Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Blah Blah”?
This song is an accurate representation of my personality because I tend to joke during serious and emotional situations. I’ve realized that I do this in hopes of diffusing the situation and forgetting about my emotions. This song acknowledges that side of me in a melodramatic, almost satirical way. It shows that although it is fun, sassy, and lighthearted, it can actually be an unhealthy trait.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Yes, there was a particular event that lead me to writing “Blah Blah”, but to give some context, this song reflects a time when I was happy and confident in my singleness, but was surrounded by women who were allowing their singleness to be an insecurity. It made me question the difference between me and them, and I concluded that my goals and personal agenda were more important to me than romance. The combination of these thoughts, mixed with a generally bad day, and a coworker continuing to hit on me after my multiple gentle declines lead to the sarcastic and frustrating reaction that you hear in Blah Blah. For the first time in my life, I had realized that the male attention that “should have” validated me actually meant nothing to me.
Any plans to release a music video for the single?
I created music video concepts for each of the songs on my EP, however as a new artist I realized there were more strategic ways to use the resources that I have access to. I am, however, really happy about how the lyric video turned out for Blah Blah, which is up on my YouTube channel, Zoe Xandra!
The single comes off your new album TMI – what’s the story behind the title?
My EP is called TMI (which stands for Too Much Information), because in my opinion, it is. I’m generally not an openly emotional person or the first one to share my inner thoughts. Each song is personal to me, and relates to different life lessons that I’ve gone through. So, releasing this personal album is so out of my comfort zone and very vulnerable, which just felt like TMI.
How was the recording and writing process?
The writing process was amazing, its one of my favourite aspects of musicianship. I found that writing this EP challenged me to be raw and reflective. Each song has a different mood and tells a different part of my story. My producer, Mike Schlosser, was so good at making the studio a safe place. It was such an interesting experience paying attention to my reaction as I sifted through different memories, stories, and big life moments. These reactions were the initial inspirations for the songs you hear on TMI.
What role does Toronto play in your music?
Toronto plays a crucial role in my music. Moving from a smaller town to a big city was a liberating experience. It felt like I moved into adulthood and was able to define myself as a woman and as a musician. Beyond the inspiration, Toronto was the place where my music was first accepted and a platform opened up to pursue it. The sound of TMI would not exist if it had not been for an amazing Toronto based producer, vocal coaches, and songwriters.
What aspect of womenhood did you get to explore on this record?
My biggest takeaway surrounding womanhood was a refreshed appreciation for the importance of women supporting other women. Each of my 6 songs has a female co writer. I believe that women, when supporting each other, are able to communicate in a unique and honest way— relating to similar experiences, thought patterns, and emotions. Working with women helped to create an atmosphere of honesty and vulnerability during the writing sessions. I am so grateful that each of the women I worked with were so open and supportive.
Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
My EP’s inspiration is drawn from personal experiences, thoughts, and events. Every song is a reflection of a different chapter of my life. You can tell that each song was written from a different state of mind than the previous. These states of mind are represented through different life lessons, maturity levels, and emotional responses in my songs. It’s a story of me, so it’s fluid, dynamic, and ever evolving. This can be heard through the lyrics and also through the music as it jumps back and forth between stripped vocals, solo pianos to synth sounds, and from acoustic guitar to electric.
Any plans to hit the road?
I would love to hit the road! I have been playing gigs in and around the Toronto area. I am looking forward to releasing more music and expanding my gigs beyond the Toronto area.
What else is happening next in Zoe Xandra’s world?
I am excited to release my third single in the beginning of December and I will also be releasing my full EP at the end of January/beginning of February. In the meantime, I am looking forward to playing the songs that are released, live.