I discovered the work of Xylo Aria through a free master class on music production, which was nothing short of a serendipity intervention. Singer, producer and entrepreneur, Xylo Aria transcends any boundaries and is now using all her music expertise to help other women produce their own songs. She is the founder of MPW (Music Production For Women) which has a You Tube channel and a podcast in the streaming platforms.
I was immediately captivated by her artistry in songs that speak about the way we treat our planets, our animals and each other.
We talked via online call at the beginning of the lockdown about self care, the healing power of music and the fascinating world of female music production.
1_ Could you tell us a little bit of your upbringing and early music experiences?
I was born in India, so I have an Indian background and then I moved to Australia when I was about seven years old, with my family. So, we all moved together and I was in Melbourne. Three years ago I moved to the UK, I was in London, and just recently moved back to Australia actually. I moved back just before the Coronavirus. I’m a musician, I started singing when I was really young from India as well and I was taught by my grandma at first and that kind of evolved. I started with more traditional Indian music but then I got into more electronic stuff as I went along and now I’m in electronic downtempo music.
2_ How do you think music intersects with self care and do you think it can be like a therapy for the soul?
Definitely. Especially if you’re having a really tough time like emotionally and you’re going through something, I think music is such a great outlet to let go of these feelings in a new and creative way. And also, when you’re really happy, but for me it happens more often, I guess, when I’m sad and I think for a lot of others. But I think it’s a great way to express and let go of something that is a really intense time for you.
3_ Could you talk, in your catalogue of music, about some of your songs like “Paradigm”, “Awakening” and “Pig”? Did you want to do a sort of social commentary or convey a message? Can you highlight some of these songs and the process of creating them?
So I think for me, music is another medium to communicate to people. I think it’s really important to talk about things you really care about and for me a lot of that is environmental things and just how to be a little more aware as species of the world and the impact that we’re having in the world we’re living in. It’s always something that’s been in the back of my mind to talk about through my music. “Pig” was actually the first track that I released myself and produced myself, it’s about industrial meat farming, it’s about just that from the perspective of an animal. It’s pretty intense actually if you listen to the lyrics and that was kind of my commentary on that issue. Another track I released last year, it was called “Greed”, and that’s about over consumption in society today, greed essentially, and I actually have a song on my last EP called “Consumerism” which is exactly about that, just a need to consume way more that we probably need to. There are some issues that are close to my heart that I speak about when I need to.
4_ How has the Coronavirus changed your approach to art general and to life?
Well, to art, I’m a solo artist anyway but still it has become a lot more solo during this time. You are not really going out, gigging or performing in front of people so it’s a bit more disconnected, I would say, to a community. We blog but oftentimes is easy to feel very alone in the world with the lockdown and everything. I think it’s more important than ever to connect to people and reach out and talk to people that are close to you. And focusing more on deep meditation and in doing yoga and exercising every day is also healthy for sure.
5_ So, last question, I wanted you to talk about how you had the idea to create MPW and what do you intend to achieve with this community.
My big vision is for it to the first thing any woman thinks about when she wants to get into production because I want for it to be that nice and welcoming space for people to really feel like they belong. As an artist I always worked with other producers and for whatever reason it didn’t work out too well for me and I decided that I needed to produce my own music, that would be the way forward, and that felt like a very lonely process. For me it all came down to three main things, one is the teaching content that I was looking out when I was learning, it felt a little bit alienating in the sense people were moving really quickly and I didn’t really know what they were saying, they did not talk in very plain terms. Secondly, was the lack of community, I didn’t feel like I had a place where I could go and ask any questions and thirdly, the lack of visibility. I didn’t see anyone that looked like me producing music. So, with MPW it’s my aim to tackle all these three things. One of them is the teaching content, have it really conversational and easy to understand, secondly is having that really strong community where people feel comfortable to ask whatever they want to ask and feel supported in this space and the third thing is increasing visibility, so we have a podcast, we have a YouTube channel as well, where we’re increasing the amount of content by female producers. I hope that other young women coming into music production might be able to find this and see it as something they can aim to achieve.