Xenia Talks "Sing You Home", Books, Johnny Cash, and More
Mon, 06 Feb 2012 09:31:44
Norah Jones Photos
On her debut EP, Sing You Home, the first thing you notice about Xenia is just how massive her voice is.
Her gorgeous and robust delivery sits somewhere between Norah Jones and Etta James. At the same time, there's a vulnerability that belongs to her and her alone. Over the course of the EP's four songs, she proves to be one of the most dynamic and genuinely talented performers in modern pop. It's no surprise the Southern California native was a favorite on the first season of NBC's mega hit, The Voice. However, her voice is going to carry her quite farther still.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief and Dolor author Rick Florino, Xenia opens up about Sing You Home, some favorite books, and so much more.
What's your take on the Sing You Home – EP as a whole?
I love how every song flows and the way the EP was put together. It stars off with a more upbeat, cool vibe. Then, it goes into the happier melody and so forth. I like how every song changes. The feeling goes up and down so it's not always the same. Everything starts with "Sing You Home" and it goes to "Snapshot" which is a slower love song.
What's the story behind the song "Sing You Home"?
As far as the song and video go, it starts off with you wondering what's going on. You're in the dark. You could be overwhelmed with so many things, but at the end there's something to sing you home. It goes from dark to light. In the light, you're building some sense of comfort in whatever was going on at the beginning.
Does music bring you from dark to light?
For me, yeah…It could be something different for everybody. Sometimes, we're so overwhelmed and there are so many things going on in everyday life. You can be stressed. At the end of the day, music always sings me home. For anybody else listening, it can be about whatever brings them home.
Where did "Light Years" come from?
The thing I like about the song is it never says a specific "you". It simply says, "I would go light years to find you". It could be someone you love or a dream you would go light years to find. That song could be taken anyway, and I love that.
How do songs typically start for you?
When I write a song, I'm almost always messing around with a guitar or a piano, and I'll come up with a melody. Then, the lyrics come after. Once in a while, it's the other way around. Recently, I've come up with both at the same time, for some reason. I'll sit at the piano, I'll start singing lyrics, and I've got a song. It just depends on what you're feeling at the moment.
Is it important for you to tell stories with the songs?
It's very important for music to tell stories, whether you're singing your own songs or someone else's. Music is telling a story. I think that's the reason it was created—to express yourself. Sometimes, we don't have any way to express ourselves, but if you sing a song, you know that can totally let people know exactly what it is that you're feeling. Without a story, there is no song. I think that's very important.
What influences you outside of music?
I actually read a lot. It's one of my favorite things to do. Before singing and thinking I could be a musician, I wanted to be a writer so I would read a lot of books and write stories or poems. I think reading is really important. Books and novels are stories. You can a story from a book and turn it into a song. I was reading a book the other day, and I was practically crying because it was so sad. I was like, "How about a write a song about what the character was feeling?"
What are some of your favorite books?
One of my favorites is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. I read The Hunger Games series, and that was really great. Those are two of my favorites.
Who's on your playlist right now?
I've been listening to a lot of Mumford & Sons and James Morrison. I listen to a lot of Johnny Cash. Then there's Jason Mraz. Those are probably the most-played on my iPod now. Ever since I was little, I've loved Johnny Cash. I had pictures of him on my wall when I was little. My favorite song is probably "Folsom Prison Blues". I love "Hurt" too.
Have you heard Sing You Home yet?
Watch the video below!