Months ago vocalist Zack Alexander’s biggest problem was finding an open date on his schedule. Going into the summer season, the Lincroft native had 50 confirmed and potential bookings. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a plethora of open dates and brought his career to a halt.
He performs as a jazz, tribute and “Big Band” singer at a wide range of settings. Corporate events, weddings, baptisms, private parties and adult community events are among his typical venues.
Alexander is also the featured male vocalist with Swingtime Big Band, a 17-piece Long Island-based band that performs at concert programs throughout the tristate area. In addition, he had a standing weekly gig at Bareli’s By the Sea restaurant in Spring Lake.
By mid-March, just about all bookings were wiped out simply because people cannot gather. Swingtime canceled its summer schedule except for three engagements in August, which are now also in jeopardy.
“Going from managing emails, phone calls and an array of clients to radio silence hasn’t been fun, putting it mildly,” stated the idled vocalist. “It feels as though a part of me is missing and my purpose is being stifled. Naturally I’m upset over this issue because performing is a main source of income, but moreover I don’t get to do what I love the most.”
Alexander graduated from Hofstra University as a television production major. He has been supplementing his income as a freelance production assistant with Viacom.
Recently he has been able to deliver a couple of COVID-safe shows. One was for an adult community that was originally scheduled as a live performance. He fulfilled the commitment with a virtual show via YouTube.
He also put on a live performance in the courtyard of a Hoboken apartment complex. The residents were able to “attend” safely from their balconies.
Alexander had developed an appreciation for the Great American Songbook in his early high school years. However, he rarely spoke of his admiration for the genre since it was not mainstream among his peers.
During that time, he sang exclusively in the privacy of his bedroom and shower. At the age of 16, he had gained enough confidence to sing outside of his bedroom.
At a 70s-themed backyard barbeque, several family members played guitar and sang. Garbed in a leisure suit, Alexander took the microphone and sang the theme song from “The Love Boat.”
“My family was stunned,” he stated.
Just weeks later, his family urged him to audition for The Sinatra Tribute Gala which was held at Count Basie Center for the Arts in December 2013. He was selected as one of 10 vocalists who sang Sinatra hits in tribute.
“It was an evening I’ll never forget for many reasons,” exclaimed Alexander. “It was my first time performing in public. It was held in a beautiful venue that sold out that evening with an audience of about 1,500 people. I sang with a full big band and choir of backup singers. It was my first taste of ‘stardom’ in a sense. I was even assigned a dressing room. The entire experience seemed surreal, and I now knew this was something I wanted to do professionally.”
In a short period of time, he went from singing in the shower to entertaining a large audience.
During his college years, he performed professionally at various events. However, he was focused on his studies and limited gigs to just one or two a month.
In 2016, he entered the annual “Sinatra Idol” competition hosted by the city of Hoboken where he took top honors among 17 competitors. He has since gained a reputation for vividly bringing Sinatra standards to life. However, he also refers to Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin and Nat King Cole as artists who have been an influence.
Alexander attributes much of his growth and success to the support and encouragement of his parents. His father also coached him on the business side, including negotiating, contracts and insurance.
Alexander is anxious to resume his career as performing is truly his passion. He stated, “I think everyone has a special talent. When you find that talent and it becomes the reason you get up in the morning and go to bed a night, you’ll know you’ve been blessed.”
To follow Alexander’s career, visit ZackAlexander.com