Alexander Michael Tahquitz Ebert (born May 12, 1978) is an American singer-songwriter and composer. He is best known for being the lead singer and songwriter for the American bands Ima Robot and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. On January 12, 2014, Ebert won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score for his musical score to the film All Is Lost (2013).
Ebert was born in Los Angeles in 1978, the son of a psychotherapist, Michael Ebert, and actress Lisa Richards. His father would often take the family on long car trips through the desert. On one such trip, his mother shot footage of his father chanting in the desert, cradling Alex's baby sister Gabi, which would one day become a part of the video for the Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros song "Desert Song". His grandfather Carl Ebert had been Intendant of Deutsche Oper, Berlin; he also was a famous actor trained by Max Reinhardt.
His full birth name is Alexander Michael Tahquitz Ebert. His father took one of his son's names, Tahquitz, from his favorite climbing rock. Alex later on discovered that the name means "demon" in a Native American language. As a teenager, he had a difficult and tumultuous relationship with his father.
His father influenced young Alexander by playing music by artists like Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash. He also cites 60s R&B, Pavarotti, and Beethoven as influences, as well as his elementary school teacher, a woman from South Africa named Ruth. Alexander enjoyed listening to hip-hop as a teenager, and originally intended to be a rapper.
Following a school project on Marlon Brando, Ebert developed an affection for film and cinematic studies. His mother supported his budding passion and Ebert consequently was enrolled in extracurricular filmmaking classes. Ebert attended Oakwood School for high school, and then Emerson College for a time before dropping out. After dropping out, Ebert directed a short film and wrote several screenplays. He attributes the revival of his interest in professional music to his childhood friends and excessive drug usage during that period of his life.
After Ebert's band The Lucky 13's broke up, Ima Robot was formed in 1997 and it became successful in the early 2000s, signing with Virgin Records. Their first full-length album released on September 6, 2003, was self-titled Ima Robot, and featured the singles "Dynomite" and "Song #1". On September 12, 2006, Ima Robot released their second album Monument to the Masses which featured the singles "Creeps Me Out" and "Lovers in Captivity". In April 2007, the band won their independence from Virgin Records and continued to work unsigned under the management of Alexis Rivera of Echo Park Records. The song "Gangster" premiered on the band's MySpace on April 15, 2008, with its lyrics posted in a blog entry by the band. In 2010 the band announced the upcoming release of their new album, Another Man's Treasure, and released the song "Ruthless" on the Internet. They are now being represented by the Werewolf Heart label. Ebert was quoted as saying that "most of the songs were recorded between two and four years ago", but that he looks forward to making music with Tim Anderson and Filip Nikolic again. Ebert expressed frustration with the corporate limitations on the band, saying he "pretty unironically ended up feeling like a robot by the end of the process because of the major label thing."
After years of the Los Angeles party lifestyle and subsequent drug addiction, Ebert broke up with his then-girlfriend, moved out of his house, and spent some time in rehab. During this time, he developed Edward Sharpe, his alter ego. "I don't want to put too much weight on it, because in some ways it's just a name that I came up with. But I guess if I look deeper, I do feel like I had lost my identity in general. I really didn't know what was going on or who I was anymore. Adopting another name helped me open up an avenue to get back." Ebert developed Sharpe into a messianic figure, saying "He was sent down to Earth to kinda heal and save mankind, but he kept getting distracted by girls and falling in love."
Though the band would eventually grow into an ensemble of - at various points - even more than 10 people, Ebert began initial writing and recording completely alone, doing "the horn lines with my mouth or a kazoo on the demos" and "all the background vocals layering [him]self, pretending that there were people there." The band began to take shape with the addition of singer Jade Castrinos, whom he saw sitting on an outdoor bench and immediately knew he needed to have a relationship with. Their resultant affair formed the seeds of what would become Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. They started writing music together, and became a part of the art and music collective The Masses, which was partially started by some seed money from actor Heath Ledger. While their relationship did not last, the group took off in a big way, and their group soon swelled to more than 10 members, some of whom had been Alex's friends since he was young. By summer 2009, they were touring the country. Their first album, Up from Below, was released in July 2009. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman on May 10, 2012 promoting their next album entitled Here, which was released on May 29, 2012. Their third full-length album, self-titled Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, was released on July 23, 2013. They again appeared on the Late Show to promote the album, performing the track "Life Is Hard".
On most recent album, PersonA, Ebert tried to evolve, stating, "In a lot of ways this album does things that are missing." He went on to discuss why the name Edward Sharpe is crossed out on the cover, saying, "There was no character to begin with, so why not kill him? He never really was there. If anything, and at most, Edward Sharpe was a vehicle for me to get to slough off whatever I had become up until that point, and to get back to or sort of allow my pure self to come forth into sort of a clean slate."
"FEEL THE BERN" was added to Ebert's Soundcloud on September 30, 2015. The anthem celebrates the movement surrounding Bernie Sanders and compels people to "Feel the Bern", which is the slogan of Bernie's presidential campaign.
Ebert's song "Truth" is featured in the credits of the Oscar-winner short live-action film Curfew.
He reunited with Chandor to score the latter's 2014 film A Most Violent Year.
Ebert's song "Home" with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros is featured in the film "Stuck in Love".
Alexander's song "Truth" is featured in the final scene of the 4th season, 1st episode of Breaking Bad. (AMC, 2011).
"Man on Fire" is also featured in series 8 of The Deadliest Catch (Episode - "Landlocked")
"Remember our Heart" is briefly featured in a scene from season 2 of HBO's How to Make it in America (Episode - "Mofongo")
"40 Day Dream" is featured on the 6th episode of season 3 of Chuck.
"Green Back Boogie" by Alex's Ima Robot group is the theme song for Suits.
Ebert is a supporter of Bernie Sanders, saying "[There’s] the idea that you’re not going to support someone if you’re at all famous because somehow your fame is on the line or your name is on the line. [But] if Bernie fails that’s nothing to me, you know what I mean? It’s nothing to me and it’s going to be nothing to him. You think he’s gonna change ‘cause he fails, or he’s gonna stop doing what he’s doing because he fails? Or change what he’s doing ‘cause he succeeds? I damn sure hope not."