“There’s something very intoxicating about a woman who carries herself with confidence and just knows she has the ‘it’ factor,” says pop songwriter X. ARI, “that contagious energy everyone wants to be around.” Greatly inspired by her real-life girlfriend Anja, who she credits for her personal transformation, the Los Angeles transplant carries such conviction into her new song.
“She Knows It,” a glossy pop track with a hard rock snarl, is fiercely empowering, giving X. ARI further agency to command the space. “I love writing female-driven power anthems and hope to inspire people to own who they are and embrace themselves entirely,” she tells American Songwriter. Where the chorus speaks more universally, the verses focus on Anja’s hypnotic presence. “I absolutely love being around her. She’s effortlessly a high vibrational being and is such a muse for me, as she’s the first person I’ve ever been motivated to dedicate a whole EP to.”
X. ARI teams up with producer and co-writer Tal Vaisman, most known as lead guitarist in Ascot Royals and boasts an engineering resume with such names as The Maysides, Black Collar Union, Andrea Gal, and Danny Lamb. Recorded inside her home studio, “She Knows It” came together “pretty quickly” over a Zoom writing session. “I like to write a song in a few hours when possible. In early March, I recorded my final vocals myself for the first time at home and sent them to Tal, and he did his magic and mixing.”
She knows it / Finger on the golden gun, explosive / She knows it, spits X. Ari through a genre-lapping mist. In totally owning her own body, the Toronto native invites the listener to “feel good in their skin and love themselves fully. I want people to exude their best possible energy, be as high vibrational as possible, and embrace their crazy side if they have one,” she says. “I want to encourage people to love others with their heart chakra fully open even though being vulnerable can be scary. I want people to choose love over fear and allow the danger that could come from welcoming in new love and change.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned─it’s to not be too attached to our identities because if we allow ourselves to be more fluid we can really become who we are meant to be with less resistance and therefore come into our own and find true happiness,” she adds.
The accompanying visual, a solo performance endeavour splashed with plush pinks, purples, and blues, accentuates X. ARI’s unapologetically bold and daring production. “I love the electric guitar in the chorus of this song. It just makes me feel like a badass, and I hope it makes others feel that same confident vibe,” she says. “I hope people feel inclined to whip their hair around while dancing to it like I felt the urge to do in the music video.”
Over the last five years, X. ARI has amassed quite a catalog, from several early 2016 singles to a 2018 EP called Dis-Order to As You Are EP in 2020. What’s most evident is her strength in not only melody writing but magnetic, genre-morphing musicality. In her songwriting, coming “to a session with a theme or concept I’d like to write about that day” frequently results in her best work. “I also write my best in the afternoon or early evening,” she says, citing such influences as K. Flay, Grimes, Santigold, Perfume Genius, Courtney Barnett, and Pink!, among countless others. “My favorite material comes when I’m inspired by particular life experiences such as overcoming mental health challenges or newfound love and transformation.”
“She Knows It” anchors her forthcoming Anja EP, out later this year.