Toronto native X.ARI is a total powerhouse when it comes to her kickass-but-still-danceable anthems – but she’s not just an inspiration through the microphone. X.ARI is using her platform to fight the stigma around mental health, and providing those struggling with mental health issues with reliable resources to reach out to. Plenty of her show proceeds go to organizations working to empower youth on how to take care of their mental health, and she’s launched campaigns to raise awareness that are incorporated into her music. Not to mention she has a new EP coming out next week, in which we can expect “honestly and truth,” and “light in dark times.”
I chatted with X.ARI over email about her inspirations, fresh single ‘Vapors,’ and of even further about her mental health advocacy.
Q: What made you want to start making music?
Music has always been a pillar for me to lean on. It calms me down, lifts me up, it allows me to cry when I need to. It’s my source for healing. I write and share my story with others with the hope that my music will help people find a healthy way to channel their own negative energy into something positive.
Q: Your single ‘Vapors’ was just released in January, and it’s pretty badass. What was some of your inspiration behind it?
‘Vapors’ is about the addictiveness of unhealthy relationships and the toll they can take on you. The lyrics compare a dysfunctional relationship to a burning cigarette, which can be short lived and damaging. We all have the power within us to make wise choices.
Justin Gray (producer/co-writer) and I wrote it quite organically together. It was the first song we ever wrote together and he gave me a lot of freedom to be myself and write from my heart.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about your Pain Into Power Campaign, and why you felt it was important to launch?
The ‘Pain Into Power’ Campaign is dedicated to mental health awareness. It consists of my 2nd EP Dis-Order and a short film, titled ‘Grace’, written & directed by Dan Abramovici (Ben’s at Home, now on Netflix). I separate the word ‘dis-order’ because I believe disorders are ‘disorganized order’ and that we can calm the chaos within ourselves with a lot of self-work, support, unconditional love and consistency. I am by no means a medical professional, but I’ve been navigating through my mental health challenges, the ups and downs, by not allowing medical labels to define or limit me from achieving my goals. If I am going through mental health challenges, so are other people in the world. I believe we wouldn’t be in the world unless we were meant to be in it and my goal is to connect with people who may feel lost at times – no one is alone.
I believe disorders are ‘disorganized order’ and that we can calm the chaos within ourselves with a lot of self-work, support, unconditional love and consistency.
Q: You’re a pretty huge advocate for mental health, and are known for donating a significant amount of your show proceeds to Jack.org. What made you choose Jack.Org opposed to another mental health organization?
Sometimes it’s hard to access the help we may need because of resources available or because of fear to ask for help when we need it most. That’s why I donate to Jack.Org. They are the only Canadian charity training and empowering youth leaders to revolutionize mental health. Jack.Org is ensuring young people in Canada take care of their mental health and get the help they deserve, when they need it. When I was in high school I didn’t have healthy coping techniques and I am doing my best to give what I needed then to teens who need it now so they can create a brighter future for the world.
Q: Do you have any advice or support you could give to those struggling with mental health issues?
Be kind to yourself when you are going through a difficult time and make taking care of your mental health a top priority. Also, be kind to others because everyone is going through something. Believe in yourself and know that you will survive and thrive too!
I created a Self Care Tips page on my website as a resource for anyone who is looking for extra support. There are so many amazing resources available worldwide, so I decided to create these self-care tips for easier access to many different resources and therapy modalities.
Q: Your EP Dis-Order will be out July 19, what can listeners expect from it?
Honesty and my truth. Whether that truth comes from a place of tragedy or hope, I create music to find light in dark times.
Dis-Order is available everywhere starting next Friday. Listen to it on Spotify.