It was 4:15PM. I was fifteen minutes late for a scheduled interview with a rising star by the name of XIE, pronounced “shay.” Scrambling back and forth between McCaw Hall and the formal entrance to Bumbershoot, I was getting frustrated to say the least as no one seemed to have clear direction on where specifically media checked in.
Finally, I escalated my inquiries high enough to speak to the right person. I was with my girlfriend who was also working as media for the event and we sprinted past a collage of different people from all walks of life. One of the reasons I love Bumbershoot specifically, and music in general, is it brings an eclectic group of people together who normally may not associate in day to day life while all chasing different reactionary emotions to the music.
As we sprint down the path towards the Armory, which is where I learn my interview was taking place, I was overcome by a familiar euphoria, that I personally do not get to experience in my primarily professional daily life. I am a private mortgage banker by trade so being back at a festival was a different type of enthrallment and grittiness than what I deal with regularly.
I arrived at the Armory at 4:45PM – roughly 45 minutes late for my interview – and as I’m going up the stairs I see XIE walking down them with her manager and another media correspondent, likely going to do their interview. Being the oblivious person I can sometimes be, I yelled out, “XIE, I am here for the interview!” and to my pleasant surprise she graciously obliged.
We began walking back to a more private setting, and she is taking in the energy of the festival as if she was just another patron. Taking pictures of the wilderness exhibit, she was noticeably encapsulated with the excitement and energy that a festival can genuinely bring. XIE is a relatively well-known and distinguished performer, yet the authenticity of Bumbershoot and all the happenings created an escape for her from what one would perceive as “normal life.” This reminded me that regardless of one’s relative success, we are all still humans who can connect with the feeling of being captivated by wonder.
We proceed into a dimly lit room, and surprisingly I was a tad nervous as I interviewed her. This is not a sensation I normally feel. I meet new people frequently and address one of the most guarded subjects to broach; their finances. I can frankly say this nervousness carried throughout the interview, thankfully I had one good question I always ask someone new and Janett, my significant other, did as well. My question was, “If you had one day left to live, who would you spend it with, what would you do and where would you be?”
Her answer genuinely surprised me because I watched a couple performances prior to our meeting, and she had a gritty 90s hip-hop inspired-style backed by the energy of the electronic music. Colors, lasers, bass, big drops that shot, at least for me, this tingle down my spine and gave me the juxtaposition of energy rooted in my heart but with primary elements of artificial, electronic technology. The answer she gave me was that she would “be with family, spend time in nature, likely be meditating and just overall at the root of it all appreciating the natural world.”
Now this not might sound very profound, but it will when you see her perform. It is like being in a box of NERDS candy with Pietro Grossi, pioneer of computer-based music, time traveling to present day and being put in front of a sound board. Again the juxtaposition between her performing and off stage was surprising. I found it inspiring that someone so integrated into modern tech would find such solace just sitting in the middle of the woods. It was cool. It served as a reminder for me that no matter how much we progress as the human race from a technological position that our roots truly do lie in being connected to the natural world and how both realms of reality can co-exist together seamlessly if we allow them to.
Janett posed the question, “It’s not common to see a Chinese-American in the American entertainment industry what’s your experience with that?” Almost immediately XIE pointed out that beyond that it’s even more uncommon to see a Chinese-American female in the industry and she was genuinely excited about it because “it gives her a niche she can craft out for herself”. Personally I think it serves as an inspirational catalyst for change regarding the diversity of the music industry.
XIE made a point though that she has not felt any discrimination or shortcomings as a result and I feel like she truly looked at it from an entrepreneurial point of view and felt empowered to be a voice of a cultural demographic.
Overall the interview was a window in to the inspiring trend of seeing Millienials not needing to fill a conformed categorization box of who they are but rather taking little pieces of ideas and experiences they love and choosing to identify as someone unique. It serves as a good reminder that regardless of what demographic we may fit into it does not prevent us from defining what makes us different and embracing that.
Also check out the latest single, “Super 8”, by XIE on SoundCloud below and do not forget to pick up the song on iTunes now.
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