Alexandra Porat is a singer and songwriter from Toronto, Canada. As is often the case nowadays, Porat came to public attention after posting cover videos online, before venturing into her own music. Porat started posting to YouTube in 2016 and, soon, her covers of You Are The Reason (Calum Scott) and Don’t Watch Me Cry (Jorja Smith) went viral.
In 2019 Porat competed on the Canadian TV show The Launch. She wasn’t successful, but she did attract the attention of Toronto-based music manager Laurie Lee Boutet, who has helped Porat shift from covers to releasing her own songs. Here is Porat’s breakout 2018 cover of You Are The Reason, which, at 38m views, is still her most popular video.
Well, it’s no surprise that the video is a hit. It is a beautiful, well-judged reading of the song. If the video and the singing seem unusually polished for a YouTube newbie, there is a reason. Due to her persistence, Alexandra Porat was accepted for an intensive six-month course at a K-pop training academy in New York. The regimen at the academy was strict. The staff determined when she slept, ate, and performed. After graduating, Porat returned to Canada and started her YouTube channel.
The Covid19 pandemic was a turning point for Alexandra Porat. In particular, she started re-assessing her Asian ancestry. Up till then she had downplayed her mother’s Chinese background. Most of her friends didn’t even know about her stint at the K-pop school as a teenager. In her words, “The person I was at home was just left at home.” The Covid-era anti-Asian hate crimes in North America caused Porat to reflect on the vulnerability of her family These thoughts fed into her song Miss Sick World.
In Miss Sick World, Porat addresses the compulsion to obscure her background in order to fit in. The key lines come in the second verse “But I don’t want to fit in if I have to be a clone/ No, I don’t want to fit in at all”. “Miss Sick World” is the title track of the album Porat released in 2021. The rest of the songs on the LP are less charged – they are pop songs about relationship issues.
Writing in The Toronto Star, David Friend notes that few Asian-Canadian singers have been successful. Porat comments: “I know who I am, but I still don’t know necessarily where I fit. There are definitely some days where I’m like, ‘Damn, this is not going be an easy road.’” Difficult as her path may be, Alexandra Porat does have the benefit of 1.09 YouTube subscribers. Her most recent EP is Kiss Face, released in August 2022. Judging by the response to the lead single, Sensitive, Porat is well on the way to becoming a successful female Asian-Canadian singer-songwriter:
On a different note, the video for Calum Scotts’s You Are The Reason was filmed in Kyiv in 2017. Given the war in Ukraine and the flow of images of bombed and battered Kyiv, the video imagery couldn’t be more poignant:
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