vōx (pronounced “wokes,” the Latin word for “voice”) is an LA-based singer, songwriter, and producer examining themes surrounding identity, the body, and spirituality through her ethereal and deeply evocative brand of alt-pop. She first started making waves with a series of covers in the early mid-2010s – including her own rendition of Kendrick Lamar’s ‘I’ featuring producer and one half of 100 gecs, Dylan Brady – but it wasn’t until 2017, with the release of her aptly titled first EP, that the project was fully born. Imbued with a sense of mystique but anchored in vulnerability, vōx continued exploring different facets of her artistic persona with 2019’s celestial I Am Not a God, which pushed her sound in an even more brooding direction that recalled the intimate, forward-thinking pop of contemporaries like Billie Eilish and FKA twigs. Just last month, she returned with her most confident collection of songs yet, This Body, in which she confronts ideas of self-worth and finds new ways to reclaim her physicality. While songs like ‘How Do I Connect to the Spirits?’ and ‘Too Much, Give Up’ expose personal insecurities by asking questions about the nature of the self (“How do I face my ancestors?” “Am I growing up/ Or growing deeper into myself?”), the EP is bookended by two of her most empowering songs to date: the spellbinding ‘Be Bigger’ is an anthem of bodily self-acceptance, while the title track boldly asserts her own presence as she repeats, “I don’t want to disappear/ But I don’t need your eyes to see me,” before closing off the record with a hymn-like affirmation: “This thing is my thing/ This body is my body.”
We caught up with vōx for this edition of our Artist Spotlight series, where we showcase up-and-coming artists and give them a chance to talk about their music.
What sparked your interest in songwriting?
My upbringing was very emotionally repressed so all my feelings felt very trapped inside. They still do sometimes! Songwriting was a way for me to express what felt I couldn’t say out loud. Even from a young age I lived for music. I listened endlessly. When I was around 12 or 13 I was writing poetry, and it was a natural progression from there turning my poems into songs.
How do you feel your approach has evolved since self-releasing your first singles?
My focus is much more on creating a world now. The song is only one piece of the puzzle. I want the photos, the videos, the words, the makeup & styling, the creative direction, the performance, etc to serve a purpose and to tell a more complete story. I try to find surprising ways that my fans can interact with the songs too, like the instagram face filters I released with my last EP.
What was the inspiration for your new EP, This Body?
I wanted to explore my connection to my physical body with this EP. I realized how disconnected I was between my mind, my spirit, and my body. I had been through sexual trauma and to cope, I disassociated. This exploration was for myself as much as it was for the listener. I am the listener! I think it’s such a universal feeling; floating outside yourself, feeling like things aren’t quite tangible, wanting to escape where you are or who you are. The EP explores the different angles of this, including the empowering. ‘Be Bigger’ is an anthem about the beauty of reconnecting, of taking up the space you deserve in the body that deserves all of you. ‘This Body’ is about putting yourself first, about ownership, boundaries and self care.
What sort of music were you listening to while writing the project?
I wrote the project over a span of quite a few years actually. Some of the songs were written in 2016 and 2017 and others in 2019. I went into the studio with Alexander Vincent in Toronto November 2019 to finish the EP. At that time, I was mostly listening to Diana Gordon, Allie X, Tanerélle, Kacy Hill, Rosalía, FKA Twigs, Col3trane, Jada.
What was your favourite track to record, and why?
I really enjoyed working on the production with Alexander Vincent for this EP, because I feel like we each stepped outside our comfort zones. I think ‘This Body’ in particular was such a surreal song to record. We worked on that one primarily in LA, and we basically finished it in one session in December 2018. That song started the vibes for the whole EP almost an entire year before we worked on the other tracks!
What do you hope listeners take away from these songs, and the vōx project as a whole?
I hope they take away love, freedom, expression, and hope. I want my listeners to know: you are perfect just as you are, wherever you are on your journey. I’ve been in those tough places. I’ve struggled with depression, anxiety, and low self worth. Know that it gets better if you stick in there. You are loved. You are needed.
What’s next for you?
Next is always something new, something that pushes my boundaries and my expression. I’m making new songs that I’m really excited about. I’m planning new visuals. I’m plotting new magic. I hope I can perform again next year face to face with my fans. I miss them!
This Body EP is out now.