It's rare to come across truly humble musicians. Even some local music-makers act like they're the next Gene Simmons when, frankly, their sound leaves much to be desired.
Enter powerhouse couple Alex Kinsey and Sierra Deaton. These Florida natives are currently competing on the Fox network singing show The X Factor and still maintain their down-home vibes. Not only do they croon their original music but they also put an acoustic, jazzy edge on infectious works of pop like Britney Spears' "Toxic."
We recently hung out with the two contestants. "Sorry, I like to hug people," said Deaton as she ignored our extended hand for a shake. Seriously, how can you hate people like that? We spoke to Kinsey -- who attended FAU -- and Deaton about FAU's Hoot Recordings, seeing themselves on TV, and what Simon Cowell is really like.
New Times: What made you guys decide to try out for X Factor?
Sierra: Both of us always wanted to sing in front of Simon Cowell. We wanted his opinion on us and to see if we needed to be reevaluated.
Alex: Hopefully he doesn't have to reevaluate us.
Do you ever cringe when you see yourselves on TV?
Sierra: Story of my life! [laughs] I saw myself and was like "Why are they shooting me crying?"
Alex: My cousin took a screenshot of me, and it just was not flattering.
Sierra: I was not thinking about people watching me, and then I looked at the episode and realized I was making all these weird faces.
What is it like dating your singing partner? Do you guys ever need personal space?
Alex: We don't live together. There are some things we do together and some things we do separately. I think that balance helps out a lot.
Sierra: We have so much fun doing this together. There is no arguing; we are just really happy.
Will you guys continue to tour together if you make it big or do separate projects?
Alex: We both look forward to doing stuff together, but separately we are very different. We will probably start our tour together and then do solo things.
Sierra: This is a childish example, but it's like the Jonas Brothers. They do albums together and then do stuff separately.
So is Simon Cowell as intimidating in person as he is on TV?
Sierra: He is a super-nice guy. When he walks through the crowd, he always shakes everyone's hand and takes pictures. He just comes off as mean because he is honest, doesn't hold back, and doesn't want to lead anyone on.
How has FAU and its label Hoot Recordings shaped the start of your musical career?
Alex: I was the only one associated with it. Right now, they are featuring a lot of great artists. It's a great opportunity for a lot of people. I really appreciate what they are doing.
What do you hope to achieve by being on X Factor?
Alex: I've been playing shows locally in Daytona for years. Sierra is actually a three-times world champion at Irish dancing. We worked hard for a long time to perform. We wanted a boost to be in front of a million people. We wanted to begin our careers and climb up from the bottom rung of the ladder.
So what's in the future? Any covers you can tell us about?
Alex: We compiled a whole list of covers over the past two years. We constantly update it, from Civil Wars, Jason Mraz, Ed Sheeran. It's hard to say what's ahead.
Watch X Factor tonight and tomorrow on Fox at 8 p.m.