To Be Real with singer-songwriter Xhosa

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Photography by Hannah Siegfried

 

Photography: Hannah Siegfried

Interview: Isis Nicole

Can we start with a brief introduction of yourself? 

Hi! I'm XHOSA and I am a musician and multidisciplinary artist from Brooklyn. As a musician, I take on the roles of producer, singer-songwriter, rapper, & instrumentalist.

What makes you feel real? 

Well, I wrote that song at 15 about my first experiences smoking weed.... so I would definitely credit it to my realness Loll. But the concept of "Feel Real" is really about being present and aware of the moment you're in. When you take the time to see everything as if you are seeing it for the first time, reality becomes more malleable and you have the opportunity to change your perspective completely. Feeling real is all about melting into the moment and exiting it feeling freer and more imaginative. 

How do you challenge yourself to progress? 

I believe it's an artists responsibility to push ourselves and evolve the culture. I am inspired by the artists around me, and artists with long standing careers who always find new ways to express themselves while maintaining a signature. I've been writing and composing songs for 15 years now, so challenging myself to progress has always been apart of my journey. I wouldn't want to disappoint myself or my listeners by being stagnant or caping my creativity. 

Does your relationship with technology ever fluctuate between trust or healthy skepticism? 

All the time. I am extremely excited by the possibilities technology can provide for people around the world. I think the problem, and what makes me skeptical, is that toxic power dynamics influence how people use these tools. 

What human values do you consider fundamental for the future?

Forgiveness is a major component missing in our cultural dialogue. It is easy to place blame on others & ourselves, but without forgiveness, we allow resentment and negativity to thrive. We should accept that we are going to make mistakes that garner hurt & disappointment. If forgiveness were more prominent in our communication, I think we'd see less people in denial or beating themselves up for doing so. 

Where do you go or what do you do to recollect yourself? 

I like to carry a journal everywhere I go. Free writing helps me understand my thoughts better and it calms me down if I ever feel overwhelmed. I also love going on my roof top or my fire escape to get fresh air.

What's the most incredible thing that happened to you this year? 

The release party for my latest single LET ME GO was a huge moment for me. After dropping out of college, that moment was the closest I've felt to a graduation. I had friends & family supporting me and celebrating all the hard work I had put into my career so far. Getting featured in Vogue a few days later was also really affirming. 

@xhosamusic

Originally published in IN #6, Fall 2017

 
MusicIsis MarshallIN #6, Xhosa