INTERVIEW: Perth's X4nder speaks on inspirations, motivating artists and aspirations for 2022
X4nder is an ambitious 19-year-old artist from Perth, who is eager to share his passion and gift for making music. The melodic rapper and songwriter has promising potential to become a well-known name in the Australian rap, trap and R&B scene, and is already earning the spotlight on his work. X4nder is good natured, honest and speaks freely to me about the process of getting to where he is today, and what he knows the future holds for him.
“I’ve always been into music, even at a young age,” X4nder says. “You know, like, talent shows in primary school and high school? I would join them every year. I just always had confidence to do that stuff.” He explains how the genre of music he was wanting to create has changed overtime.
X4nder started off experimenting with pop music which transitioned into rock through video game influences before he heard Eminem and 50 Cent through his brother and his friends, which ultimately paved the way for his interest in rap music. “My homeboy Tom and I both used to play state soccer and we were really down to play soccer professionally, but when I started trying to make music we would freestyle during recess and lunch at school together. He was always like, ‘You know what bro, you should take [rapping] seriously.’
“Around that same time, I began getting into a lot of things with girls, talking stages and relationships and stuff. It was essentially just high school drama, you know that high school love…Heartbreak sucks but that’s just how life goes.” X4nder explains how in those moments you don’t think too deeply about the impact of these experiences on your future career, but his experiences with romantic heartache have fuelled the content for all of his releases so far.
“I would say the current discography of music I have out right now are all heartbreak songs,” he nods. “But they all have a different story, they’re not repetitive.”
X4nder explains his chosen stage name, saying ‘Xander’ is derived from his middle name Alexander and the number 4 in place of the ‘a’ represents the angel number 444.
“I see the 4 everywhere, it’s some spiritual stuff,” he continues. “I always feel like I have somebody watching over me telling me I’ll be fine. That’s how life goes, you just got to put your faith in something. I used to see it all the time during high school, even if I failed a test, I would get 44.4% or something stupid.” It’s believed that if an individual sees the angel number 444 quite often in their daily life, it means their goals and plans have been heard by the universe or a higher power and this higher power encourages you to “stay focused and finish the job”.
The young artist has big plans for his music this year, with hopes to release an EP and put together a live concert. “Since everything I have out now is sad music, I want to change up my discography. I’m making an EP for 2022 and I’m going to organise the production of a live show which will be the listening party for the EP, with supporting artists and me headlining. The EP will mainly be hype music.”
X4nder illustrates his love for performing through his words to me, saying he wishes he could host the gig as soon as possible but his desire to have the event planned out to the smallest detail to create an outstanding result is stronger. “I want to take my time to make it perfect and create something no one else has done,” he says.
The West Coast artist has an array of music set to be released this year and he claims to have a catalogue of roughly 300 new unreleased songs waiting to be enjoyed by his listeners. One song in particular, due to be released within the next couple months, will be X4nder’s first track with a full music video, directed by him.
“The track is called ‘No Pain Freestyle’, a freestyle I did during the COVID-19 lockdown. It’s on my Instagram already, but I will be properly releasing it soon. The video itself is going to be different to what everyone else is making. I want every music video of mine to have a storyline, so it’s actually like a short film.”
X4nder is determined to experiment with and learn an assortment of skills to contribute to his musical career, starting with producing, photography and short film making. “I’m trying to tap into everything create based.” He is also currently studying marketing at Curtin University, which he believes will help with branding himself as an artist.
“My biggest inspirations are Juice WRLD, XXXTENTACION and Childish Gambino,” X4nder says. “The thing I took from X and Juice is their relatability factor. That’s why they’re so loved, and it motivates me to want to make music that is relatable to people who are feeling the same way as me. With Gambino, I loved his versatility, and The Internet was my favourite album for a long while.” X4nder explains the way he was also inspired by Childish Gambino’s ability to both rap and sing, saying “Damn, I want to be able to do that.”
He also expresses a love for Tory Lanez, explaining how he learnt to sing through him. “I used to not be able to sing that well and I was just watching Tory’s stuff where he was saying, ‘You don’t even need to pay for lessons or anything, you can just practise on your own’. I would karaoke his songs in my bedroom and over time I found out how my voice actually works. I had a play with autotune as well, but that’s basically how I learnt to sing.”
X4nder is filled with motivation and energy and insists on 2022 being his year to make a name for himself in the Australian music industry. “The whole of 2021 I’ve been trying to implement my own style,” X4nder explains that he has spent the last year establishing himself as an artist and making plans for his career. Now, he is ready to take the spotlight he certainly deserves, and his listeners should be eager for what is to come from this young talent.
Words by Liv Declerck (@livdaangel)