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Hey! I’m Zxena. I’m a 23-year-old dark pop singer and songwriter. I grew up in Fresno, California and have lived in Los Angeles when I was 21. Since I was a pre-teen, I’ve immersed myself in music. From voice and guitar lessons to teaching myself how to play piano, I’ve done all I can to fill my life with music and meet my potential as a musician.

The Beginning of My Career

I started my musical journey when I was 12. I took voice lessons for over eight years at The Voice Shop in Fresno. Singing started off as a fun hobby. I figured since I had a good voice, I should expand that talent with proper training and guidance. After my first year of lessons, I knew singing was my passion. It wasn’t until my first live performance at The Big Fresno Fair that I decided to pursue a career in the music industry.

At 15, I realized that learning an instrument would be beneficial to my musicianship. My first instrument was my uncle’s acoustic guitar. I took guitar lessons with my voice coach and learned the basics from her. After I got more comfortable with playing the guitar, I decided to learn the basics of the keyboard. Additionally, I continued working on my performance skills by performing in talent shows, school rallies, competitions around the valley and at local fairs.

When I was 19, I started building my fan base and social media following. I started posting covers and they gained traction. Several Instagram accounts that celebrated talented, upcoming singers reposted my videos. Just within the first year, I gained over 5,000 followers on Instagram.

In that same year, I auditioned for NBC’s The Voice, a popular singing competition tv show with well-known singers who act as vocal coaches for contestants. Although I did not get a callback, auditioning for The Voice was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned what I could have done better in my audition videos and I was better prepared for my career as a singer.

Finding My Sonic Identity

After that, I started recording my own music. Starting in 2018, I made monthly trips down to LA to work with Ryan Stockbridge, a producer based in North Hollywood. Working with Ryan allowed me to truly start exploring my sonic identity. Ryan helped me discover my niche in the pop music world—dark pop.

“What is dark pop?” you may ask. Well, it’s a relatively new subgenre of pop music. Dark pop has catchy melodies just like normal pop. But it’s written in minor keys, and that gives it a slightly dissonant and moody feel. Some examples of dark pop singers who I look up to are Bebe Rexha, Dua Lipa, and Halsey.

Knowing who I was as a musician guided me in the process of writing and recording my first official songs. I released my debut single, “Get Enough,” on July 13th, 2018. “Get Enough” received nothing but praise. My following singles, “Never Ever,” “Crash,” and, “Incredible,” all received positive responses as well.

When I was 21, I took the next step in my career. I moved to LA in August 2019. I felt like it was time to make the move and I had enough experience and music to be taken seriously. Since I moved, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with more singers, songwriters, and producers. For example, I was featured on “Deserved,” by Scro, which was my first EDM collaboration.

My Vision and How I Bring It to Life

More importantly though, I’ve come to a clear understanding of what my vision is as a musician. My main goal as a singer is to uplift others with my music. I believe that music is one of the world’s greatest medicines, both to consume and create. Listening to and creating music has gotten me through dark times and made the brighter ones even better. I want my music to comfort and heal other people and heighten their joy.

Writing is my favorite kind of therapy. Sometimes it’s the only way I can find the words to say what I truly feel, and sometimes my friends/co-writers find those words for me. I love in-person sessions, but with the pandemic, I’ve had to collaborate over Zoom and voice memos over text. However, I’m still creating art that I enjoy and find comfort in, and I think others will too.

I’ve come a long way on my journey as a singer, and I still have a lot to go. But I’m so excited for what’s to come and that you’ll be on this adventure with me. To stay up to date with new releases, live shows, and covers, follow me on Instagram and Twitter, @zxenamusic.

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