Roots

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,
xandra