Group of Berklee Alums Set To Release Debut EP This Friday

Alex Maes & The Connection, who all met as students at Berklee College of Music, will mark a major career milestone this Friday, April 28, with the release of “The People We Thought We Knew, “ their four-song, debut EP.

The group’s 24-year-old lead singer, Alex Maes, grew up in a small town in Colorado and began playing piano and singing at age 6.  At around the age of 12, Maes and three of her childhood friends formed the band that would become known as “Red Bandanna” during a sleepover. They found a band manager and began bringing in and rehearsing original sings, with Maes serving as the primary songwriter and composer.

Alex Maes & The Connection, featuring, left to right, Francisco Morales, Kevin Barber, Maes, and Warren Pettey.

​“It started out pretty innocently, with us playing songs together, but it’s where my love for music came from and when I knew that music was something that I wanted to pursue,” said Maes.

​Red Bandana lasted about four years, disbanding when Maes was a high school sophomore.

​In high school, Maes was awarded the Daniels Scholarship which allowed her to attend Berklee in 2017. She graduated in 2022, taking a bit longer to complete her studies during the pandemic, like many of her classmates.

Maes  first connected with her future Connection bandmates, including Warren Pettey (keys/piano), Kevin Barber (bass), and Francisco Morales (drums) at Berklee, where they formed the band in 2019.

​In describing their signature sound, Maes said, “The foundation is R&B and soul. It’s progressive, alternative R&B or soul music, with elements of jazz, elements of rock, elements of pop, and maybe even elements of folk sometimes.”

​Since their inception, Alex Maes & The Connection have performed at a number of prestigious venues, such as Rockwood Music Hall, The Narrows, and Boston City Plaza, and have also been nominated for several awards, including for the Best R&B/Soul artist at the New England Music Awards in 2021. The group was named finalists in the New England Last Band Standing Competition in 2022 as well.

​Though they started recording the songs that appear on “The People We Thought We Knew” about a year ago, Maes said the songs had been “in progress” for a while beforehand.

​The EP was recorded by Brian DiMaio, a Grammy-nominated recording engineer who has worked with notable artists, including Terrace Martin. Production was spearheaded by Maes, with help from Sean McLaughlin, who produced the vocals. The mixing was handled by Pettey, the group’s keyboard player and pianist, while Jonathan Wyner, a Grammy-nominated mastering engineer, mastered the release.

​Maes and her bandmates recorded most of their new EP at the Berklee studios, along with a number of other locations, including the Record Co., a nonprofit recording studio at 960 Mass Ave. (where they will be holding their record release party on Friday).

The songs themselves “delve into the complexities of human relationships, both with others and with

oneself,” according to a press release for the EP.

​Asked whether she considers it a ‘concept album,’ Maes responded: “I like to have concepts within projects. I really like having something that’s threaded together.”

​Maes added, “The thing about an album is it’s a point in your life…and being about a certain period in your life.”

​While she had initially considered crediting the EP to just herself, Maes soon decided to also give The Connection top billing as well.

​“This is our first release officially as a band,” she said. “For a while, I was thinking of just using my name, but I think a lot of the songwriting comes from all our collectiveness as a band, which I think makes it really special.”

​Two songs on the EP – “Us” and “You,” respectively – Maes co-wrote with her bandmate, Pettey.

Another song, called “We,” Maes wrote with a Berklee classmate, Emily Sangder.

“She’s a  really good friend from Berklee, so it made sense for us to write [songs] together. It came out really well, and I’m happy we were able to collaborate,” said Maes.

The fourth track, which Maes wrote by herself, is called “Me.”

To commemorate the release of the EP, the group will be holding a free record release party on Friday, April 28, from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Record Co., located at 960 Mass Ave.

“We just want people to listen to the music,” said Maes. “We want it to be a celebration, more than anything else.”

Visit to register for the event. Food and drink will be provided at the event, where the band will also be selling merch.

As for the future. Maes is now looking forward to whatever comes next for her and The Connection.

“Making more music is really our goal,” she said. “We obviously want to be performing more as well, just chugging along.” Visit for more on Alex Maes & The Connection

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