( Roxiny Rox-E-n-E) started life as a third culture kid, a U.S. Military/diplomat globe-trotting daughter from the Dominican Republic who grew up in Europe. Her love of music led to an audition in Miami, and she was selected from a field of 500 other people by a major label representative and whisked away to New York in one of the last of the bigger record deals for new artists. She was put up in a swanky apartment and became part of the group Jzabehl, living the life, touring, and being produced by Fernando Garibay (Lady Gaga, Enrique Iglesias, U2). Three months later the President of Sony was fired – and Roxiny was adrift. That’s not a bad thing – she developed her style and flavor independently of the big label, and together with her filmmaker boyfriend Shan Nicholson, have produced some amazing videos for her songs that have been created with her own flair. The latest, “Hero,” is an anthem for women empowerment.
AMFM: WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING SIGNED TO A MAJOR LABEL THEN TRANSITIONING TO INDIE ARTIST?
Roxiny I am very happy it all worked out the way it did. When I signed with Sony, when you walk into a situation with a major, because the labels were still so powerful – you walk in there with your own image and you come out as someone completely different. That’s kind of what happened to me. I wasn’t really pleased with the music we were doing, but I was constantly writing, and it was helping me become a better writer. I’m happy that it didn’t become this huge beast of a project that everyone was pushing for, because I would have ultimately been somebody to the world that I really wasn’t. So the rug got pulled out from under us. But you learn the most in life from the most challenging and unpleasant experiences. That was definitely what it was for me. I went from super swank apartment to living deep in Bed Stuy (Bedford-Stuyvesant, NY) where I could hear gun shots at night. I mean, it was a nice apartment, but it was still Bed Stuy. In an instant everything changed, and I had to learn how to bartend, how to manage my own project, produce my own music, edit my videos, manage my own label, and how to do all this grind, in order to fight for my music. That’s a priceless experience to me. Everything I had to go through is part of the growth process. That’s what it is about. When I was signed to Sony, I was very focused on the prize, and the prize alone, but somewhere along the way, I realized, it’s all about the journey and how you live it.
AMFM: LETS TALK ABOUT STYLE AND INFLUENCE
Roxiny If Frida Kahlo, my favorite artist and Isabel Allende, my favorite author, had a musical child, that would be the genre. For now, I call it experimental femme pop. I was raised all over the world, so many things seep into your being when you grow up touched by so many different cultures and movements. Overall, my music definitely has a pop sensibility, and I know that. It’s from feelings, the energy around me from where I live in New York. There’s an element of spiritualism & definitely something very feminine about it. I’m working between that world of reality and mysticism – dreams.
THAT’S WHAT MUSIC IS – IT’S A LINK BETWEEN OUR PHYSICAL SELVES AND THE SUPERNATURAL. WHY ELSE WOULD IT MOVE US SO.
Roxiny ( Absolutely! You’re so right. You are definitely channeling something. When I write a song sometimes the hair stands up on my skin. There’s a faucet somewhere that’s pushing through you. I think every artist can relate to this, it’s something that is truly beyond you. Artists are sensitive, and we become receptive to a lot of things around us. Music is my form of magic. I come from a long line of fierce and highly intuitive women who speak of their dreams as if it was a language of it’s own, which is why magical realism has always felt like such a natural place for me. My first EP was called QOYA, the name given to the Incan queens who were honored for the wisdom & intuition they passed on to other women, as well as their connection to nature & the cycles of the moon. “Hero,” the first song from my second EP speaks to the masculine and feminine energy in all of us. As I started writing the lyrics, the song itself challenged me to express what we as women perceive to be a HERO. I think a HERO should be more of a Paulo Coehlo style warrior of the light- intuitive, compassionate, thoughtful. Can you imagine what a balanced and beautiful world this could be if we encouraged our men to be that kind of Hero? I constantly play with these themes- the feminine, masculine, duplicity. Maybe because it’s something I’ve had to face & confront within myself. Even as a child, I felt like I always had to fight, and as a girl, I felt being equal to men, meant rejecting my feminine, never showing emotion so I could be tough, be a leader, and get respect. I have a very different perspective these days. I honor everything that’s fiercely & beautifully feminine about me. I also love what’s masculine about me. Balance is really the key. These energies reside in all of us.
“Strength is more a skill of oracles than brutes” – HERO by Roxiny HERO: Roxiny’s Hero comes to us with an earthy darkness she promises to keep throughout her 2nd EP scheduled for release early summer 2014. Heady, spiritual, exploring new textures with every song, unfolding like some sort of beautiful ritual. The video for Hero, directed by Shan Nicholson, was shot in the Dominican Republic, Roxiny’s country of origin and backdrop to most of her visual work. This time, at night, in the ocean. The song speaks to a new kind of hero, one whose strength comes from intuition rather than force. Hero swells and stretches from deeply vulnerable to fiercely unapologetic.