Tell us about the genesis of your project

I’ve been singing since I could talk. I started singing lessons at age 7, recorded my first cover song at age 10, and was in my first girl group by 11 years old. I started off by singing songs written by other writers until I got into songwriting and poetry myself starting at around 14 or 15 years old. I started my X. ARI project in 2015 and it began as left of centre pop with a deeper message. I wrote about challenging the double standards on sexuality, human trafficking, and personal trauma. After a severe mental health crisis in 2016/2017, I decided to focus my message on mental health awareness.

I began by sharing my experiences and healing journey publicly and writing about mental health themes specifically in my music. I dedicated my 2nd EP “Dis-Order” to mental health and created my first ever merch line to self-care oriented with relaxation candles, crystal bracelets, and Pain Into Power Reflection Journals with partial proceeds to Canadian youth mental health network,

Since then I have continued to advocate strongly for mental health and release more music dedicated to the cause including my third EP “Uni-Fi” where I introduced my drag king alter ego IRA X. My EP release party for “Uni-Fi” was hosted by the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) and since then I have been speaking at schools sharing my story to help educate the youth as a co-speaker in NAMI’s Ending the Silence Program. My 4th EP “As You Are” was released in Oct 2020 for World Mental Health Day.

My latest music has shifted recently in a romantic direction with love songs inspired by my beautiful girlfriend who has become my biggest muse and greatest support system. My fifth EP “Anja” is dedicated to her and is a reflection of deep authentic love and transformation as she’s my first ever relationship with a woman after a lifetime of dating men. I’ve always felt at home in the LGBTQIA+ community and have felt fluid with my gender as a two-spirited individual.

As I am releasing my “Anja” EP I am simultaneously working on my 6th EP titled “Artica – The Destroyer of Worlds” where I embody as past lifetime from a 100,000 where I was a pinked-skinned alien with unbridled superpowers and accidentally blew up my home ice planet! I will be creating a figure skating green screen music video for it as I used to be a competitive figure skater. I live for creativity, crossing over art mediums, advocacy, and providing hope for healing in others through storytelling and sharing resources.

What is the song you are the most proud of? 

It’s so hard to say! I’d say my entire Anja EP is my favourite collection of songs because it’s inspired by real authentic love and positive personal transformation in my life. I wrote it very organically and it seeped out of me very quickly. I love when writing is natural and comes together quickly. Embracing a new side of myself, now being bisexual, has been really empowering for me. To be able to share the experience through music and dedicate it to my girlfriend gives me so much joy.

Who are your all time musical icons?

Sia is a huge icon for me. She also struggles with Bipolar and I feel very connected to her and her music. I also admire the fact that she got major recognition later in her career. It really does show that true talent is ageless and commercial success is attainable at any point. I used to be a bit worried about age but seeing her perform at the Grammy’s at age 39 really changed that limiting belief for me. I also love Lady Gaga for her advocacy. I think it’s important for people with a platform to use their powerful influence for the greater good of humanity.

What are your main sources of inspiration?

Absolutely nothing! My life has been blessed with many ups and downs that I have enough inspiration to dive into for an entire lifetime of creating. To me, storytelling, and creativity are infinite and I never have to think too hard about something I want to say or sing about. I’m grateful to be able to easily tap into the eternal source energy that provides limitless melodies and lyrics.

Who are some artists you look up to these days?

I haven’t been binge listening much lately, to be honest. But….. I did find an artist named “Zee Machine” recently and fell in love with his song “If You Were My Boyfriend”. It’s definitely a bop!

Favorite movie or TV show?

I just finished watching “Feel Good” with my girlfriend, Anja. Absolutely loved that show to bits. I love that there are more shows with non-binary characters in the LGBTQIA+ community. I found it very relatable as a queer Canadian and can’t wait for the next season.

Tell us about your latest release and how it came about.

My single “Stranger to Saviour” (out June 25th for Pride Month) is dedicated to my first-ever girlfriend Anja. I had a spiritual awakening after doing reiki on myself in November 2020 when my spirit guides told me that “you are not ready for love until you go through a certain experience”. It dawned on me that this experience I need to go through is dating women. I opened my heart to the possibility of having a relationship with a woman and I am so grateful I did because that’s how I met Anja, who is definitely life partner material. This song is exactly about that – How I dated men my whole life and went through a major transformation and shift which allowed me to access true love. Anja was once a stranger and is now my saviour 🙂

What’s the future looking like for you?

It’s looking brighter than ever! I truly feel in alignment with my life purpose. In May 2021 I hosted “Mental Health Month with X. ARI”, a free online self-care festival for the entire month. I was so inspired that I am now hosting “WidsoMania Fest” in LA in May 2020, which is a wellness festival where attendees are encouraged to enter with an open heart and leave with newfound wisdom. The four elements are live performances by advocates, film, self-care sessions, and creative workshops. I am SO excited to see it come together and to play my part in helping heal the world. 

Who inspires your style and aesthetics?

I love Japanese fashion, anything a bit punk and edgy. I also like androgynous looks and have been inspired by Ruby Rose.

What is a moment in your career you remember most dearly?

While hosting Mental Health Month with X. ARI, a fan told me that she was wishing that she wouldn’t wake up that morning and was glad she did just so she could partake in my event. She was really struggling and said that my wellness festival was giving her hope and coping tools to get better. Whenever someone reaches out to say my advocacy efforts are helping it gives me purpose and motivation to keep going. Helping others heal is what inspires me to continue working hard to make a difference and heal the world.

What do you think is the best way to make it as an artist nowadays?

There’s no one formula. Probably by getting really good at TikTok, which I completely suck at, LOL!! I’m still figuring out how to make it! Please let me know if you have any ideas, hahaha! I just try to stay focused on creating music with a message, leading with my heart, being consistent, and persistent.

What would you change in the music and entertainment industry especially after this past year?

This year really showed that we can work from anywhere and I love that. I’d say that I’d like to still work from home and keep sessions remote, but I’m actually excited to be able to get together in person again at studios. I’d like for some sessions to still be done on Zoom so we can collaborate with people worldwide. That’s definitely one positive for the music industry after a worldwide pandemic.