With a song on her heart, Hamilton, ON pianist prodigy Alex Whorms has leant her ethereal vocals and masterful penchant for delicate homages to a new interpretation of Jann Arden’s “Insensitive.”
Listen and experience this breathtaking version on YouTube here:
What was it about the chart-topping smash hit that would come to ring true with legions of fans — and other artists who cover it — all flocking to the track’s aching melancholy? Its truly honest lyrics of heartbreak and longing... Of letting go after being let down… All relatable, earnest words delivered by the honest-to-God truth of feeling every crack in your soul from losing love.
In short, it’s the perfect combination of sense and sensibility for the Hamilton-based indie songstress.
Whorms has been on a path of self-happiness and confidence since leaning into the full scope of her musical abilities. As a teen, she was eager to learn, perform, and conduct. Whorms, a self-described "classical music kid” who became a "musical theatre nerd” in high school, went from practicing piano five hours a day, to reading charts in pit bands and conducting choirs. She loved the dramatic melodies, the lyrics that told stories. She could handle Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Rodgers and Hammerstein.
What she couldn't handle back then was the Top 40. "I hated it," she admits. "I used to have an old iPod I would listen to in the car so I didn't have to hear the radio. I used to go to the library and grab whatever CDs looked interesting, load them in and put them on shuffle."
But it was a chance hearing of Sarah Slean that compelled the young Whorms to expand her listening wheelhouse, and encouraged her to learn songwriting of her own. Drawn to female songwriters, Whorms honed her skills as bandleader, and performer, focusing on creating masterful lyrics; those that tell a story. As she says, she has one specific goal: deliver honesty. Authenticity. Passion.
Now, the staggeringly talented young musician boasts two recordings to her credit — the 2017 EP Our Lives and 2019’s Burgundy. And with the releases, Whorms has also received wide-fair share of honours and accolades, including the 2019 Hamilton Arts Award of Emerging Artist in Music, and notable gigs including Toronto’s coveted Canadian Music Week (2019), Hamilton’s Festival of Friends (2018), and even the Sidewalk Café in NYC (2017).
In the wake of the 2020 pandemic, Whorms – as many of her musician peers and fellow performers – found herself in a creative space, with time to flesh out other endeavors and projects. This time, it was a stunning cover of Jann Arden’s 90’s classic, “Insensitive”. Stripped down to acoustic, Whorms’ rendition is a raw, pure, piano-based heartbreak. It’s quietly eerie. It’s quietly beautiful. It’s moving, touching, and devastating. Whorms’ delivery is sheer perfection — it pleads with the desire to just let go. To just move on. Even if it’s what the soul and the heart rejects.
Her adjoining music video is equally simple and poignant. In one black and white shot, we’re shown Whorms from the back, playing the piano quaintly and quietly. In a rushing moment, you’re transported to the innermost thoughts of a woman reluctantly saying goodbye, penning her tears into diary pages.
The future is bold and beautiful for Alex Whorms, as she continues her journey into the wider fringes of the industry; not only does she continuously collaborate with other artists, but she also composes for film and is working towards licensing her music for film and television. In the here and now, she’s looking ahead to getting on the road and performing. “I have enjoyed playing with a band, but when I'm up there alone, I'm totally free," she says. "I can change the setlist in the moment. I can slow down or speed up. I can get the audience singing along. Or I can talk to them — or with them. It's like having an intimate conversation in real time. The show can basically go anywhere and be anything."
For more about Alex Whorms check out: