Photography by Hakeem Shabazz
If you were looking for your big break and received a D.M. from The Voice, would you answer? In 2018, that’s absolutely what singer-songwriter and multi-hyphenate creative XIMONE did. A spontaneous flight to L.A. put her “normal” life on pause. With a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure a spot on N.B.C. ‘s The Voice on the show’s fifteenth season. After countless meetings with lawyers, housing with other artists vying for a spot on the syndicated television show, a month of rehearsals, XIMONE’ ‘s blind audition arrived; not one chair turned for her.
An opportunity came knocking again for XIMONE, this time to open for Ella Mai and H.E.R at the 2018 Wynwood Best Lyfe Fest. She submitted an audition tape for a competition via Twitter and as pleased as she was to receive the news of her win, personal finances led XIMONE to decline the opportunity humbly. “This happens to a lot of creatives just working to keep up with life, rather than being able to go out and fully live your fucking dreams, right?”
Symone Stewart, who goes by her musical alias XIMONE, is a 25-year-old Alternative R&B – pop singer-songwriter. XIMONE, has been raised all along the east coast, born in Virginia, spending her adolescence in South Florida, and moving to New York. After high school, XIMONE packed up her things and moved to Boston. She connected with local musicians, performing and attempting to sneak into classes at Berklee College of Music. Over the next few years, XIMONE would call a few places home, begin classes for an Audio Engineering certificate, independently release a few projects, all while working at what she notes as one of the only other jobs outside of music she’s loved; Staples.
“In 2019, I started working at Chili’s. And I hated it, and I don’t think I hated a job that much in my life like I did at Chili’s,” XIMONE declares. “I have something valuable that I can be spending my time on.” From Colorguard to the chorus, marching band to musical theater, XIMONE felt a pull, an instant sense of home and connection to oneself within many disciplines of the performing artist she’s spent her entire childhood exploring. Initially an instrumentalist, XIMONE didn’t think she’d be singing, let alone sharing the music she had written with the world. A school talent show led to the-then ninth grade XIMONE signing up impulsively. Amidst hollering cheers, shaky video footage flashes to black as XIMONE’s mom, overcome with joy, drops the phone mid announcement of XIMONE’s first-place win.
That feeling of writing, sharing, and having a hand in every aspect of a body of work: from its initial voice note to what the cover art is going to look like. It is an indescribable feeling for XIMONE. Life and one’s responsibilities can sometimes consume us. If we don’t make space in our lives for the things we love, we’d never be able to see our visions outside of our head, our lyrics will never be able to be reinterpreted by others, and our own stories would not be told how we want them to.
XIMONE instinctively became conscious of this dilemma that not just herself but creatives in all fields have confronted. “I was telling myself I was like, you know, still making music. But knowing that I really wasn’t because I couldn’t focus on it”, XIMONE stated. Resilient and driven by nature, she chose to hold herself accountable for her own goals, her music, and her own desired reality. “Perspective is so important. And you need to see through all the extra shit and remind yourself what it is. And to see it on a board you have every day reminds you, oh, yeah, this is my to-do list today.” A cheerleader of affirmations, setting intentions, and claiming accolades that are already her’s. “I have ‘I’m a Grammy Award-winning songwriter’, I have me and Rihanna have a song together, Drake did it with Micheal Jackson, and he’s fucking dead.” XIMONE laughs.
One of the biggest, most recently accomplished goals for XIMONE was her recent move to Brooklyn. “I just felt like it was more accommodating to, honestly, a creative, queer black woman. Like it just makes more sense for me to be in a space that is like accepting and creative and young and like just so open arms.”
The pandemic is forcing many of us to slow our lives down and stay home. XIMONE has found this time accommodating for her to focus on creative pursuits without outside distractions. “I’m working on really building this day-to-day lifestyle instead of this like an occasional kind of lifestyle, staying very creative.” Instead of waiting for the next “big” opportunity to cross XIMONE’s path, she decided to create them.
In February 2021, XIMONE’s first release of the year, West Coast Love represents a duality of allies. “A sweet and soft guitar melody along-side a restless chorus with vocals that crash, like ocean waves.” West Coast Love “confronts the reality of mental wellness shifts in victims of emotionally abusive relationships.” The ambivalence of infatuation and contentment as she day-dreams.“
“I have been like the happiest that I’ve ever been and the most creative that I’ve ever been. And like I’m thinking the biggest I’ve ever been thinking, and you know, a lot of things are coming the way that I could have only hoped for back when I was in ninth grade talent show.” 2021 is the year of embracing her creativity full-force. Breathing life into all of her creative ventures and graciously giving to the world so that it generously gives back to her. Stepping into the life XIMONE has always dreamed of living. 2020 was a sneak peek; 2021 is the embodiment.
As of March 2021, XIMONE has officially changed her artist name to LORD SCORPIO, a name that holds the energy, if you allow it, to roll off your tongue. The fiery astrological sign paired with the strength that a lord encompasses. Someone who is concrete in their identity. Not giving a fuck about what anyone has to say about it. An identity that the songstress believes everyone should embody. An alter ego that one can desire to be whatever they wanted.
“The more that I’m concrete on who I am, what I stand for, my value, my time, all those things, the more concrete I am, the more that shit is coming to me.” – Lord Scorpio
To support LORD SCORPIO:
Follow on IG @theelordscorpio
Cashapp: $whymeeee Venmo: @symone-stewart
Ania B. Holland is an observant individual with a healthy blend of fire signs in her natal chart that allows her to become a social butterfly when needed. Originally from South Jersey, the twenty-year-old now resides in Brooklyn, NY, finishing the last few semesters of her undergraduate degree from NYU. A musician, poet, avid journaler, and a master chef in the making. Creating no matter the medium has been how Ania has learned how to use her voice and share who she is with the world around her.
Writing about others has become how Ania has realized she could help amplify others’ and artists’ voices specifically. Mixed Magazine has given Ania the platform to do such that. @Ania_Holland
More of Ania’s work in Mixed Mag: The Allure of Abby T. by Ania B. Holland (Issue 6)