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Alexa Ray Joel releases ballad “Seven Years,” says dad Billy tells her, “You take over, kid!”

Myrna Suarez

Singer/songwriter Alexa Ray Joel is out with a new song called “Seven Years,” inspired by fiancé Ryan Gleason, who she’s been dating since 2013. She been working on the ballad for ages, trying to get it just right, because her approach to her music is similar to her dad, Billy Joel‘s.

“My father always says, and I agree with this, that your song is like your baby,” Alexa tells ABC Audio. “And you want to be very protective over it and have all the preparation that it needs, until you sort of release it out into the world.”

“Seven Years” is a romantic ballad, but Alexa says it also describes the ups and downs of any long-term relationship.

“I didn’t want it to just sound like some stock Hallmark card,” she explains. “I wanted it to be a very transparent narrative of what it’s really like…there’s light and dark to all of it, and that’s what makes the song interesting.”

Alexa conceived, wrote and recorded the song, but did ask her dad for help with the title, after her producer suggested changing the original one: “Classic Guy.”

“I sent [my dad] a list of titles I had…[like], ‘What’s a really strong title for an anthem?'” says Alexa. “[He] said, well, you can’t get more classic than just ‘Seven Years’….that sounds like an epic, anthemic love song. And so I went with what he liked!”

But Alexa, who’s also working on an album, says what her dad would really like is for her to pick up the torch.

“He’s worked his a** off his whole life,” she explains, “He’s happy to perform at [Madison Square] Garden — he’ll do his monthly residency there. But he’s very, like, ‘You take over, kid. I’m happy to chill out now!'”

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