’ve been where you are, and I can help bring you back.”

Give all of your demons to me and hurt me,” you sing in the chorus. What does this invitation mean to you?

Alexz Johnson: To love someone is to love all of them. To love someone is to see the ugly, raw, and brutal parts, but still be a shoulder for them to lean on.

Alexz Johnson © Matthew McWilliams
Alexz Johnson © Matthew McWilliams



What inspired the album's title Seasons, and what does this collection of music mean to you – where does it stand in your greater repertoire of songs?

Alexz Johnson: I wrote and recorded this album from home, pregnant with my son. The isolation of COVID, and distance from the producer/mixer who were overseas, gave me space and freedom to really reflect on what I wanted to share with this album. It took over the course of a year writing, reflecting, and recording, while watching the seasons, my children and my life, change throughout the process. Where we live, we have extreme season changes… harsh winters, vibrant autumns, humid and hot summers, and intense budding spring. Death, loss, birth, and life are all around us. This album represents all of those things, mirroring the feelings and changes we experience from month to month, mirroring the seasons… There’s a reason in the seasons of your life.

I can't help but feel a massive influence of soul sound throughout this song. What attracted you toward this style?

Alexz Johnson: To me, the sound just sounds like another Alexz Johnson song, but I’m too close to it. I’ve always loved classic music – music that brings out emotion, raw vulnerability, and music that brings people together. I can only hope this music offers that sentiment to its listeners.

— —

:: stream/purchase Hurt Me here ::
Stream: “Hurt Me” – Alexz Johnson



— — — —

Hurt Me - Alexz Johnson

Connect to Alexz Johnson on
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Discover new music on Atwood Magazine
? © Matthew McWilliams

Alexz Johnson Rises and Shines in Uplifting, Heartfelt Ballad “Golden”

:: REVIEW ::

The Spiritual Release of Alexz Johnson’s Fresh, Raw “Weight”

:: FEATURE ::

Alexz Johnson Is Raw & Unfiltered in ‘Live From a Stranger Time’

:: ALBUM PREMIERE ::

:: Stream Alexz Johnson ::


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