The prefix Xen- means foreigner or stranger, and the suffix -Ne means ‘not.’ We are strangers to ourselves until we face the mirror and meet the eyes of humanity.
From her earliest days, Erica Xenne burned with passion, but her fire was too bright for the world to sustain. She poured herself into songs and diaries which evolved to novels and a singing career in her teens. Les Misérables was her first obsession, inspiring her to dance with her shadow and illuminating paths to salvation. She dreamed that one day, her own music might move others so profoundly, undressing their spirits and rousing them into catharsis.
Cycles of resurgence wove through Erica’s compositions, and also, her life. At sixteen, she fell ill and found herself on her death bed. “I may die,” she told herself, “and that is out of my control. But I am going to fight for life with everything I have, because I still have songs to sing.”
Though her battle with illness would continue indefinitely, she recovered most of her faculties – but there was one loss she could never reclaim. She emerged with vocal cord damage and was left speaking in a whisper permanently, wondering: what was the purpose of her life, if her striving was for naught, and who was she, now bereft of her greatest passion?
In the absence of direction and purpose, Erica was consumed by insatiable hunger. She devolved into isolated musings, poring over Jung, mythology and dreams in a desperate fight to face her demons. By ripping herself down to the animal within, she embodied her most primal energy, but shut down her vulnerability. She could desire, inspire and consume, but she could not love. A primordial sentiment expressed itself through her, as she became “So carnal, it’s spiritual.”
This lifestyle fueled a volcanic fury that erupted at age 21. As Erica rode in the car with a friend, both holding a crystal orb, an entire trilogy unfolded in her mind. The story followed a rebel’s rise to power with focus on challenging beliefs, seeking cosmic purpose and learning how to love. After unraveling themselves to unveil their connection to the universe, the characters join with the elements to determine the course of the world.
Though Erica had completed novels before, she was never a talented writer, but this story rested on philosophical underpinnings that had always compelled her. She resolved to gain the skills and insight to give birth to the vision. At school, she studied Comparative Religion and Anthropology; at home, she joined with linguist Elliott Lash to flesh out a shared universe. Yet her inner war raged on, and her early drafts suffered the consequence. It became clear that she could not nourish a hero’s voice until she resurrected her own.
Burning with conviction, she summoned the ghost of her voice to rise from the ashes. Her sound was elusive, broken and raw, but she persisted, building it up for years despite recurring health setbacks. She fought with blood, sweat and tears to capture any shred of potency, and beat the odds senseless.
“My powerful voice was reduced to a whisper, but I am still a vessel through which passion emerges,” said she. “Take my voice, my hair, my mobility, my memory… but if you want my fire, you will have to kill me.” Through this battle, she was reborn.
True to her hope, when Erica resumed her opus, she infused it with beauty and love. She is now preparing the first book for publication.
Her passion is to explore passion itself and her purpose is to be a vessel through which it emerges. This vessel is her very being, and she tweaks and refines it, forever honing the skill to capture the insights that erupt from the aether. She strives to mirror the forces that drive all beings at base, so that through her designs, others may see their own reflection. She hopes to strip them down until their illusions are destroyed, and all that is left is the beat of their hearts, dancing along to the rhythm of the world.
“On a deeper level, I live to expose my true self through my work. I feel I’m a vessel through which songs and stories emerge. The content serves as a mirror. It exposes parts of myself that are buried deep within my subconscious, and which might otherwise remain unnoticed. In sharing my work, I hope to function as a mirror for others. What success means, to me, is knowing that my fight to sing on my album, despite speaking in a whisper, has inspired someone else to create her own artwork. Success is hearing someone quote my lyrics or reference my stories because it expresses something SHE is feeling. I want people to see themselves in my work, rather than merely seeing “me.” I want to touch on something universal. And, through bearing my own soul, I hope to inspire others to express themselves honestly, and to pursue their dreams against all odds.” -Erica Xenne, 2012