Published October 01, 2013
Alexa Ray Joel is a budding singer-songwriter who possesses a sultry voice. She also happens to have some pretty famous parents. The 27-year-old is the only child of Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley. She's also featured in the latest Gap campaign performing a stripped down version of 'Just The Way You Are.' She spoke to FOX411 about taking on such an iconic song.
FOX411: How did you become involved with The Gap ad?
Alexa Ray Joel: I heard they wanted me to be a part of their new ad campaign and I thought that was cute because The Gap are always so fun and creative. I was immediately interested and flattered that they thought of me. They gave me a couple of my songs from my father's catalogue to choose from.
FOX411: Does it bother you singing one of your Dad's songs?
Joel: Of course I always want to be perceived as my own person but I kind of thought it was an interesting challenge. It was a huge risk but I thought I could pull it off creatively and make it my own. There were a couple of other options, 'Piano Man,' 'New York State of Mind.' I personally felt that if I had done one of those songs it would have been an issue because they are such iconic Billy Joel songs that have a very masculine feeling to them.
'Just the Way You Are' is also an iconic song but there is ambiguity in the sense that it could be sung from a male or female's point of view. I thought it would be interesting to do it from a female perspective in an R&B, pop way. When I first played it for Dad he said, 'Don't you want to get a rhythm section going?' I said, 'No! Then it will just like your version. I want to break it down and make it totally different.'
FOX411: Would you ever do a tribute album like Natalie Cole?
Joel: I would not do that. I enjoy sitting down and breaking his songs but it's just not the right move. I don't want to take it (The Gap ad) and exploit it. I want my own credibility and voice.
FOX411: You were in the news a couple of years ago. Why did you decide to speak out about it? (In December 2009 Joel ingested a large amount of Traumeel, a homeopathic alternative to ibuprofen, and was taken to hospital. She blamed the incident on the breakup of a four year relationship).
Joel: I wanted to get some control back over this crazy, explosive media frenzy with stories that were inaccurate, that I was suicidal. It took a very dramatic, negative turn. It was affecting my family. I wasn't suicidal.
I also did it because I wanted young girls to hear about depression. Anti-depression medication seems to be a very taboo subject and I frankly don't understand that. I know so many people that have struggled with it and deep heartbreak. For me they were very closely linked, which is why I termed it heartbreak depression and I don't know why people are so afraid to be vulnerable and why it was so shocking.
I wanted to say to young women, this is what I went through. It was traumatizing but you can come out of it stronger and all the better for it.
FOX411: How do you deal with trolls on Twitter?
Joel: I make a point of not looking at what other people post about me on Twitter. I don't look at the bloggers. It's sort of like the vermin of this society, I know that sounds brutal. People that want to spend their lives blogging so negatively and in such a hostile way about someone they don't even know, it's more of a reflection on their own personal issues than me.