Growing up on a 10-acre property in Idaho, Alexander Pappas never dreamed he would one day end up touring the world as frontman for ‘Hillsong Young and Free.’ But that’s precisely what happened. His parents moved the family there from Southern California when he was just ten years old, and it was ultimately the place where he got saved.
While he grew up in church, Alexander had his first real encounter with God at 15. His parents split up, and he found himself at a youth conference that was playing Hillsong United songs. It was the first time Alexander heard worship music that he related to, and he was given the opportunity to make a decision for Jesus.
“I had my Damascus Road moment,” he says. “Everything went from black and white to living colour. That day has spurred on so many decisions. In that moment, I had a youth pastor who fully believed in me and I joined the youth worship team. He also pushed me to study in a Bible college on the other side of the world in Sydney.”
Just before ‘Young and Free’ started, Alexander felt like he was meant to stay in Australia and keep building the church. But he also had big dreams to write songs and travel the world. So he asked God to either take the dream away or help make it a reality.
God… cares about the dreams and the desires of our hearts
“Very quickly, things started coming together,” Alexander says. “I went and played bass on a trip to India just a couple of months later. God was looking out for me, and He cares about the dreams and the desires of our hearts. I fully died to self and continued building the church.”
Alexander describes his journey to where he is today as a slow burn. There have been many times of waiting on God and trusting His timing. Every detail was so perfectly orchestrated by God for Alexander to become a part of the worship team at church, and then ‘Young and Free.’
Alexander’s vision for the music he writes is to ultimately demystify what it means to be a Christian. Whether we’ve created the thoughts ourselves that it’s difficult to follow, or other believers have made it seem judgemental, these songs help give a voice to that journey.
His first solo EP, ‘Idaho’ inadvertently captures the feeling of Covid fatigue, even though it was inspired by some pre-pandemic challenges. “When it comes to music, I’ve always had confidence,” says Alexander. “I’ve never really doubted myself until 2020, when I had my visa cancelled and I couldn’t work in Australia anymore. I was wondering if this really was for me.”
Ultimately for Alexander, it’s been a five-year journey to release ‘Idaho’. He says he’s had to learn to be gracious with himself, especially during lockdowns and periods of not being able to work and travel. He believes you can allow yourself to feel the sadness, but you can’t stay there.
“I’ve been away from my family in America for over a decade now, so ‘Young and Free’ has truly been my family here,” says Alexander. “It’s a continual reminder that we are meant to build the church. Despite the fact that we don’t get to do it on a global scale that we once did, we keep leaning into whether it’s church online or church on zoom.”
Alexander says that ‘Idaho’ is essentially his salvation story. “The beauty of the best art in the world is that people can find themselves a little bit in the story,” he says. “This song to me was about being saved, and hopefully when people listen, they insert wherever that time and place was for them.”
“God brought my encounter moment to Idaho, and the unbelievable living colour of Jesus superseded every other moment in my life.”