Religion has always played a paramount role in vōx’s life. Hailing from Minnesota, the now Los Angeles-based artist grew up in a Lutheran church and it was precisely there that she had an epiphany of her own. In the altar, at only 13 years old, shame consumed her. She did not belong. But the refuge Church once seemed to provide can now be found within herself.
Singing with unparalleled vulnerability, vōx is not that 13-year-old anymore. The artist is on the verge of a new era – visually and sonically. Picking up seamlessly from her previous offerings, her sophomore EP, aptly titled I Am Not A God, turns faith in its head. Filled with hypnotising rhythms and bona fide lyricism, the songstress critically and poignantly tackles anxiety, rebirth, and healing – in turn, defining religion in her own terms. Her trademark veiled look got an upgrade with face paint and a halo for the first single off the EP, also titled I Am Not A God, and more changes are surely on the horizon. Equal parts mesmerising and heartrending, vōx finds sanctuary in her self-worth in this project. To celebrate the launch of the EP, we catch up with vōx to discuss her inspirations, parting ways with the Church and faith.
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This album was inspired by your “deeply religious” upbringing. When did you first start getting conflicting sentiments about the Church?
I would have been quite young when I started feeling conflicted in church. I remember how much of a fraud and how forced it felt when I did my confirmation ceremony. It was the first time I came close to a panic attack, being on that sanctuary stage. I think the concept of faith was the hardest thing for me to swallow. I’ve always struggled with anxiety. And, in essence, having anxiety is an inability to have faith. It’s hopelessness for the future. You don’t trust that things will turn out.
The album feels even more personal than your previous offerings. Why now? Why did you ultimately decide to put all those feelings into song form?
I know now more than ever the importance of vulnerability in my personal life and in my art. I want to grow as a person, and writing helps me work through the feelings I can’t find any other way to express.
Apart from your own story, was there anything else that inspired you to create I Am Not A God?
It’s all very personal. I guess the other force that fuels me is the support of fans. I do ask myself quite often, how can I help others who are struggling like I’ve struggled?
From beginning to end, the full EP listens as a story of rebirth and vulnerability. Did you intend it that way?
Yes, definitely. My process of making projects is to step back and ask myself the purpose and the story. This one especially, I wanted to explore things I hadn’t before and dig deeper into my childhood.
Since you’re focusing on your childhood, what story did you hope to tell? What do you hope people will take away from this EP?
It’s a story of growth and love. Through forgiveness and acceptance of my humanity and my flaws, I’ve found that I’m enough.
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Religion has been a predominant theme in your repertoire. Do you feel like you are finally done with it going forward? What other themes would you like to explore in the future?
I think since everything I write is directly connected to the things I'm working on internally, I'm probably not done with religion. I think I've undergone a significant amount of healing in making this work. The new songs I'm writing are not about religion. Currently, I've been exploring how to reconnect with my body and going deeper into sexual trauma I've experienced in the past and the ways that's affected me.
Would you say this highlights a new era for you?
It feels like a new era, certainly! This year has been a ton of change. I almost don’t recognize who I was a few years ago.
Do you feel some part of you is still religious to this day?
I feel spirituality and a connectedness to the earth and everything around me. I personally haven’t reached a conclusion to my religious past yet.
While you might still be unsure, religion seems to have inspired the EP not only lyrically but also melodically. What influences did you pull when composing?
Some of the first music I heard were hymns in the church, so it could very well be melodically inspired by that in my subconscious. I pull a lot of influence from vocalists who push boundaries like James Blake or Kendrick Lamar. I’m always trying to find new ways to manipulate my voice.
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How would you say this EP picks up from your debut, I Was Born?
I’m a person who craves change and growth. I’m not afraid of pushing forward. I Was Born felt like a rebirth for me, but so does I Am Not A God. I think I'll always feel that way because I'm constantly shedding my skin to reach new levels of vulnerability.
For I Was Born, you decided to put up a performance in a church. Are you planning something similar for this one?
Perhaps. You’ll have to wait and see!
How are you planning to translate the theme of the project into your performances?
The live performance has grown a lot since my last EP. I’m taking the rawness and vulnerability of the songs and attempting to share those feelings on stage. It can be terrifying but it’s so rewarding.
Lastly, how do you hope to continue after I Am Not A God? Where do you see yourself headed?
I'm headed toward the stage. That's definitely my goal for next year. I want to tour and perform as much as possible. It's the purest way for me to share my soul.
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