Q&A With Musician Shilxh
By Luis Arjona
Conversation By: Luis Arjona Photos Via Shlixh
Corpus Christi, Texas is full of surprises. Once a hub for attracting talent, the city is a pool of talent waiting to be discovered. The Coastal Bend offers a slate of impressive alumni who have gone on to do wonderful work. However, let us not forget about the young talent that is still here or around the area working to make a name for themselves. The community is growing exponentially with a roster that boasts notable talent. Scrolling through Twitter, I stumble upon an interview retweeted by none other than El Dusty. The interview talks about San Antonio artist Heartless the Monster's new track "Guava," in collaboration with Corpus Christi native Shlixh. I gave it a listen. Next thing I know, I accidentally had it on loop for thirty minutes. The song is a wonderful summer hit that (I will probably receive flack for this take) may give "Watermelon Sugar" a run for its money.
Shilxh is a 22-year-old singer-songwriter from Corpus Christi, Texas. After going down a rabbit hole of her work, Shilxh boasts a potent mix of indie-pop and R&B. Glimpses of soft rock pour through as her strong yet calming voice has the same effect as when I listen to "More" by IAMDDB. ~ Chills ~
In 2017 she set out to expand her work as a singer-songwriter by moving to Austin, Texas. Forming a band and releasing her first album, It's Okay. Shlixh is working on more music, collaborating with musicians in the Texas music scene, and honing her craft.
Luis: So, thank you again for agreeing to do this interview! I want to begin by seeing how you are doing. You are based out of Austin, Texas. How has the area been treating you?
- Shilxh: Absolutely, thank you for letting me be a part of this! Yes, I am living in Austin, Texas, and I'm loving it!. I spend every other day either on Lady Bird lake (respectably distanced, of course) or jamming music with some close friends. It's been lovely for my soul to be back in this environment despite the troubling and unforeseeable times. I feel incredibly grateful to be alive and still doing what I love alongside so many amazing artists.
I stumbled upon your interview regarding your new song, "Guava." First off, what a fun track. It has led me down a rabbit hole of your entire body of work, and I must say you have a lot of talent. What or who do you credit for helping or inspiring your work?
- Thank you! That means a lot to me. I love that song—so much fun to make. I'd easily credit my musical influence to my parents. I grew up watching them sing and play guitar in church. In fact, they met in church. They'd sing cover songs and originals they had written together at coffee shops for fun. My sisters all know how to sing too, so music and creativity just runs in my family. We would sing together sometimes and do three-part harmonies while my dad strummed away. As far as artists that I look up to, I'd say Sade is a HUGE inspiration to me, Amy Winehouse (duh), and FKA Twigs.
I see you have worked with Kinder and Quentin Arispe, a couple of talented artists from Corpus Christi. Since being back, I have noticed a growing collective of young people pushing themselves and their craft. Are there any other artists from the area you would like to work with or shout out?
- Corpus Christi holds so much talent, and the potential is crazy. The amount of creativity being pushed out through art, music, photography, and fashion is seriously so heartwarming and inspirational. It gives our city the vision that we don't have to settle for an ordinary profession. You can truly accomplish what you wish to in any environment. I'm so happy to see Corpus continue to support it. Moniq is a local artist that I'd love to collaborate with. She is an angel with a beautiful voice and has so much going for her! Check out her music on Spotify!
How long have you been making music? What got you started?
- I've been making music for about 3 years now. But I've been singing legitimately for as long as I can remember. I did choir and theatre in school and sang continuously in my free time. However, I never knew that I'd end up seriously pursuing making music. I think I got caught up in the pressure of what was expected, along with watching all of my peers choose which college they wanted to go to. I ended up taking a gap year, telling my parents I needed time to figure out what my path was. However, I didn't apply to college because, in my heart, I knew it was not the time, nor did I feel that I'd genuinely be happy there. I ended up thankfully meeting my now dear friend, producer, and bandmate, Sully, with whom I moved to Austin with. We eventually ended up recording what would be my first project, "It's Okay." Since then, I've collaborated with a few talented artists. My love for music and my art has only continued to bloom and flourish. I don't know where I'd be without singing, and I'm so grateful I was led to realize what I was meant to do with this lifetime. I can't wait to keep offering songs and good vibrations to open hearts.
I don't know if you are a karaoke person, but have you ever surprised people at a bar before?
- This question gave me flashbacks! I actually have not had the opportunity to sing karaoke here in Austin, nor am I the type to really indulge in it (those who know me know I get really nervous before going on any stage). However, I have sung a couple of times in Corpus at the Surf Club and other places downtown. Some of the bar-goers will come up and request another one or tell me I should make music. I usually either plug myself or say, "I'll think about it," haha.
What were you reading, listening to, or watching while working on Guava?
- I actually wrote my verse while Kinder was working on the beat in the studio! Heartless wanted a summer hit, beach-party vibe, and we definitely got there. Once I heard Heartless' rap verse on that song, I knew exactly where I wanted to go with it. I started messing with different melodies I was hearing and ended up writing a kind of response to his verse. It was such a fun summery vibe in that room, I was so hyped for it.
How have you been staying busy or working towards a goal during quarantine?
- I've definitely learned to let go of the pull to do something when we are doing nothing. I already enjoy my solitude as it is, so as a result being alone can be really good for my well-being and overall state of mind. Of course, however, I have been trying to keep active, spending time paddle boarding, writing, and working on some surprise projects coming soon. I'm so grateful to have the privilege of continuing to work on what I love during these times. It truly brings in the perspective of all the abundance right in front of me.
Would you say the pandemic has helped with focusing on your craft?
- I've been able to hone in on my craft so much more this year. After taking the time to refocus my attention on my well-being and the well-being of my community, I've been able to apply myself to music differently. It's my offering, and it always has been. It's not about the messenger; it is genuinely about the message for me. I think artists nowadays get so caught up in the idolization and fame that comes with the music industry. That's precisely what I'm letting go of. The attention and invasion of privacy that comes with allowing your art to be shared have always scared me. I want to preserve my music and keep it untainted and pure. I don't ever want to feel like what I'm singing isn't true. This introspective time has elevated that mentality in my life even more. It has forced me to change my mentality and who I surround myself with, which is essential. Your relationships (professional or not) have such a significant effect on your energy and state of mind. Protect yourself and your art like it's gold.
Do you have any projects currently on your docket that we can expect soon?
- That, I absolutely do! I have an exciting single coming soon alongside some long-awaited surprises in the works. My band and I are recording a live version of my debut single "Faces and Names" coming soon as well! Heartless the Monster and I are also working on an album together currently. We plan to drop singles featured from the album leading up to its release. Much more, I can't mention on the way, so buckle up!
Whose work is currently on your radar?
- I'm so glad you asked this. I'm OBSESSED with Giveon right now. His voice is so smooth and low, it's fantastic. Also, "Baby Powder" by Jenevieve is on my repeat playlist on Spotify. So fire.
Can we expect a hometown show once the pandemic is over?
- Without a doubt. A hometown show in Corpus would be so beyond special for me. It's something I've been dreaming of for a long time. I cannot wait for that day.
Is there anything else you'd like to plug?
- Yes! Please follow me on Spotify if you haven't already. All you gotta search for is "shilxh," and you'll find me. (f you don't use that platform, I'm on Apple music and more!) I'm also on Instagram: @_shilxh. You can follow me there to stay up to date regarding my art, upcoming releases, etc. Thank you if you already do!
Apple Music: Shlixh