Alex Embler Reimagines ‘9 Hours’ and Juice WRLD’s ‘Life’s a Mess’

Emerging pop-R&B crooner Alex Embler released a new, stripped-down version of his song “9 Hours” (https://ingrooves.ffm.to/9hoursreimagined). The February 12 release was preceded by Embler’s cover of the late Juice WRLD’s “Life’s A Mess” (http://smarturl.it/lo8nwl), which came out the previous week. Those releases were succeeded by the Valentine’s Day premiere of the “9 Hours (Reimagined)” music video. Both versions of “9 Hours” as well as “Life’s A Mess” are available now on all digital download and streaming platforms. 

Though times continue to be tough more than one year into a world-altering pandemic, Embler has managed to remain inspired. These latest releases show that the up-and-comer has the chops to bring his own unique style to whatever he’s performing, be it an original or a cover. While each song covers different territory stylistically and lyrically, they both allow Embler to showcase his voice, one that is somehow simultaneously youthful and mature.

“9 Hours” is a song about reuniting with your love after enduring a difficult period of separation. It was inspired by Embler’s recent experience leaving his northern Virginia residence for Nashville in an attempt to get his music career off the ground. Though he describes spending a year apart from his wife as the hardest thing he’s ever had to do, the 600-mile journey was without a doubt fruitful. Not only did he come away with the inspiration for this moving song — he also came home with a record deal! Not one to rest on his laurels, the Legend Recordings signee has since continued to work hard on his music, splitting his time between Virginia and Tennessee.

The sparser production on the stripped rendition of “9 Hours” makes the song an even better platform for Embler’s emotion-rich voice. The simple piano/vocal arrangement brings the longing Embler is writing about to the fore. The track culminates in a final chorus the Greensboro-native delivers at the top of his lungs. Nearly shouting, his background in heavy rock is apparent. 

“Life’s A Mess” serves as further proof of Embler’s versatility as an artist. The former pro baseball player chose to cover the posthumously-released Juice WRLD and Halsey single because of how much it spoke to him lyrically. Content-wise, it complements “9 Hours” quite nicely. Whereas the latter addresses a well-established long-distance relationship, this song is more focused on recounting past relationships that didn’t pan out and expressing gratitude for having since found “the one.” The recording process for “9 Hours (Stripped)” and “Life’s A Mess” differed from that for Embler’s other releases. 

“We recorded these songs over a six-month period of time in many different sessions in Louisville, KY. The process for these two was a bit different because we really dove in and changed them musically, to create different emotions than I think the songs initially had.” – Alex Embler

Lead singer of the genre-defying Albany-based band MIRK and Jay-Z collaborator Josh Mirksy produced both tracks. He also co-wrote “9 Hours.” Kyle Hollis of Picturesque served as the engineer.

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