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

Still Alive - Alexz Johnson
Alexz Johnson reminds us to embrace the present moment in  her intimate, emotive, and utterly heartbreaking song “Still Alive,” the hopeful, stirring title track off her long-awaited fourth studio album.
:: pre-order Still Alive here ::
Stream: “Still Alive” – Alexz Johnson




These lines were first written to support someone else in their struggle; they have now become lines that were written to support us, who still have to make it through down here.

Chills scorch the air on Alexz Johnson’s transformative new single, echoing with untold emotion as a heavy weight is finally lifted. Intimate, emotive, and utterly heartbreaking, “Still Alive” is as much for the artist as it is for her listeners. Beautifully crafted and hauntingly human, Johnson’s latest reminds us to love and appreciate what we have when we have it; we can never know what will happen tomorrow, but we’re here today.

Still Alive - Alexz Johnson

Still Alive – Alexz Johnson

I think it’s time we talk now
I think it’s been too long now
I think we have to make it through?
Are you still on the west coast?
Is somebody beside you?
Tell me are you lonely too?

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Still Alive,” the stirring title track off Alexz Johnson’s upcoming, long-awaited fourth studio album, Still Alive. Following a string of recent singles that began with the Canadian-American artist’s cathartic ten-years-in-the-waiting anthem “Weight” last April (and continued with the songs “Running with the Devil” and most recently, “Golden“), “Still Alive” arrives with the announcement of Johnson’s most important album of her career to date. Releasing later in 2020, Still Alive finds the musician and actress bringing to life a set of songs that were meant to comprise her debut album, but were shelved by her major label over a decade ago, alongside an equally compelling set of new compositions recorded with her brother and longtime musical partner, Brendan James Johnson.

One of Johnson’s new songs, the aptly-titled “Still Alive” perfectly encapsulates what this album means to her and where she is at this moment in time. “We got the album out, we’re still here, making music, after everything. It’s full circle,” she says.

A tranquil power-ballad that evolves into a resounding anthem of hope, acceptance, and staying power, “Still Alive” is Alexz Johnson’s defining song of 2020.

Golden - Alexz Johnson

“Golden,” Alexz Johnson’s previous single, released in December 2019

At first written in support of someone else during their time of need, the song has since become a pillar of strength for Johnson and her brother, who lost their sister Mackenna late last year. “Music has an interesting way of defining moments in our lives,” Johnson shares. “By default for us, this song became an anthem of strength and a reminder that even though she is not here with us physically, she is everywhere around us, every moment, in every detail of our lives.”

A stirring cocktail of grief and love take hold as Johnson rises out of her song’s quiet entrance, extending a helping hand to those in need:

I got you
Things are out of space
Things are moving up and down
you’re standing in a dark place

You know me
I’m right on the other side
Things are hurting all the time,
like you’ve died but you’re still alive

You’ve died but you’re still alive



Whereas the first iteration of this chorus is subtle and somber, the second one is hopeful and the third one impassioned, fully realizing Johnson’s pure message of hope. Constantly growing and expanding, “Still Alive” builds from smoldering embers into a roaring fire, soaking up energy along the way. “We wanted the track to sonically illustrate that feeling, taking listeners on a journey, through the peaks and lows of it all, eventually resonating with hope and reassurance that there is constant in the chaos.”

Something’s in the air now
Can you feel it changing?
How is it from where you are?
There’s been troubled waters
All of them are hiding
But you and I we’ve come this far

Alexz Johnson’s recent songs have all shared a theme of hope and acceptance, but none have been more effective in conveying their message than “Still Alive.”

This is Johnson’s own story – one of a burden she’s been carrying on her shoulders for ten years; one of a sister whose memory she now carries with her every day; and one of learning to live in the present, embracing what we have here and now.

Pre-orders for Still Alive will launch on March 13. The forthcoming release of Johnson’s fourth album promises to be as emotionally charged as it will be freeing, allowing the artist to finally close the chapter on some of the most turbulent aspects of her music career. For now, stream Alexz Johnson’s invigorating title track exclusively on Atwood Magazine!

My career hasn’t been what I imagined it would be, but I also couldn’t have imagined how beautiful the mess of everything turned out to be.

:: stream/purchase “Still Alive” here ::
:: pre-order Still Alive album here ::
Stream: “Still Alive” – Alexz Johnson



“Still Alive” with Alexz Johnson

Atwood Magazine: When was “Still Alive” first written, and what was the context around it at the time?

Alexz Johnson: Early in 2018, my brother Brendan and my idea of re-attacking the unreleased Sony material started to become realized. We decided to get back into the studio and start from scratch on some songs that defined our writing relationship, and naturally we also starting creating new material to accompany the songs we were re-recording – one of those tracks being “Still Alive.” At the time the song was written, it was to paint the picture of grieving for someone from a distance, maybe across continents. The re-assurance that someone is there, even when you can’t see them. We had no idea what the song would eventually mean to us in the upcoming months ahead. This song particularly wrote itself before our family’s circumstance did.

How has this song’s meaning changed for you?

Alexz Johnson: November of that same year, we got the news that our younger sister Mackenna was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. Naturally, everything was put on hold in what became a marathon of fight and survival for our sister and family. Over time, the meaning of the music we were making had evolved into something so much less purposeful to us, so we pulled away from the project to regroup and re-identify the meaning of anything, really.

Music has an interesting way of defining moments in our lives. By default for us, this song became an anthem of strength and a reminder that even though she is not here with us physically, she is everywhere around us, every moment, in every detail of our lives.

I think it’s time we talked now; I think it’s been too long now; I think we have to make it through.” What do you think of when you sing these initial lines?

Alexz Johnson: These lines were first written to support someone else in their struggle. They have now become lines that were written to support us, who still have to make it through down here.

In the context of your Weight album from ten years back, “Still Alive” is shiny new thing, so-to-speak. How does this song fit amongst your older tracks, for you? What do you think it is about this song that lends it that ability to mesh with those other tracks?

Alexz Johnson: I feel my brother and I have this specific and unique musical sound we bring to life, only when working together. If you follow our previous releases, we hope there is a cohesive thread that’s noticed. Production wise, we were definitely intentional in merging the new material with the re-recordings so they are complementary as an LP.

Still Alive is also the title of your upcoming album. Why did you choose to make this the title of the whole record?

Alexz Johnson: How could I not? We got the album out, we’re still here, making music, after everything. It’s full circle.

“Still Alive” transforms as it progresses, from a slow and somber piano lament to a pulsing power-ballad of sorts. How are you evolving, emotionally, over the course of this musical transition?

Alexz Johnson: In the end, it is all about hope. We wanted the track to sonically illustrate that feeling, taking listeners on a journey, through the peaks and lows of it all, eventually resonating with hope and reassurance that there is constant in the chaos.

I got you
Things are out of space
Things are moving up and down
you’re standing in a dark place
You know me
I’m right on the other side
Things are hurting all the time,
like you’ve died but you’re still alive
You’ve died but you’re still alive

I love how celestial the chorus feels as you sing those lines. How do these words inform this new section of the song?

Alexz Johnson: It’s remembering to be thankful for what is now. Everything changes, like seasons; it’s about growing and embracing all of it.

“Still Alive” is, ultimately, hopeful. Is that how you feel at this moment in time?

Alexz Johnson: Sometimes, life gives you no choice. There is pain, but also blessings in that if you choose to see them. How could I not be hopeful when I’m lucky enough to still be here?

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

:: FEATURE ::

What do you hope to accomplish with having this song out in the world? In other words, what does this song signify, perhaps, for your career?

Alexz Johnson: The beauty in the chaos. Letting go of what you thought it was supposed to be, and being unshakable exactly where you are.

My career hasn’t been what I imagined it would be, but I also couldn’t have imagined how beautiful the mess of everything turned out to be. “Still Alive” is a reminder that you are doing it, every moment: You’re living the gift of this mess. It’s your mess, so why not own it?

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:: pre-order Still Alive album here ::
:: stream/purchase “Still Alive” here ::
Stream: “Still Alive” – Alexz Johnson



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Still Alive - Alexz Johnson

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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 ::


Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com