BY: GABY MORENO
Hello Hip Hop Heads and Horror Fans,
Today I will be sharing an interview I did with Chicago rapper/singer/producer and songwriter! He goes by the unique name of Xion. His music is a breath of fresh air. His lyrics and delivery are on point! I came across his music when I went to Niagara Falls last year in October one of the lyft drivers was playing music on his Spotify and one of Xion.’s songs came on. The track is titled, “Letsgooutside”, it has this slow mellow vibe and catchy lyrics. I wrote down the song on my phone and once I got back home I googled the track and instantly began following Xion. on social media. I reached out to him to tell him I thought he was very dope and if I could interview him for my blog. He was very humble and agreed to answer some questions via email. Without further a do please read interview below and check out his music! He is a rising star in the making!
Please introduce yourself for those who might not know who you are? Where are you based out of for those who might not know.
I am Xion. I am a flower out of the Concrete Jungle. I hail from the South Side of Chicago. That’s like South Suburb-ish or South City. I rep Hyde Park now. I’m an Experimental, genre-less artist. I make what I feel and I don’t like to categorize. I’ve come up on so many different styles and influences that I can’t call myself a singer or rapper. I just make music.
Please tell us about how you started rapping and singing? Did you start performing locally? How long have you been pursuing the music thing?
I come from an artistic family. My dad rapped and my mom toured and performed as a singer. My oldest sister is an actress, making her name throughout the city. My oldest brother is an Olympian. I have a brother who can literally do it all from athletics to academics to music.
Actually, my other sister, Frida is the best artist I ever met. She inspired me to rap back in 2013 and we made a group and she built my confidence. Definitely cover her as well she’s the most creative artist out here.
Even as an artist, I’m extremely introverted and to myself. I record alone. I like to create that way. I didn’t begin performing until I started working with a Record Label that took me to a few shows maybe 2 years ago. But since then I’ve grown to love performing throughout Chicago as much as possible.
What does your name Xion mean or is it your actual name?
My actual name is Zion Ahmad Jackson. My name comes from Lauren Hill’s song Zion and how my mom was impacted by Lauren partly. I used to go by Ahmad Jammrok from 2013 to about 2016. I went through a lot of growing up and changing as an artist and as a person and when I left the record label I wanted to restart and come out as a new artist with a new, refined sound. Thus, xion.
What inspires your lyrics and music?
Honestly, if you go through my albums I feel like there’s no consistency. I kind of like it. I am so influenced by the world of music that I feel I desire to experiment with it all. However, in making albums like 1112 and Bloom, I got to really get into what I feel is most inspiring to me which is introspection. Bloom was created in reflection of the place I found myself in within myself and my relationship to other people. It’s dramatic but it’s a true story of me feeling like I had things figured out and having to fall all the way down to understand that I need to grow and bloom and start from scratch if I want to be able to love myself or anyone else. Blooming is learning to understand that you never reach completion. You just always strive to grow and get better with time.
What is your writing process when working on a song or a project? If working on an EP or album do you have a concept in mind?
I actually don’t have any consistent work flow and I’m okay with that. I write from experience and things that affect my mind in everyday life. My music is best when I don’t force it. Sometimes I can’t write at all but when I feel something, it comes to me. I have to be around inspiring people and places to create.
I’m actually in the process of creating a project now and technically there’s enough songs, but I won’t release it until I feel like the quality of the songs are what I want to put out to the world. I’m gonna let it come naturally and add sounds I feel fit. I can’t tell you the concept, but it’s nothing like Bloom.
Who are some of your influences whether it be rappers or singers?
I decided I wanna make music seriously when I first heard Asap Rocky’s Long.Live.A$AP album and Earl Sweatshirt dropped “Chum”. Those are two people that influenced me. Frank Ocean completely is the best artist there is today in my opinion. I think Blonde is quietly one of the best works ever constructed.
Some of my other inspirations come from the Chicago scene. I think Supa Bwe & Qari are some of the greatest visionaries in music today. Meeting Supa changed a lot for me. Meeting Femdot. and hearing some of his advice changed my work ethic. Mick Jenkins inspired my voice to develop some. Trippie Redd isn’t given the artistic credit he deserves. So I think I just like a bunch of different sounds and they all come through in my art somehow.
What has been your greatest accomplishment so far in your craft?
My biggest accomplishment so far has been having “Bloom” named your “Best of 2019: RnB” list. That meant a lot to me. I’m still growing so things like that make me feel like I’m touching people. I create my own music and engineer it all at home. I’ve never been in a studio really and I taught myself mostly so it feels like the work is going somewhere.
You have put out about 4 projects, correct me if I’m wrong. What does each project mean to you and what were the concepts?
I’ve put out about 9 projects if we count the ones under other names somewhere on YouTube 😂. But each of these 4 projects have come from their own journey and show many different sides.
1223 was an album I made when I made the decision to sign with another label and restart. It was my reintroduction into music creation so I felt a need to show many different sides of myself and try to make an impact. 12/23 is my birthday so it was just an album about showing myself to the world. However, the label took much of the control in that one and rushed it so it just wasn’t an album I got to experiment with as much.
1112 was an ode to my girlfriend who makes an appearance on the track “312” and a few tracks on “Bloom” as Danii. It was a big cluster of unfinished ideas I started in high school when I met her and how the relationship developed over time. There’s 30 songs because I just really wanted to release every song I made about her during that time. Up and down. It was overall, a bit too experimental and unfinished for my liking but i was very passionate about it.
Concrete Jungle was my response to making 1112. I just spent a year making love songs and I wanted to show people a different side that I don’t think everyone knows well enough. I can rap my ass off if I want to. Don’t let the soft stuff confuse you. It was a flex.
Bloom was the most complete album I’ve ever constructed. I wrote a story and my brother and I turned it into a storyboard of tracks and song concepts. It was arranged and to show a real persons feeling and perspective in a relationship that is dying and has to bloom into something new. It’s a representation of life as a process. You don’t win or lose, you just keeping living. You find new things to appreciate about the world around you. You go into dark places and learn how to come out stronger. I’ve held in so much over the years that I broke down last year and had to fall all the way apart to begin rebuilding. It’s a journey I live by now and I’m forever blooming and growing. I used love as a metaphor, but it can be applied to anything in life. Mine came in love and life.
Any new projects we can anticipate for 2020?
I’m working. I’m always working. I have many unreleased projects even from Bloom that I think about releasing. I’ve done so many features that are coming out now. Check out some of my credits on LEEMAJ’s “Jay” album and James Cunningham’s “SEMAJ”.
I’m in the process of a few projects, but I don’t even know when they can be expected. I don’t move on a timeline. I just create as I feel and I change my mind everyday. However, a big release in 2020 is likely.
If you could categorize your lane or sub-genre of rap what would it be?
I don’t categorize myself at all. I don’t think I’m a rapper. I didn’t start as a rapper and I rap sometimes, but I go full tracks without it.
I’ve made full albums of Rock alternative and Blues and Indie that I’ve kept to myself, but I can’t say I’m any of those either. I like to play with sounds and make whatever I feel so I’m just an artist really. I have the freedom to switch as I see fit and I enjoy that aspect of music.
Do you feel it is important to listen to other types of music to inspire you to create innovative music? If so what other genres of music do you listen to?
I grew up almost entirely on Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy. I wasn’t huge on any one genre until I heard A$AP Rocky and Earl and Joey Bada$$.
I think when I started rapping it wasn’t real. It wasn’t me. I didn’t feel like my music was something I could see myself in until I was able to use my various influences to create. Then it felt more me. I’m open to anything new and I probably have picked a few things from every genre.
What is your fav rap/rnb song and rap/rnb albums of all time? Why?
Okay I literally have my list prepared. In no particular order:
Kanye West – 808s & Heartbreaks
Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap
Mick Jenkins – The Waters
Frank Ocean – Blonde
Hurt Everybody – 2k47
Trippie Redd – Love Letter To You
The Internet – Ego Death
Drake – If You’re Reading This it’s Too Late
A$AP Rocky – Long.Live. A$AP
Joey Bada$$ – 1999
Gorillaz – Demon Days
…And a thousand other Miscellaneous albums I heard as a kid that I can’t remember the name of from the 70s.
What is your favorite scary movie if any and why?
My favorite scary movie is probably The Conjuring or one of the Annabelle movies . Idk maybe that’s weak, but I watched those in a good time of life so I just enjoy them. I’m very much into paranormal movies so definitely send suggestions.
What about favorite horror tv show/s you have had and why?
I used to watch anything about ghosts or people going ghost hunting or documentaries about ghosts because I’ve had many paranormal experiences in my life so I always gravitate towards it.
If you could be any horror villain who would you be and why?
Either Samara Morgan or those dolls that turn their heads as you walk passed. Simple.
If you could create any horror survival rule what would it be?
“No. Let’s NOT SPLIT UP. “ I hate that. And then they wanna go and look in the basement alone.
Do you believe in the supernatural if so have you had any supernatural experiences you can share?
I’ve had ghosts in like half the homes I’ve lived in. I think my sister and I brought them upon ourselves though. We used to create ouija boards and invite spirits into the house which is crazy as hell. So yeah we knew spirits by name and just were cool with them being around. I don’t think we ever had any negative experiences with them except for one time when I saw a dolls head move and I destroyed it.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind either creatively or on a personal level?
I’m not concerned with my outside reception much. I hope I can touch people who want to figure out how to express themselves. I hope I can be a person people can learn from. Honestly though, I can only control some things. I wanna make sure I’m happy and ever-growing. I want to feel love and know that the people I love know that I love them as well. I have a very simple idea of what life is. I just wanna go through my journey and learn to enjoy it more as it goes. I’m less concerned with my destination. That’s already been decided. I’ll find out when I get there. I just gotta enjoy every part of the process.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years or what is your ultimate dream or goal?
Hopefully, I’m doing what I love. That can be a thousand things. As an artist. As a producer. On the radio. Living a regular life. A father. Anything. I just don’t wanna have regrets.
Any platforms or people you would like to shout out.
YOU ALREADY KNOWWWWWWWWWWWW! I’m finna shout THE WHOLE GANG OUT!
Hey Danii!!! I love you so much baby. You’re so beautiful If you in the Chicago area GET YOUR HAIR DONE BY HER IF SHE NOT BOOKED UP. Cuz she COLD ASLLLLLLLLL!!!! You are my biggest inspiration and support and you show me what work looks like everyday. You’re the hardest worker I know. The world is ours baby. We taking it all.
Also shoutout to my amazing family of artists and supporters. I love you Jackson 5. Mommy & Joesph too!
Shoutout to Kiayla Ryann. She finna be famous. She taught me so much about owning a craft and leading the way.
Shoutout Cram Jackson in the Wrestling world still giving them dudes that double leg CRAMMMM!!!! And still taking care of a beautiful family. He’s an amazing example of a man. Love you Raychelle.
Shoutout FridaFridaaaa! You’re gonna be famous before me. I swear. You’re my artistic inspiration. It’s already coming G!
Shoutout Khari BiZz! You can literally do anything you want to. You are excellent at everything you try man. The world is in your palms bro. CUT! CUT!
Shoutout to my best friend on EARTH. Dezmond DJ. Keep doing what you love man. You been such a support system to me man. Thank you forever bro. Check out his YouTube Channel @ Real DJA.
Shoutout to my Homiesssss!
Juicy James with the HITS. KEEP DROPPING THAT MAGIC. I see you growing everyday. You’re bound to success.
LEEMAJ! GODDAMN BRO! You up next already. I TOLD YOU THAT MUSIC STUFF IS YOURS. KEEP AT IT BIG BROTHER. U INSPIRE ME DAILY. NEVER CHANGE.
RXSHEED BE PATIENT. ITS ALL COMING TOGETHER IN ITS OWN TIMING. TRUST IT.
TY! Go for yo dreams G. It’s already yours G. You know your talent. Time to put that work in and focus on yourself. Love you sis!
Uncle Demmers, Sir KvreeM. You are a VISIONARY. KEEP NETWORKING. YOURE TALENT IS UNDENIABLE!
That’s all. BLOOM 🌺✨🙏🏾 SPREAD LOVE! Thank you.
Thank you for your time Xion it is really appreciated! Thank you to those reading this interview. Hope you all enjoyed it! Until next time horror fiends and hip hop heads! While you’re at it follow my blog on social media @7octoberz
on Instagram and Facebook! Also follow me on Spotify, iTunes, Anchor.fm/7octoberz
and Google Play Music
to listen to my audio content under: “Nightmare on Sedgwick Avenue