Singing sensation Alexa Ray Joel already knows who will be her singing partner for her upcoming wedding. “My dad doesn’t know it yet, but we’re doing a duet,” Billy Joel’s daughter exclusively told Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now, at Smile Train’s 20th anniversary gala at Capitale NYC. “He’ll be cool with it. He’s very laid back, and he does whatever I want to do.”
The 33-year-old singer-songwriter is engaged to her longtime boyfriend, restaurateur Ryan Gleason. “He had a very old-fashioned upbringing, just like me,” says Alexa Ray, who was raised away from the spotlight, despite the fact that her dad and mom — supermodel Christie Brinkley, 65 — are both celebrities. “My parents tried to shield me from how famous they were when I was growing up on Long Island. I had no idea.”
She’s followed in her father’s footsteps, but “I worked a long time to get good at what I’m doing,” Alexa Ray says. “Nobody handed me a recording contract because of who my father is.”
Still, Billy, 70, has been a big influence on her. “He has a way of making every song sound classic and iconic because it’s really very melody-driven,” she says. “That’s what I’m all about — old school.”
Their wedding day duet won’t be the first time the two have performed together. “I’ve been singing ‘New York State of Mind’ with him at Madison Square Garden, which is a dream,” she says. So, too, will be their father-daughter dance at her nuptials. Gushes Alexa Ray, “It’s going to be amazing.”
Even though the young star sings just as amazing as her dad, her mom taught her how to keep her cool on stage and be grateful for everything she has. “I literally hear her voice in my mind,” Alexa Ray says about the lessons she learned from Christie. “She’s always like ‘posture, smile, be kind to everyone you meet.’ She always reminds me to just be so grateful and happy to be there and sing when I get nervous before shows.”
Christie and her daughter have developed such a close bond, too. “She’s the best person to be around!” Alexa Ray gushes, and the one thing she loves the most about her mom is her “vivacious” attitude. “She has endless energy,” Alexa Ray said. “She just feeds off of life. She’s got this natural high going and she really is the most vivacious magical person to be around. It’s hard to explain. I always say it’s like blindingly bright sunshine coming at you. That’s how I would describe Mom.”
I think we can all agree that Alexa Ray has the best family ever!
For more on Alexa Ray Joel, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!