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Allie X

Aug 30/2015
WORDS Nikki Fotheringham PHOTOOGRAPHY Tina Chang PHOTOGRAPHER'S ASSISTANT Eric Tavares STYLIST Jaclyn Bonavota at Judy Inc. HAIR Blake Arsenault MAKEUP Jenelle Forde

 

 

These days, it seems a pop artist must also be an artistic visionary to have an impact. A savant musician. A creator of interesting things. Case in point? Allie X, an emerging Canadian artist who exploded onto the scene with a 48-hour multimedia extravaganza at the Phi Center in Montreal, where she launched her first EP as Allie X, CollXtion I.

Allie X started life as Alexandra Ashley Hughes, a regular on the Toronto music scene where she enjoyed a modicum of success with the release of two albums, Ladies and Gentleman and Waiting for the Prize. Dissatisfied with what she was producing, she went back to the drawing board. She studied sound design and music production and spent two years cocooned in her shoebox apartment, writing music and perfecting her sound before she emerged onto the LA music scene in 2013 – a butterfly complete.

Her music is complemented by strong visual elements that include original artwork, boundary-pushing videos and spinning GIFs. When asked what is fuelling this new age of music and art, she replies: “In a word, the internet. It’s turned the music world on its head in negative and positive ways – the positive being that there is a lot of artist empowerment. You can become a star in your bedroom on your own YouTube channel. I think by putting more power into the artist’s hands, it’s changed the parameters of how weird you can be with the work you put out.”

Although Allie X regularly converses with her fans online, she remains a fiercely cloistered person. Her eyes are usually hidden behind a pair of oversized sunglasses or her hair is draped across her face. Even her chosen name ‘X’ comes from the algebraic expression of the unknown: “I want people to take on X as their own identity and not to become a part of my identity.”

As we meet and get to know each other, we’ll reveal more about ourselves and have a more vulnerable relationship. It is a dichotomy, though, because this project is about opening up your soul, but also remaining anonymous.

How will she overcome the problem of wanting to have a more personal relationship with her fans while still maintaining boundaries and privacy? “I think of it as a relationship like any other,” she says. “As we meet and get to know each other, we’ll reveal more about ourselves and have a more vulnerable relationship. It is a dichotomy, though, because this project is about opening up your soul, but also remaining anonymous.”

Perhaps the struggle for identity and anonymity is one that all artists go through as they transform, and are transformed by, the music world. But as we wait in anticipation for what comes next, let’s just hope that Allie X is able to keep her freak unique.

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