My name is Xandra. I was born and raised in California, USA. I grew up in the Owens Valley, a desert between two mountain ranges, and I have sand in my blood. I carry the space of that place around with me wherever I go (it exists inside my ribcage). The dust and the sage brush and the coyotes have informed every consequent breath, and to this day, I feel relieved when it rains.
I grew up in a house of bookshelves and animals. There was also a piano. My father is dark and passionate and pragmatic. My mother is moral and charming and short. They are tremendous people, and they've never done me wrong. My big brother and I are lucky to have parents so unapologetically themselves.
My parents are responsible for my first tastes of music. My Dad and I would ride into town with "BB King's Greatest Hits" playing on the tape deck. Or Ella Fitzgerald. Or John Lee Hooker. Or Mozart. My mom fancied Simon & Garfunkel and Madonna. I was and continue to be all over the map in terms of love and influence. My first CD was Ace of Base, "The Sign." No regrets.
I was mostly a freak in high school and moved to San Francisco to be with my tribe and "go to college." I didn't start playing guitar until I was 20, and never had the chutzpah to get up in front of a crowd and sing until 21 or so. I remember the first time. It was at 16th & Mission poetry night, every Thursday from 9pm-midnight. It's a no mic, no order, no bullshit kind of event. And I blindfolded myself because I was so terrified to look at anyone. I found my voice on that street corner. I owe them my soul for their kindness.
I started a band in San Francisco and played and even toured with them for some 4 years. We released 2 albums and were well on our way to being "working musicians." But it was bitter for me. I hated the ego of it all. I was constantly being made to feel like I wasn't a good enough musician to survive in that world, because I didn't know theory, because I had my own opinions about what music should sound like. Because I was a woman in a man’s game. I was beaten down by the criticisms and derived no joy anymore from playing with my band.
So I quit. And part of me died. And I didn't touch my guitar for two years. The flame within me was barely alive, and I all but forbid myself to ever play again. Music is a very serious business for me. It affects me viscerally, spiritually. And I couldn't even sing cause it hurt me so bad.
And from this dark place, a color permeated me. I was called by God (or something) to leave my home, and explore a life outside of the only world I'd ever known.
I moved to Japan. And in retrospect, I see that I was supposed to move here. Because I met artists and musicians here who changed me, and changed my life, and inspired me to sing and play and write music and make films and take pictures. I am a musician and you cannot take my song from me without killing me. And for the rest of my days, however many they number, I will live only to create art and music, and work to make the people of the world feel if but a fleeting moment of joy from music/film. This is my purpose. And I can't think of anything I'd rather do with my time on this earth than to make other people feel something.
My name is Xandra. I am a musician, a song-writer, a filmmaker and a story-teller.
Thank you for your love and support, and please keep in touch.
My utmost thanks,