Meet Roxiny, the singer behind this summer's powerful single '9 Months,' from her forthcoming EP 'Rituals.' The musician, who was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Spain, Panama and Italy now resides in New York City and is determined to have her voice heard in more ways than one. Here she talks to us about her musical influences, and her fight to raise awareness of violence against women.
How did you get into making music?
Music was my first language. As a little girl, I'd sing to my pets, serenade them with original compositions for as long as I can remember lol. I also recall my temper and constant defiance getting me into a lot of trouble. I'd make up songs and sing to make time pass faster while I was grounded. I started to love being left alone with my imagination. I picked up my first guitar when I was around 12 or 13, and I started to understand how to make songs out of some of the abstract poetry I'd write.
Who are some of you greatest musical influences?
There are so many...I love great lyricists and visceral performers. If I had to list a few I'd say Nina Simone, Patti Smith, Suicide, Fever Ray, Bauhaus, Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Etta James, Hope Sandoval, Stevie Nicks, Bob Dylan, Jim Morrison, The Misfits, Chaka Khan. I mean, I could go on and on. It takes courage to be vulnerable. I have a lot of respect for anyone who puts it all on the line.
What is the creative process like for you? How do you go about making your music?
I have to feel something first. After that, I don't have any real control over it. Sometimes it comes in lyric form, other times it's the melody that comes first. Many songs have come from either sitting in the shower thinking or messing around on guitar. Last year something amazing happened...I found an incredible connection with 3 people who really helped bring out the best in me. I'm always tremendously inspired when I collaborate with others, but there was something special about meeting Chris Coady, Jonathan Kreinik and Brandon Sheare. Most of the songs on "Rituals" came from a 2-day session with Chris in L.A. It's rare to find that, to be that inspired in a moment, to have someone hold space and help you find your voice, and then to come back to NY and have Jonathan also get it instinctively. They brought my songs to life. The songs began to feel exactly how I felt inside, and that had never happened before for me. They really helped my creative process become a much more fluid, beautiful process. I'm really grateful for that.
Your new single ‘9 Month’s’ is the very raw exploration of the emotional aftermath of a “toxic romance” – what was it like exposing yourself like that in your music?
It took a lot of time and courage to be vulnerable enough to honor those feelings and that experience. When it finally came out of me, fuck, it was so cathartic. That relationship rattled me, it brought up insecurities, it brought out the worst in me. It also taught me so much about myself. I had to dig deep to understand what about me attracted that in order to never attract it again. I had to take responsibility for it first. It took some soul searching before I could even gather the words to express myself; to be that vulnerable and honest about it.
You’ve been very active in fighting for women’s rights, could you tell us a little bit more about what you’ve been doing on that front?
Well, currently I'm running a #9MonthsGirlsRising campaign inspired by "9 Months." My hope is to raise awareness about violence against women and girls in all its forms- sexual, physical, verbal, psychological...even policy assault, which is why Planned Parenthood is the first organization I'm standing by. On the 2nd Thursday of every month, we're supporting a new organization by donating all of the proceeds from "9 Months" song sales and the "9 Months Revolucion" merch bundle for the duration of the campaign. In August, we'll begin supporting GEMS, an organization I work closely with and love. GEMS is a girls mentoring and education service that serves women and girls who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking. I still do my song writing workshops with the girls at GEMS, and really love working with them.
How would you describe your musical voice? What do you hope that listeners take away from your music?
Where do you get your inspiration from?
From things I feel deeply...that could be anything from a personal experience to the blend of nausea and despair I felt when we elected a sexual predator to be our 45th president.
The music industry today is a very different beast from the one that existed 15 years ago, what is it like to be a musician in 2017, how do you make the new system work for you?
I love the "new system"...it's fucking liberating. You don't have to depend on a record exec to ok your music in order for you to release it. You can just create and put it out there. My music is being released through my own label, Revoluna. There's nothing stopping me or controlling my musical integrity. I'm making my own rules as I go, and that's freedom. It's also challenging....being an artist and then having to essentially run your own label, let's just say 15 hour work days have become the new norm and I'm not sleeping much. I'm really inspired by my friends who are doing the same like El-P from Run the Jewels. They are a perfect example of how as artists we are able to carve out our own unique paths in this system. I'm the daughter of two immigrant parents, I'm a Latina. There was a time when the only path available to me in this industry would've been the stereotypical hyper-sexualized Latina pop star. I was a punk rock kid. I never wanted that. This new system has given me the tools to do it my way.
Where do you see yourself in five years? What’s the dream?
The dream is to be constantly inspired to create, to be able to live my life doing what I love, to inspire the girls coming up behind me to follow their truth and fuck the rules, to perform in front of as many people as I can until the day I die.
Check out Roxiny's Playlist
Interview: Emily Saunders - @thesaunder
Photography: Allie Sarachene - @alliesarachene