When did you start your music journey? What was the moment for you, that you knew this is what you wanted to do as a career?
"My journey started when I was born. My father is a professional touring musician, so I was raised in the music world. He was constantly touring when I was a kid, so I got to go to some cool shows and be behind the scenes. It was a great experience for me, and only solidified my wanting to be a musician even more.
Right after middle school I started my first band, No One-Else. We were a three-piece alt grunge punk band. I was on drums. We played local shows, and eventually, tracked our first demo before graduation with our friend from school, Phil Allen, who went on to engineer songs for Daniel Powter, Adele, Aerosmith, P!nk, Miley Cyrus, and won a Grammy for Adele's "Someone Like You."
A few years after my first band, I joined Pretty In Stereo on lead guitar; we played the Vans Warped Tour on the ShiraGirl Stage and the Kevin Says Stage. Later, I became a hired gun for a hot min playing for other artists and shows. In 2017 I joined Barb Wire Dolls on Rhythm guitar, touring the U.S.A. That’s where I met Iriel, who would become the bassist for Xtine & The Reckless Hearts.
Those experiences inspired me to finally do something I had always dreamed about -- fronting and writing for my own band. I tried doing my own thing for years, but kept getting snagged for other opportunities. So, to finally get to do it now is absolutely EPIC! I feel blessed, humbled and thankful for my journey, and am still on it."
Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
"My father is my biggest musical inspiration. He’s a legendary bass player and producer in reggae music. I grew up in the back of stadiums and festivals, watching him play, listening to him on records and hearing stories from fans, friends and the music docs he’s been in. He’s lived quite the adventure of a life, playing for artists like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Ringo Star... too many to list. Besides my father, bands like My Chemical Romance, the Refused, The Living End, Smashing Pumpkins, From First To Last, Jimmy Eat World, Rancid, the Lunachicks and Saves The Day… just to name a few, are huge inspirations. I'm heavily influenced by the mid/late ‘90s to early 2000s era of alternative rock and punk. That era had an energy, feeling and nostalgia that, in my opinion, doesn’t match any other."
You’re the front woman of Xtine & The Reckless Hearts, how did you gals meet?
"It all started with my meeting Iriel on the Barb Wire Dolls Tour. We instantly clicked. We have a magic on stage together that you just don’t always get lucky enough to have. I told her about my idea for an all female comic-book band, and she was on board. From there I hit up Jeanette. My band used to play with her band so we knew each other from then. Jeannette was on board. I found Lou and Zoe doing a social media search for a female guitarist; they both popped up, and we were already following each other. It just so happens, that they had both just moved out here in the last couple of months looking for a band, it felt like it was meant to be. We all met up and jammed and were stoked with one another and our chemistry. Being in this band feels like a sisterhood - a girl gang of ferocious baddies! I’m so stoked and empowered to be around these women and to get to play music with them."
How do you navigate being a black woman in the pop-punk and alternative space?
"Being a black punk has always been interesting, especially with my father's past of playing with famous punks like the Sex Pistols. I’m biracial - black and white. The punk scene was always a scene of misfits, so naturally it felt right. I didn’t realize though, even misfits have biases. Being a woman you already have the stigma of not being “good enough”, so add color to that and you get reactions like, "You should sing pop or hip hop or try something else." The world wasn’t ready for Fefe Dobson but she conquered. I’m done waiting; you gotta make it ready and just do it! So, I navigate it by not caring what others think, by supporting as many women and women of color as I possibly can, and by trying to reach my voice as far as I can with my messages, hoping I can empower the next female or male to stand up for themselves, be yourself and be that change you wanna see in this world. I guess the messages in reggae music really did stick; like a seed, Peter and Bob’s words grew."
You and your band are starting your UK residency this month! What can we expect from it? What songs are you excited to play?
"Yes, it’s our Reckless in the UK Tour! May 25 - 30. We are going out with New York band, Killdeer. You can expect to see a hell of a rock show! We are ready to rock out and show the UK who the Xtine & Reckless Hearts are. We are super excited, as this is our first tour as a band. We will have a new merch line with us and copies of our new single, “Dead Weight” that we're promoting for the tour."
You have a new single “Dead Weight” coming out this month, what can we expect from it?
"Yes, I can’t even express how stoked I am for our single “Dead Weight”, it's our debut. The song was coproduced by Tim “Timebomb” Armstrong and mixed, mastered and engineered by TJ Rivera. It’s a hard hitting, raucous love song to yourself, delivering melodic lines of empowerment and sing-along gang vocals. I went through some shit, and this song told me it was okay, that I didn’t need anyone but myself. “Dead Weight” will be available on May 23rd on all streaming platforms."
What’s one piece of advice you wish you’ve learned early on about the music industry?
Start as soon as possible but don’t give up! Keep going, always! Learn as much as you can. Expand your mind. Always be genuinely you."
Do you have a dream artist you would like to work with in the future?
"Oh geeze, there are a few dream artists I’d like to work with. I already got to work with one so far, Tim Armstrong. Working with Tim was a dream come true. I was and am a huge Op Ivy and Rancid fan. I had an Op Ivy cover band at one point. I’d love to do something with Miley Cyrus, Linda Perry, Dave Grohl or Gerard Way. That’s honestly a hard question, there’s too much talent out there to choose. I’d just be gracious and blessed enough for whomever would want to work with me."
First concert you went to?
"First concert I attended was as a baby in the womb. I’ve been going to my dad's shows since I was a kid. My first rock show was the Vans Warped Tour. I was a tween and it was mind blowing for me. I saw Eminem, Sevendust, Pennywise, the Living End... so many of the greats of the end of the ‘90’s. I looked over to my friend, and told her one day I would play that festival; years later, I did. Thinking about that makes me feel humbled, it’s been a journey, and I still have the passion."
If you could pick one album to be the soundtrack of your life, what would it be and why?
"Maybe the soundtrack for the film Hackers for its moodiness; I’d feel like I’m in an action film, ha ha or hmm, the Josie and the Pussycats soundtrack - it’s fun."
Any new female artists you’re currently listening to?
"I started listening to the Nova Twins, Marmozets, Amyl and the Sniffers. When Covid hit it really allowed me to explore new music and artists again. I found so many incredible strong female voices roaring up, and the call was loud and clear. The future is female!"
Favorite TV Show?
"I’m a geek when it comes to television shows. My all-time is the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel series. I think Joss Whedon's story telling is just amazing, incredible character building. Nowadays, I’ve strangely been really into Seinfeld, Monk and a few random others. The world is pretty dark and those shows take me to a lighter, not so serious place, you can chill and enjoy. Haha, I don’t know; maybe I’m a weirdo for it, but I love ‘em."
Most inspirational quote?
"'Be the change you wanna see in this world.' I carry that in my heart everyday. It’s my motto."
One word to describe yourself?
What’s your ideal day?
"Chill but productive. I live for hanging with my dog. So, any day with my pup is ideal and any day playing music with my band is ideal."
Where do you see yourself (or the band) in five years?
"In five years I hope to accomplish whatever I possibly can. I love acting and this is based off of a comic book I’ve been writing. If I could see that in production, I’d be living an absolute dream come true. I’d love for us to be touring the world like my father has, and I’d like to see us releasing more music and expanding our brand, while also empowering girls around the world."
Biggest advice for young women entering the music industry?
"Fuck ageism! Seriously, don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t, you’re too old, you're too young, you’re not pretty enough, not mainstream, not typical. Just fucking go for it and hard! Biggest lesson I learned was to say YES to the universe. The moment I said NO to what’s expected from women in music and YES to me and what I want and hope to accomplish, my world opened exponentially. Also, women must support other women! We must unite and we must come together more so than ever."
How did you get involved with Gritty In Pink? What does it feel like being a part of building a community for women in music?
"I got involved technically back when Shira started the ShiraGirl stage at the Vans Warped tour. From the beginning she's always been about supporting women in music. When she started Gritty in Pink I was ALL about it! I wanted to be involved, so when I was asked to do the livestreams and shows it was an honor. Supporting Gritty In Pink means supporting women in music and the music industry. Gritty has my reckless heart for sure!"
Any final comments?
"Thank you to Gritty In Pink, I’m truly honored and thankful for your platform. I hope to see more girls like me pick up a guitar and fuck shit up! See everyone in the UK! And don’t forget to get our debut single “Dead Weight” available on all streaming platforms May 23rd."