Canadian artist Xana takes a look back on past relationships in her new single “babyblue” and reminisces on what once was.
Stream: “Babyblue” – Xana
Canadian pop artist Xana has a knack for creating whimsical worlds for her listeners, keeping them truly beholden to everything she does. Her latest single “babyblue” is evident of just that, with the Victoria born, Vancouver based artist allowing people deeper into her universe, as she opens up about some of her honest, and intimate thoughts. It’s her authenticity and vulnerability that allows her to connect with her fans, giving raw and relatable material through storytelling lyricism and themes of female empowerment, LGBTQ romance and the everyday experiences of navigating life.
“babyblue” specifically touches on fading relationships, in particular with those of old childhood friends. Xana speaks about the passage of time and how as we get older, the things that we once held so close to us, gradually drift away.
Xana shares, “It’s about the anxiety that comes with the passage of time, looking back on those imperative teenage years with nostalgia and longing, hoping that everyone who you loved, who shaped and held you in your youth, is doing alright out there without you.”
The emotional track is a tear-jerker, certain to get you in your feels. Her vocals are clear and extremely real, mirroring the idea that she is reading pages directly from her journal.
Atwood Magazine spoke to Xana about the new single, how she copes with anxiety and her upcoming plans.
:: connect with Xana here ::
A CONVERSATION WITH XANA
Atwood Magazine: Firstly, congratulations on the release of your new single “babyblue.” The song details the passage of time and how we naturally drift from our childhood friendships. Was there a specific situation that inspired you to write this song?
Xana: It wasn’t just one situation, I think it was an accumulation of many, plus spending a lot of time looking around at my life and reflecting on what has changed, where I was at that moment and where I wanted to be. I found myself thinking a lot about those childhood/teenagehood friendships and how we’re all grown ups now and just how weird that is to think about. There are so many chapters we’ll never be able to get back to, and they may not be completely lost, but they’re different now. I also experience quite a bit of anxiety around the passage of time, growing up and things being here one moment and gone the next, and although I’m slowly making peace with it, when I wrote this song those concepts were constantly on my mind. Birthdays have been a lot these past few years. But those feelings just went hand in hand with missing my friends who had moved away or I’d drifted apart from.
How have you dealt with the anxiety you experience surrounding this topic and are there any tips you would give to readers who are suffering similarly.
Xana: For myself, making music/noise out of my anxieties is like making the pill easier to swallow. Artistic expression makes the struggles feel worth it, like the idea of walking away with something tangible and positive that came from the nights I spent laying awake freaking out about growing up makes it easier to put to rest. It’s a closure thing, I suppose. But I think an important thing to remember is that we’re always going to look back and miss something or someone, and for that reason it’s so important to be as present as we can to soak up everything around us and enjoy where we are right now in life. I’ve been a lot more mindful of that since writing “babyblue” and it’s helped so much. Tell your friends you love them and you’re happy you met. Savor this moment as much as you can, so you can relish in it later.
Your music often explores themes of LGBTQ romance and female empowerment. How do these themes intersect with the narrative of “babyblue,” and what message or experience are you trying to convey to your listeners through this single?
Xana: Someone commented that “babyblue” sounded a bit too homoerotic to be about platonic friendships, and that made me laugh because I love my friends so much that sometimes the lines get blurred, and “babyblue” is a mix of platonic and romantic relationships/friendships but regardless, it does feel like a breakup song. Friendship breakups are a different kind of breakup demon. I love the line `Tell me how it feels now that you got my youth in the back of your closet, think of me with my face in your locket’ because it perfectly encapsulates those friendships that nearly cross the queer bridge to romance land but not quite. I think it’s so common and relatable for queer kids to have friendships like that. They weren’t quite more, but they weren’t less either. Now we keep them in lockets and closets and hope their life’s alright without us.
The track is very emotional and honest. Do you feel it was cathartic to write and would you say you often use songwriting as a form of therapy?
Xana: “babyblue” was definitely healing to write. I finally found a place to put those feelings and anxieties, and that’s usually how writing music feels for me. I find a place to put it down, I can visit it and feel it when I need to, but I don’t always have to carry it when I don’t need to. And performing it live is a whole other kind of therapy. I feel like my entire body is bursting at the seams while I sing this song. That feeling is where the heavy healing kicks in. I probably turn to songwriting as therapy more than actual therapy, which I’m sure will catch up for me one day but so far so good baby!
You’ve mentioned how “babyblue” takes a much more polished sound in comparison to your album, Tantrums. Do you see future releases going in a certain direction and can you give us any insight on what we might be able to expect?
Xana: I have a very clear vision for what the next album will sound and look like, and “babyblue” was a baby step in that direction, but it goes way beyond that. Every song I make feels like I get better and better at it, which is exciting cause I’m so obsessed with everything I’m creating right now, but also so curious as to where that will lead me after. It’s an ever unraveling journey of growth and exploration. I’m definitely chasing that “bursting at the seams” feeling though. I know what i like, and I know what my listeners like, and I know what they WILL like, even if they don’t yet know that they like it. Buckle up, is all I’m saying.
You worked with producers Liam Moes and Shane Stephenson on “babyblue” and the track even features a snippet of Moes’ dog barking. Can you tell us more about the behind the scenes of creating this track and the collaboration with your producers?
Xana: I love working with them so much. We have such a magical flow and we’re constantly pushing and supporting each other to take things to the next level. We first started working on babyblue during a week-long session shortly after Tantrums came out. We were so happy with that album and with how the release was going, that we couldn’t wait to get back in the studio and start creating again. I was still living on Vancouver Island at the time, and they came over and we set up a little makeshift studio in my cabin and started banging out demos for the next album, and “babyblue.” Liam’s puppy Luna, an adorable goldendoodle, came to “help us out” for a couple of days. She was more of a distraction than a help, she’s an attention suck just like me, but we made it work. She kept whining and barking for our attention so someone finally said “Record her! babyblue feat. Luna”, and she made the cut! A lot of that session specifically was going around my house and yard and recording samples of us making all sorts of noise with household objects, industrial tools, my voice, and our pets. Then we turn them into crazy sounds for a unique element to the production. I think I have some recordings of my cat Billie’s meows somewhere, so keep an ear out for his guest appearance one day!
You’re based in Vancouver, Canada. Are there any other local artists that you think we should check out?
Xana: My buddy Adam Mah has his debut album “Year of the Dog” coming out later this June which I had the pleasure of joining in on some gang vocals for a few of the songs. That was a lot of fun and I can’t wait for his music to hit more ears. I’ve also recently met a gal named Kate Yahn who is a phenomenal vocalist and at the beginning of what I feel will be a very exciting journey. Show them some love!
If “babyblue” were a flavor of ice cream, what would it be, and why?
Xana: Mint Chocolate Chip. I don’t even like mint chocolate chip, but I used to order it when I was with my friends because it’s what they liked, and I wanted to belong with them. Now Mint Chocolate Chip just reminds me of being a kid in the summer with people who I thought were the absolute coolest, even if they had terrible taste in ice cream.
Lastly, what’s next for Xana? Can we expect more music, or any live shows?
Xana: More music is always in the works, but there are some really exciting shows coming up that I can’t wait to talk about more. So soon!!! Like, this year soon.`
:: connect with Xana here ::
Stream: “Babyblue” – Xana
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