“I want people to feel a raw sense of empowerment and know that they can achieve anything they set their mind to”
– X. Ari
We first introduced you to this sultry electro-alt-pop siren and the incredible work she does for mental health advocacy in our article titled “#WCW Feature Interview” Series during her 2018 release for Dis-Order. She’s back (-although she never went anywhere because she is one of the hardest-working independent artists we know!-) with a fresh new release. Singles from As You Are, her brand new EP out today, have already been gaining great popularity with listeners. She already has over 200,000+ combined streams, and that’s just on Spotify. With a handful of catchy new Pop songs to boot, (we’d love to hear your favorite! Poll at the end of the article) we can’t wait to hear more about the new album and the inspiration behind it. Let’s jump in!
Being able to be creative, let alone finish, market, and release a new album is a huge feat for any independent artist, let alone during such turbulent times. How were you able to do it?! (and P.S. We are grateful for your art. 2020 can use some triumphs!)
I definitely agree! It takes a lot of work to write, produce, record, mix, and master a record. Then there’s creating the artwork, making photo and video content, and writing/producing music videos. After that comes executing the release, marketing, and playlist pitching, etc. There’s a lot that goes into both the creative process and the release. I wrote about 30 songs in 2019/early 2020 and narrowed them down to 17 then I had my friends, family, and industry colleagues help me pick the top 6 songs out of the bunch.
Do you think the music industry will shift in any way as a result of the events of 2020 thus far?
I think a lot of writing sessions and concerts will remain online for the most part, but I am seeing outdoor and drive in concerts starting to happen. I think outdoor and online shows will be the standard until Covid improves. I think more people from different places around the world will collaborate more frequently with each other than previously because pretty great writing can be achieved on a FaceTime or Zoom call and people can record remotely.
Your music videos are super creative and amazingly-executed. What is your process for creating them?
Thank you! It’s hard to say my exact process, but it usually starts with an image or idea or emotion and then I expand on that. For example, I wrote the music video concept for my song “BSMI” [Broke, Single, and Mentally Ill] when I was languishing in bed one day feeling sad. The idea just came to me and I started elaborating on it and over some time it turned into an entire video. What I love about writing, producing, and co-directing my music videos is that I get to bring a vision in my head into reality. When I watch back the edit and it’s exactly the way I imagined it or even better – that is success to me.
What’s your favorite way to engage with your listeners?
My favorite way is to share my personal story and anything mental health related with my listeners. I hope my experiences inspire others to find healing and know that recovery is possible. I also love connecting through live performance. There’s nothing better than feeling a good energy from a crowd and being part of giving people a healthy escape..
What is your songwriting process like? Favorite part/ Least favorite? Would you ever consider writing for/with other artists?
I usually come up with a theme or melody first. Sometimes lyrics come to me as I am writing melody, however, I usually write most of the lyrics after I write the melody and form of the song. Once I have the verse, pre-chorus, chorus, and bridge melodies I insert lyrics to fit and do my best to tell a compelling story. The biggest challenge with songwriting is finding new interesting and catchy ways to say things people have written about and said before. It’s hard to come up with a completely fresh topic, but you can reiterate something in a brand new way that just connects – when that happens it is magical. I love writing for other artists. I have been doing that for years. It really motivates me when I help another artist tell their own story in a way that they wouldn’t have thought of doing before. If I can be a valuable asset and bring a song to life for another artist and they truly love the song then my work is complete!
“Lifting Up” and “As You Are” sound like a power anthems, as it’s title and lyrics suggest! Can you tell us more about them?
They are both definitely power anthems. “Lifting Up” is a confessional song about my personality and lifestyle. The chorus talks about “falling down” and “breaking my crown” but then rising up afterwards. “As You Are” is all about self acceptance, standing up for yourself, and owning the ups and downs of your story. In light of Suicide Prevention Month, in September (when it was released), it’’s meant to empower people to find the courage to fight against bullies and have the confidence to be themselves.
You’ve always been an advocate for mental health. Do you think some positive changes have been made regarding the stigma in the music industry, and in general? Have we made any progress? What are some ways we, (the listener,) can do to help continue the fight for mental health advocacy?
Yes, I definitely think a lot of positive change has been made regarding stigma in the music industry and in general. I see several music related events dedicated to mental health awareness and many initiatives outside of the industry. We have made progress – 100%. We can continue to advocate for mental health by sharing our own stories and opening up people, really listening when other people are talking, and checking in with loved ones and friends to show you are there for them and they are not alone. We also do our best to take care of ourselves and develop a self care routine to maintain our mental health and well-being. If you’re looking for any Self Care Tips I have a whole list on my site here 🙂 ((Mental Health Warriors, also check out X.Ari’s Pain Into Power campaign!)
As you know, we have our own Spotify Playlist, a.k.a. 6/8 Music Spotify “Slaylist,” of our favorite new music from female artists. Do you follow any/have a favorite playlists? Favorite podcast?
I have Spotify and my favourite playlist is listening to Release Radar on Fridays because it plays me all of the new releases for the artists I follow. I also like my Daily Mixes and doing artist radio for new artists I like so I can discover music I’ve never heard before. My favourite podcasts have to be Tara Brach for anything spiritual, psychology, or meditation related. I also love And The Writer Is by Ross Golan. He talks to several songwriters and producers and it’s always so fascinating to see how they came across success and create their music.
What do you want your listeners to take away from the new EP?
I want people to feel a raw sense of empowerment and know that they can achieve anything they set their mind to. I want people to go after love without fear or regrets, I want people to find their outlets and conduits for healing, and I want people to know that recovery is possible. I want people who feel like they have merely been surviving that they can make meaning out of their struggles and can thrive too.
Thank you, X.Ari, for being a pioneer for female independent artists, a fearless role model, and beacon of strength. It was great chatting with you!
FAVORITE SONG POLL
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