Music

Interview: XYLØ on her Debut Solo EP ‘Pretty Sad’ and Battles With Mental Health

Paige Duddy, better known as XYLØ, has chosen to pursue her solo career after many years of a successful partnership with her brother Chase. The sibling duo found lots of success in their music, most notably their single “America”, and “Setting Fires”, which was written with The Chainsmokers.
“Pretty Sad” is Paige’s first EP as a solo artist and tackles many heavy issues, including her firsthand experience witnessing a gun shooting and her battle with depression. I sat down with Paige to find out more about “Pretty Sad” and the inspiration behind her recent music.

Courtesy of @xylo

Could you talk a little about the inspiration behind your solo EP, “Pretty Sad”?  

After I released a few singles over the summer I was ready for a new era. I booked a trip to London to write and visit friends and wanted to get a bunch of new material. I wanted the vibe to be moody, cold, honest and ME. I just wanted to walk away from this period of writing with music that fed my soul and wasn’t written to please anyone else but myself. The writing went so well, and I was so in love with the songs that, I had to release a new body of work. So I finished up the songs, made a website with artwork, the stories behind the songs and their lyrics and I sent it to my team and told them this is what I was going to put out next.

Do you have a favourite track on the EP? Or would that be like asking you to chose your favourite child?  

Yes, it’s honestly hard for me to pick a favourite. I think about which song I like the least of which is the weaker one and I genuinely don’t have one haha. I’m really happy with how they all fit next to one another.

You’ve been pretty open about your experiences with mental illness, how has that affected, or inspired, your music?

Its cheesy as fuck but I think pain is art. I find it a lot easier to write from the heart when I’m going through something. Whether that’s good or bad. I feel completely comfortable talking about it because the cool thing about our world today is that people are constantly sharing their struggles with one another and there’s always going to be someone out there that can relate to what you’re going through. Why not talk about it and remind people it’s not weird in the slightest to feel weird? I still struggle with it on a daily basis. But luckily I have great friends and family who struggle with it as well and I can always turn to them when I feel really shit.

What’s the overall message that you want fans to take away from your EP?

I want them to know that we are all the same no matter how great things appear on our page. We all struggle, we all want to be loved and need validation. Life is hard but that’s LIFE and that’s what makes it beautiful. I hope they can connect to me and get to know me as a human more.

“Pretty sad” is your first solo EP, how was this writing process different from your experience in the past?

This time the music is 100% me. I was able to be involved in every aspect of creating it. I didn’t have to sing someone else’s story. It’s mine and it’s what I’m going through as a young woman. My voice can finally be heard for real this time!

Courtesy of @xylo

How, if at all, has your music style changed from when you first started making music?

I think it was always working its way to a more polished pop sound since “Get Closer”, “I Still Wait For You”, and “Alive”. I am really influenced by pop music so my music will always have that feeling. I don’t really like to put stuff in a box any more because everything is pop these days. I’m just going to make what sounds cool and what I like. Some of it might sound alternative, some might sound dancer, but I think that’s awesome.

Who is your biggest inspiration, in music or in life?

My grandfather 100% is my biggest inspiration. He is a professional jazz drummer and is the reason me and anyone in my family decided to pursue music. He came from Connecticut to LA with his wife and 4 children with no money, to pursue a career as a drummer and with so much drive and dedication to his craft he became a widely successful musician. I love him so much!

Has there ever been a time when you doubted pursuing a career in music? If so, what inspired you to keep going?

Yes, I have 100% thought about it, but I suck at everything else lol. I have an amazing fanbase and there are people who genuinely connect to my music so that is all the motivation I need to keep going

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing? What other things are you passionate about?

Maybe I would start a clothing line or do something in fashion. I also am passionate about dogs!

Working with them would be awesome. If I could live on a ranch and rescue hundreds of dogs I would.

What moment in your career so far has left you the most satisfied or proud?

Selling out shows is always an amazing feeling. Releasing this EP is going to be up there. I’ve gone through a lot to get to this point of releasing my first solo body of work and I couldn’t be happier that it’s finally here.

What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to do or obstacle you’ve had to overcome in the music industry?

It was really difficult when my brother and I decided to part ways and I had to announce we were cancelling our first headline North American tour. That sucked but I’m so happy to be playing shows again and releasing music!

If you could give young aspiring artists one piece of advice, what would it be?  

Trust your gut and just be YOU and nobody else. If you want it enough, you’ll get it.

Any last thoughts?

Stream “Pretty Sad”. Lots of love. Thank you for reading.

 

You can follow XYLØ on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Spotify, and Apple Music

Feature Image courtesy of @xylø

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