G-7L1BQ01JC4 google-site-verification=FcHx71H1bjVosBa3N5PbNSP0lPlz9dKW5Fnb3zbHVBI Xantheartist is In the Key of Q - Gay Music: In the Key of Q

Episode 8

full
Published on:

3rd May 2022

Xantheartist: Kanye, Military & Self-Defence

Welcome to In the Key of Q the weekly podcast where I chat with inspiring Queer musicians from around the world as they share stories, inspirations and of course their music.

Xantheartist counts an impressive hundred thousand streams on Spotify. He's only three years into his music career, but has already secured a number one record with his cover Hapsburg Lippp. Before transitioning to a man, he served in the US military and went on to make a considerable name for himself on the drag king circuit.

He grew up in a household with Nirvana, Phil Collins, New Edition and Luther Vandross pumping from the family hifi. The home was of military stock, and during his childhood his father was deployed in the first Iraq war. The strict household and challenges around gender identity dropped PTSD on Xan, which is being worked through today with counseling.

Accidental encounters showed Xan that he was an excellent performer, both as a rapper and drag king. He increasingly felt the drag king persona was closer to his genuine identity and went onto transition, female-to-male. He speaks eloquently about the importance to avoid mis-gendering, and the hurt this can cause.

He speaks passionately about the importance of self-denfence for the LGBTQ community and especially within the QPOC community. 'You can walk with your head high and confidently knowing that you can defend yourself against anything. '

Additional Material

If you enjoyed this episode why not take a listen to Ryan Cassata.

In the Key of Q is a weekly 30-40 minute podcast publishing every Tuesday. I’m your host Dan Hall, and in each episode, I chat candidly with a gay/bi musician about their life and music. 

Access exclusive interview content and support the production of this podcast by heading over to Petreon and making a small donation.

Enjoy the music of previous guests by listening to these playlists with tracks selected by the artists themselves.

Credits

  • The podcast can be reached on email and on social media at Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The podcast’s forever home can be found here.
  • Theme tune is by Paul Leonidou.
  • Press & PR by Paul Smith.
  • Many thanks to Kaj and Moray for their continued support.
  • In the Key of Q is presented and produced by Dan Hall and made at Pup Media. Dan has recently produced the landmark BBC film, "Freddie Mercury: The Final Act" (dir. James Rogan) and is the producer of the podcast series Been There Done That. For audio or video production inquiries Dan can be reached here or at Talent Manager.

Would you like to appear on the show? Or have an artist you'd like to recommend, please tell them to get in touch via email.

Transcript

Xantheartist

You can't fix anything. That's not exposed. You can't heal. What's not exposed. You know, you have to first admit that there's a problem. And then we work on the solution to fix the problem. But if everybody's too scared to have those conversations, how has anything ever going to get fixed?

Dan

This is In the Key of Q featuring musicians from around the world who inspire my queer identity. Everybody is welcome to the conversation. Whatever beautiful identity pleases you, music helps us feel connected and know that we are not alone.

This programme is made possible thanks to the financial support of listeners like you over patreon.com/inthekeyofq and remember to join the conversation across socials using the hashtag #QueerMusic.

I'm Dan Hall. Come on in and be heard.

This week's guest

A big, big welcome here at In the Key of Q to Xantheartist. Xan, Hello.

Xantheartist

Hey Dan, how are you doing?

I've always gravitated towards music as a kid. You know, when I started playing viola, I don't play anymore, but I started playing viola when I was about seven, eight years old. Um, and then from nine, until you know, now I was in choir and the whole, you know, show choir, Glee all of that musicals. I've always been gravitated towards music.

I'm old enough to remember, you know, when Nirvana was on the radio, like, I remember hearing Smells Like Teen Spirit. Um, but my parents, you know, uh, my dad's favorite artists is Phil Collins. So I listened to a lot of Genesis and, you know, staying in the, uh, that love that big eighties band. And then also, you know, my mom listened to like New Edition and Luther Vandross.

So I had just, you know, I was fortunate enough to, you know, just have good music around my whole life that has made me just fall even more in love with it. Every single day.

Dan

What point did you feel that just listening to music wasn't enough that you needed to start creating it?

Xantheartist

I used to work for a big cable company a few years ago. Uh, and we had a Christmas party, they had karaoke up. So, um, while somebody was up there, they were performing Kanye West's Golddigger and I'm like, they were butchered it like, it was horrible. I said, oh my gosh, I can't believe they're doing Kanye like this. So I'm on the side. Kind of just rapping along with it, you know, filling it in and the person that was bombing they handed me the mic and said, here. So I just said, I already know, like, I know most of the Kanye songs by heart, you know, I don't need to look at the lyrics. So I'm just performing Golddigger. And you know, at the beginning of, you know, that song, there's maybe five, 10 people in the crowd. By the time I was done, I look up, there's like 30, 40 people surrounding me, just like, oh my gosh, I can't believe you do this.

So when I step off stage, I'm like cool, thank you. One of my buddies was like, I got someone that you needed me. He was like, why are you not making your own need to and he was like, I need to introduce you to my buddy. So that's actually my producer. Wardell Wilson. Um, that's actually how we met and linked.

So we talked to like, who, your favorite artists? I was like my favorite artists, you know, rappers Kanye. And my favorite composer is Hans Zimmer. Like we love Hans Zimmer. So I'll be like, you know, as a black man, I'm like what? See black people know Hans Zimmer!! I'm like, this is going to be a lifelong friendship.

Dan

So you cited Kanye West and also Hans Zimmer. What is it about those two artists that particularly speaks to you?

Xantheartist

Kanye was told that he could never be a rapper. Kanye initially started out as a producer, uh, for Jay-Z produced a lot of the biggest, you know, Jay-Z songs of all times, and people don't know about that. And they told them, you know, you're never supposed to be a rapper. Then he became a rapper, became one of the greatest rappers of all time undisputed.

Then they told him, you can't, you know, you can't be a fashion mogul, but now look at, you know, we got easy out here. Um, Uh, and he's now a billionaire for it. So not only is just how he writes. You can hear that he puts his heart into everything.

With Hans Zimmer, um, he's universal. Like just how he makes you feel and what really- I found him from Inception. He actually did the whole score and everything for Inception. That's my favorite movie. Um, and that's the first time I ever heard of Hans Zimmer that I started going back and listened to other scores of his. He just has, I don't know, his transitions, like his, uh, his, the universal sound that he just puts out. It makes you feel some, every time I hear it. The little hair on my arms, the hairs on my arms stand up. Like I get goosebumps.

Dan

He composed the beautiful haunting guitar melody didn't he towards the end of Thelma and Louise

Xantheartist

You hear Hans and you know it's him yeah, I like this. Who is this? Yeah! Hans Zimmer.

I feel like I love them as artists and I hear what they're doing and I'll take specifics. Like I like how he wrote this bar. I see what he did with this scheme. I see how he played on these words. I'll take a little things like that, but I'm not going to directly try to sound like Kanye if that makes sense.

Dan

It reminds me of a quote that I think Judy Garland said where she said that it is better to be a first-class version of yourself, then try to be a second class version of someone else.

Xantheartist

Exactly, exactly, exactly.

Dan

But that's easy to say, but how do you find out who you are as a musician? How on earth do you make that journey? And also know when you've reached the end of it?

Xantheartist

Well, the journey never ends journey ends when you die. Right? Cause you can always improve. Like you will never- even though we strive for perfection in life, you'll never be perfect. So that means there's always room to grow. So journey never ends for me.

Well, my biggest goal is to be the first mainstream trans musician. But the thing is I to do that, I can't write necessarily, you know, specifically as a trans musician, because not everybody's going to understand and be able to relate to that. You know, the biggest thing is why are you going to listen to this song? What makes this song have replay value? So like, if I'm trying to do, you know, a specific, you know, queer LGBT Anthem. Yeah. I'm going to write it very specifically for this market, because this is who it was intended for. Uh, but for me, if I'm trying to, you know, as a black, trans queer man elevate myself to a point where we have representation in mainstream media, um, I have to be able to speak to the masses in the sense.

Dan

Um, so what's life like in a military household? You had military very much legacy running through your family. Your father was fourth generation and you were fifth. What is it like? I don't, for those of us who don't grow up in military households, what is it like?

Xantheartist

Uh, strict, um, honestly, and it's crazy. Like I never lived off of a base until I was 14 years old when my parents built their house out in North Carolina. So, uh, I was scared, honestly. Like I know it sounds goofy to some people, but you have to realize like my whole life, I grew up with, you know, wires, you know, barbed wire round me with people, patrolling the fence every night and making sure that I'm safe every time I go to sleep.

I don't have the greatest relationship, unfortunately, what my parents, but, you know, I'm okay with that because I had to step away from, you know, that kind of, you know, relationship for me to be the best version of myself.

Um, growing up in a military household, it was strict, you know, we were expected to, you know, be the best at everything.

My brother was a, you know, collegiate, uh, um, athlete, like, um, I, you know. We were both very good in sports. Like we excelled at sports. We excelled in everything that we did, but I gravitated towards music more and he gravitated towards, you know, the sporting side more. But we always had to be the best, you know, very strict, you know? Yes. Ma'am no ma'am. Yes, sir. No, sir.

Um, I think some of those parts are great. It taught me respect. It's taught me discipline. That's why I believe I'm able to be an independent artist and I could sit here for years and be honest and truthful with myself. And, you know, because that was instilled in me, uh, as a child.

So it's strict and rigorous. There are good, but you gotta take the good with the bad as well, you know,

Dan

In that strict military household was your brother's sporting achievements held in higher regard than your musical achievements?.

Xantheartist

Absolutely. Absolutely. Um, and you know, it's one of those, like, I, you know, Parents, my parents were every sports game that he had. You know, it didn't matter because he, you know, was captain of football team. He was, you know, wrestler, like he's a collegiate, you know, Greco-Roman wrestler, you know, he won state. Like he, he's very, very good. To my parents, I guess, you know, football games were more exciting than, you know, come into my choir, you know, uh, concerts and my musicals.

I can't really speak for them. I, you know, I can only say how it feels, uh, how it felt and you know, kind of how it feels. It doesn't feel good, but you know, my best friend's parents are my biggest fan, so I can't be too upset. I got a lot of, you know, they love me. They're there at my shows there that they do support me. So I do have that, you know, for sure.

Dan

And so what was this kid like who was going to orchestra?

Xantheartist

because you know, when I was:

So I didn't, like, I knew that I was uncomfortable in my skin. I was always uncomfortable in my skin. Um, ever started since I started puberty. Um, never understood why. So, you know, I was just very shy and awkward, but like whenever I went to choir you know, Um, I, I felt heard, I know what, but like I did, because I'm in North Carolina at the time I was revered as the best second alto in the state. I actually had different school districts um, ask it if my parents would let me transfer school districts because they need a strong second alto. Like I had schools fighting over me to be able to sing in their choir.

So, um, I was very good. Like I was just always naturally good. And I have to be grateful to my music teacher like her and I, we fought every single day when I was a kid, but like as an adult, like she taught us, you know, she taught us music theory. She taught us, uh, you know, she trained our ears. Like I believe I have a world-class ear and I'm an incredible producer, uh, just because I have an ear that she forced us to learn. She forced us to be able to write sheet music. She made us, you know, be proficient at playing the piano. Like I'm proficient at piano and guitar. Like, I'm not going to say I'm an expert, but I know how to play.

Dan

Do you think it would be fair to say that you're going through this time, you're going through issues with identity within yourself, uh, and, and music for some reason is, is a space of refuge.

Xantheartist

Yes. Music. I just gravitated towards my happy place.

My parents always gave me new music, like books and music were what really, what I did to entertain myself as a child. Like I was really more of a solitary creature. Um, so I kept myself entertained and it was through music. When MTV started music videos like I knew all the dance moves to every Backstreet Boys song. Every I knew them all because I taught them like, that's what I did as a kid in my room.

Honestly, teenage years were rough. My parents got divorced when I was, uh, 16, 17 years old. Um, before that my dad deployed to Iraq. Uh that's when everything was crazy, like when it first popped off after 9/11, like when we actually went to war. So there's just a lot of things, you know, that kind of happened in that timeframe that are, they're not, they're not fun. I really don't even, you know, go back and think about it much because they were not at a time in my life.

But it was like, it was hard. Like, I'm definitely want to be honest about this because there's people going through this right now. There are people going through this who think there's any fricking hope that there's no light at the end of the tunnel.

And like, if I have to tell, you know, you know, little 14 year old Xan like, yo bro, I promise you, it's going to get better. Like you have to go through like, but at the same time, if I didn't go through this, I would not be hard enough and built for the life that I'm trying to achieve.

Dan

And how did you manage to survive the emotional trauma of parents splitting up at a, at an age when we are, we are so vulnerable at that age. I mean, really we are. How did you survive?

Xantheartist

Um, I did not used to be this person. I used to be a very sad, like I do deal with mental health issues. I do, you know? Um, and it sucks because it sounds so common nowadays, but if you think about it, a lot of us have gone through some traumas and PTSD that does trigger up, fortunately, these different things.

Um, but I don't think I really ever processed it and it was more anger. I don't really think it was the divorce. I just think it was because the divorce was so terrible. It was not one of those, hey let's just split and do the best for the kids, divorces. It was probably the worst that you could possibly think of.

So, um, and I since felt portrayed by both my parents. So I really had to go to therapy because I did hold onto a lot of anger and a lot of sadness in, um, a lot of just, you know, different things from that time of my life.

Where I went to therapy. Um, I had the greatest therapist, like, you know, she wasn't necessarily just trying to prescribe me medication. She was just like, you know, I think you just have some unprocessed trauma that you've never been able to freely talk about. And like, I think you just need to get that out and just talk about it. Um, and that really helps. And that's when, you know, I stopped being so closed off to, you know, um, my feelings. I used to just shut down and get mad and internally just like, just sit there and take it because that's what you're told to do. You better not back talk, keep your mouth shut. That's the life I knew. Like it was different for people like, you can talk to us, we care, you know? So it was definitely like, um, it was a game changer for me. Therapy was a game changer.

Dan

So how'd, you do make the journey from this point to the military? What was it about the military that appealed to you and what were the experiences like within it?

Xantheartist

Family told me this, you know, discouraged me for being a musician. So the next thing I was doing, I was actually prepping to go to med school, um, and getting all that took all my pre-recs, you know, pre-med classes, all this stuff. Uh, and then I realized like, I just, I didn't want to be a doctor, you know, It's not what I want it to be.

Um, family was very disapproving of that. Did not support that, especially cause I changed my major to history, political science, but I love history. It's incredible. Um, so they were doubly unhappy about that. So it just came to a point where, um, it was, it was the best option for me at the time to kind of get away from just a, uh, not happy place.

Really. I really, I want to say honestly, 100, I probably never admitted this until now. Like I got in the military to run away from my life. If that makes. So at the time, honestly, bootcamp AIT, it probably saved my life. I'm not even being facetious. It kept me distracted and it built something like it made me tough.. It was brutal. Like the shark attack, drill sergeants in your face, that's 100% true, like that does happen.

Um, but you know, it also made me realize that I'm capable of more than I ever thought in my head that I was so that I was told that I was, um, so it does come with a sense of pride. You know, I have, you know, honorable, you know, I didn't get kicked out or like I did my time. Wasn't for me, didn't want to go back type of thing.

Um, but it definitely showed me that, Hey, I don't want to do this, but it also showed me that I'm tougher than I realized that I am and that I can fear shouldn't stop me from doing something.

I got out of the military in:

Dan

Well, it's being a woman and, uh, the military, as challenging as one might imagine it being., I, my picture of it is being quite an aggressively male space.

Xantheartist

e. So you have to remember in:

Um, gender wasn't even on the spectrum at that point. So I couldn't honestly even speak on that. It's disgusting. Even like the stuff going on right now, especially in Fort Hood. I don't know if you hear about that a lot over in the United Kingdom but Fort Hood is where you saw that missing. I can't remember her last name, Vanessa, that missing soldier that ended up dead.

Um, she came out of Fort Hood. There's a lot of rape and there's a lot of, there's a lot. There's a lot of missing people on that installation, not just women, but the sexual assault, you know, just the intimidation, the harassment. It's disgusting honestly, and it's, it's a cancer and it's honestly, retention rates are low in the military. Nobody's rejoining bad leadership. It's like Rome. It really distorted itself from the inside out.

Dan

So you came out to the military. You were one of the ones who decided not to return.

Xantheartist

No.

Dan

You spoken earlier, already about feeling out of sorts with the world a little bit, feeling like you didn't quite fit in choosing often to be alone or to, find comfort in music. Was there a tipping point once you left the military, at which point you said to yourself, I've had enough of feeling like I don't belong. I think transition is a solution.

Xantheartist

her a shout out, uh, back in:

I'm still, and I think that kind of made me like, I'll go on every now and again, if I go out for shows, for sure. I know how to be cool in social surroundings, but I'm one of those, I'm definitely one, I'm an introvert extrovert. Um, I'm comfortable in my own environment in a sense. So I was working a few jobs and she was a, I met her because I was working at GameStop at the time. Probably the best job I've had to this date. I love that place.

Uh, I was working with her and she's like, yo, you know, I got a friend that does drag. I'm like, what's drag? I didn't even know what drag was at that time. So I go, yeah, there's a cool bar. You know, it's called The Rec Room. Um, and I want to bring you out to a show.

So she forced me like, she's like, Nope, we're going out tonight. Forced me to go out. So I'm sitting in the audience. I've never seen a drag show. I didn't know what it was. X, Y, and Z. And I'm watching these people before am like, oh my God, this is incredible. Like a light just went out. I want to do that. I want to get on stage and I want to do that.

Like, I've always known, I've heard of drag Queens, but I never knew what a drag King was like. Oh yeah. You know, it's an illusionist. I'm like, oh, okay, cool, cool, cool. I'm like, I don't want to get up there and do a drag queen. I'm like, you don't have to be a drag queen. You can be whatever you want to be, but you can be a drag king as well.

So. Um, went up there, you know, did my first song. And I remember, uh, and I killed it. Like, I, I have natural stage presence. It was first song I ever did was Mr. Brightside by The Killers. Um, and, uh, it, it was incredible. Like I was never, but like my drag dad literally had to push me out on stage because I was freezing, he was like go.

And like, when my music started, it's like, oh, I'm out here anyways I may as well just do it. I mean, this crowd of all the a hundred, 150 people just so supportive, cheer me on oh my gosh. I want to say the first performance I did. I probably made $150, $200 in tips. Um, just that one, that one song, because there's this. Yeah. Especially for a king. It's hard. Like people come for queens. So as a drag king, you know, it's kinda hard, uh, to, to make money like.

ranked. Um, in:

Uh, but at a certain point I realized it's not my passion. My biggest thing, you know, that I got out of drag was 1) I improved my stage presence 2) I can lip sync like a boss and 3) I got, I didn't get over my stage fright but I learned the tools I was like every, every time I said, it's an excitement. It's not fear of realize it's exciting about step on stage and blow the roof out.

Dan

But how did that feel for you taking on that persona? Was that an empowering an interesting thing?. How did that feel the first time you did it?

Xantheartist

I finally felt like I belonged to my skin. If that makes sense. After, you know, when you first started to drag king you have to, like before I knew better, you bound with like duct tape. So you had the bound your chest down. You have your chest, you know, your, your, your, your titties down.. Um, and bind it. So you get that flat chest, you paint on facial hair, you contour your face, you do all these things that now that I have naturally, because of hormones, um, you painted all that. So I learned how to do makeup and all this stuff.

So yeah, my stage name was Xander Atrocious, um, and, uh, Xander, I felt more like Xander than I ever did my former self. Uh, and I'm like, you know, at first I thought I was gender queer. Um, I was like, you know, I'm comfortable because when you're, you're, you're a drag king or even as a queen and you probably, you know, you've been in that, that, that circuit, like, if you're a queen like, even if that's, you know, say that you were a drag queen for you, for instance, Dan, um, some people are like, Hey girl, Hey sis. Just because you're a queen. They're not necessarily mis-gendering you, but hey, they know you as a drag queen world..

So, um, Kings as well, even if, you know, say that you, you know, There are, you know, just heterosexual, straight women that want to be Kings. They just want to pursue, you know, that persona. Um, they'll say, Hey bro, Hey man, X, Y, and Z, they'll use the masculine pronouns for them when they're in that.

So they're like, you know, when they started, I started hearing, you know, hey him, he Xander, um, I started gravitating towards that more. And then when I would hear, she her like it made my skin crawl, I hated it. You know. And the back of your head, I'm like, this is not right. Don't call me that. Don't call me that.

So I finally, I was like, you know what? Like, I I'm trans, like I want to say probably a year, about a year after I started doing drag, I truly am like, I'm trans.

I didn't start hormones for five years. Um, so after I came out trans because I'm like, this is irreversible, you know, every decision I need to make sure this is what I want to do for my greater purpose. Um, so I actually sat there and took the time, but unfortunately, a lot of people rush those decisions and they're, I know quite a few people that have regretted transitioning and like, this is not for me and the X, Y, and Z.

So it was one of those, like, I really sat with it.

Dan

Why don't you think some people. Have a, as you put it, rush the process, do you think maybe it is just the pressure of having had so many years of, of feeling, a misfit within one's own body, that it can sometimes drive decisions that with hindsight might be too fast?

What are your thoughts on that?

Matthew

I can't really speak for them in that sense. I can't tell you the social pressures that come within the community. My big thing was being mis-gendered like I already was kind of androgynous looking before, but being mis-gendered like it used to get to me, but some guys that can like mess up your whole week if like somebody accident, like there's no ill malice behind it. They don't know any better. But to a trans person that's devastating, you know?

So like, let me get this beard on my face. I'm going to get, you know mis-gender less or at all, like, I don't remember the last time I was like, I, I absolutely, I don't get mis-gendered anymore. Um, but I mean, I could see that is a social pressure, but could also be one of those, like you want to be stealth. Um, guys and females, they want to be stealth where there's not necessarily, you don't feel like there's a target on your back because like, oh, I can tell you're different. And I can tell that you're trying to do X, Y, and Z.

Maybe if I have hormones and I have this full beard, or my voice is deep that, you know, I can pass or something.

Dan

Do you think we're heading towards a space in the future where conversations like the one that we're having now will seem beautifully archaic and we'll live in a social way. It'll just be like, oh, well, people are just what they are.

Xantheartist

Yes. Yes. Like if mankind goes the way it should. Absolutely. But you have to have those pioneers that are, the person wants to have that conversation. Somebody has to rip off the band-aid like, you can't fix anything that's not exposed. You can't heal what's not exposed. You know, you have to first admit that there's a problem. And then we work on the solution to fix the problem. But if everybody's too scared to have those conversations, how's anything ever gonna get to get fixed?

Dan

Now Zan, when we finish this conversation, I take the recording into the edit and edit the program down and turn us both into witty and insightful human beings. Except I'm not going to do it for the next two or so minutes where I'll say to you, there's a platform for you to speak about whatever you want. It doesn't have to be something we've spoken about, or it can be something we have spoken about.

You can speak for whatever you want to speak about for about the next two minutes. This is your space to have your voice heard.

Xantheartist

All right, Dan, I appreciate that. So, honestly, lessons, I'm going to go ahead and throw you a curve ball.

Um, I feel, uh, that every queer trans POC minority group of person needs to learn some sort of self-defense. Um, we already know that there's already, you know, uh, an, a sense of target on your back and kind of whatever demographic you fall into. There's even a bigger target on your back and you feel exposed and you feel like a victim on, and that's a horrible way to live.

You know, I personally, I have a brown sash in Kung-Fu. I've been doing Kung-Fu for about seven, eight years now. And I have two black belts. One is Bhagwat the art of the circle on the last avatar. Um, and another one is Chingy the purest form of boxing. And I also know Tai Chi and some Shalon animal forms. Um, and then my dad, of course, he's a grand master in Hoshin booty room. And my brother's a Greco-Roman wrestler. So I have a lot of, you know, kind of martial training and on top of being an expert rifleman when I was in the army, like I'm the least little person in some people's eyes.

But the biggest thing, the reason that I learned, um, it was because me be as, you know, minority basis, I am, um, being a black trans lefty. Uh, um, I realized that I need to learn how to defend myself. You know, I have never had to use it on anybody. I've had one fight in my life and I was in high school and that's just because somebody was picking on me and I just finally had enough.

Um, I have never used it. I have never used it once. And I hope I never have to, but it's the same time where I'm not going to walk into life scared. I'm not going to walk in anywhere feeling like I'm going to be victimized. I don't care what you think about me. If you have an issue, we can handle this. Um, but I really feel like, you know, Queer people, especially, um, take self defense classes, you know, uh, do something. There's so many free things on YouTube. You can just look up to space and self-defense, you know, basic things. If something happens, you know, see there's a lot of free, you know, go to YMCAs or a rec center, local rec centers. A lot of times they're free classes. You know, gyms have them, there are everywhere. So learn self form of self-defense. So you don't have to go through life feeling like there's a target on your back.

And you can walk with your head high and confidently knowing that you can defend yourself against anything.

Dan

Xan, for someone listening to this podcast, who's feeling a bit alone and ignored in the world. What would your advice be to them?

Xantheartist

Um, sit in it, you know, I've been alone most of my life and I've come up with the most profound things in my life because of it. So, sit in it, like don't avoid your feelings. You know, sit there, meditate, close your eyes, slow your breathing and process. You're allowed to feel however you want to feel. The biggest thing is that you don't want to get stuck there. You want to like, okay, I'm upset by this. I'm upset because of this. This is valid, but this is no longer serving me any purpose. So I need to let it go, you know? People around you, that's not. going to make you feel any less alone, it's just going to distract you from being alone. But sit in that, you know, go through it, write it down, like, listen, like, what is it that you want to do in life while you're sitting in that still and quietness?

What is your primal monkey mind telling you that, Hey, what do you need to go pursue? What is the thing that you could do for the rest of your life and love it and no matter, you know, whatever throws at you and then go chase your dreams. Because the second that you find your calling, your tribe is going to find you, the people that are supposed to be in your life and you're meant to be with, and that family that you make, and not necessarily that made you, that's when they're going to start finding you is when you're in your true purpose. So I would rather be alone than around people that are not serving my higher good.

Dan

What do you think your 15 year old self would make of you and make of your music?

Xantheartist

That's a bad ass. No, you are a cool dude. I want to be your friend! You're to chase your dreams. Like you're going to get where you want to go. And it's funny cause I remember having that thought as a kid, that I'm going to be something special I was made for something greater. So it's crazy. I feel like me in this present time is telling me, and my time behind whatever's going on in the universe is telling that person right now. So yeah, like I promise you, bro, there's a, there's a method to the madness that's going on.

Dan

We've had you on as a guest, who do you think we should have on as a queer artist in the future or at least who is inspiring you, that you're listening to it at the moment?

My boy Ryan Cassate um, yeah. Like he's actually the first major trans musician that co-signed me, um, he I've done a couple songs with him now. Uh, the last song that I did was Hollyweird and his album actually, uh, got on iTunes top 25. Uh, I think it was the rock or indie rock, I can't remember what category what category, but that album was number 24 on iTunes when it dropped.

And then the song that he, uh, him and I did a remix with, um, the initial version hit over a million plus streams on Spotify. So Ryan Cassata, um, I think he's a great guy. He has a massive, massive platform of queer youth. Um, he's a great guy. Uh, he's just, he's such a sweetheart. He's adorable. Um, but yeah, Ryan Cassata uh, I think he would honestly absolutely love talking with you.

And of course subscribers can hear my episode with Ryan in season one, episode 27.

Xantheartist

Fantastic.

But yeah, I mean, that's my boy right there. Like he's somebody that I absolutely, um, he's done a lot for me. Um, and anytime I get a chance to shout them out, I will

Dan

Fantastic and of course we'll put links to Ryan's episode in the show notes for this.

So, where can we find you online, Xan?

Xantheartist

Man, I'm everywhere

xantheartist.com. I got links to all my social. This is my landing page right there. All my social media is, I mean, I went ahead snatch that up before anybody else tried to take it, xantheartist across every platform, my friend.

Dan

And of course I will put links to all of websites and his socials in the show notes here.

Now, Xan we've been listening to your music all the way through the episode, but I do think we've saved the best for last of course.

Now, if there was a gateway song of yours, that would be one song that people who didn't know you would listen to and it would just make them go, I love this guy. I'm going to listen to all his back catalog and listen and subscribe to everything he releases some now onwards.

What do you think that gateway song would be and why?

Xantheartist

Every single song that I've done, I've been going through voice changes. So my song, my voice is different in every song because of hormones. So I think that's kind of cool to go back and just listen to that evolution.

Um, but I would say, Let Them Know. Let Them Know is when I was, you know, I was really and like, what is my purpose to this? You know, what, what am I trying to achieve out of this music thing? Like what am I supposed to do? Like, how am I supposed to get them out and just got to let them know, let them know what you're about? Like let them know. And that's why just like, you know, it's a, it's a, for sure it's a mantra and a chant but, you know, um, it really talks about like what I was feeling at that time.

That song was kind of a love letter to myself.

Dan

Xan, thank you so much for coming on In the Key of Q and sharing with us, your story and your music.

Xantheartist

Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me, man. This has been awesome. This is my first podcast I've been asked to be on. So this is exciting. I was learning some new stuff. Um, and absolutely I've loved to link with you, you're a fun guy..

Dan

Thanks for listening to this episode. You can support In the Key of Q via Patreon - the link is in the show notes. Theme music is by Paul Leonidou at unstoppablemonsters.com with press and PR by Paul Smith. Help others discover new queer musicians by writing and reviewing In the Key of Q wherever

Thanks to Kaj and Moray for the continued support and to you for subscribing.

The show was made at Pup Media, I'm Dan Hall. Go listen to some music and I'll see you next Tuesday.

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About the Podcast

Gay Music: In the Key of Q
Queer chat. Queer music.
Music-loving gay podcast. The best bi and gay music from around the world featuring insightful and inspiring conversations with Queer musicians.

Episodes drop weekly and are 30-40 minutes in length, celebrating LGBTQ identity, tunes and stories.

Presented by Dan Hall (producer, BBC’s Freddie Mercury: The Final Act) and produced by Pup Media.
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