Are we about to introduce you to your new favorite artist? We sure think so! Meet XTIE, a powerhouse songwriter and producer, hailing from Hong Kong whose undeniable talent has captured our hearts. Her debut EP APOLLO-23 recently dropped and we’ve been feeling over the moon and at home in the stars with every listen.
Whether you’re trying to overcome body image issues with ‘Skin,’ feeling the power and elation of ‘麥田看守員 (Field of Gold)’ or vibing to ‘Virgo,’ there’s something special for everyone in this cosmic pop piece of work. We got to talk to XTIE all about her exciting debut and what it has meant to her!
Congratulations on the release of your APOLLO-23 EP! The title is so interesting in the way it can link to both space missions and Greek mythology, what was the inspiration behind the title of the EP?
The name “Apollo” references the Apollo space missions, which were a series of groundbreaking human spaceflight missions that captivated the world and also it refers to the God of Sun & Light, where I want my listeners to feel good when they listen to my songs. I wanted to create a title that evoked a sense of exploration, curiosity, to dive deep in our own little universe to stay true to who we are.
‘Skin’ is such a powerful and emotive song, anyone who has ever struggled with finding comfort and power in their body can relate to it. Could you share more about the story behind the song and how you found the courage to write something so powerful but vulnerable and share it with your listeners?
‘Skin’ is a very personal song for me. It talks about the struggles and journey of finding self-acceptance and empowerment of having Eczema since a young age. The story behind the song comes from my own experiences and battles with body image and self-confidence. I wanted to write something that could resonate with others who may have faced similar struggles. It took a lot of courage to be vulnerable and share such personal stories. I wasn’t confident with my skin back then, but now I found confidence in music. Therefore, I want to use my own story to connect with anyone who has body image issues. We all deserve to feel beautiful.
If you had to pick one song from the EP that you feel best represents who you are as an artist, which track would you pick and why?
‘Spaceship!’ I love to describe my music as “cosmic pop” – which is a concept that I bring both musically and visually to my listeners’ world. I think ‘Spaceship’ is a good “get-to-know-me” song as it sets the closest concept of my “cosmic pop” world sonically and visually. It’s hard for me to pick one song, I also want to pick ‘Skin’ as mentioned it’s such an important song of mine as a person (not just as an artist) – but I think this would be the 2nd song I’d introduce to my new listeners, like after the “get-to-know-me” song as an intro, ‘Skin’ is more like the “deeper conversation” with a close friend.
It’s so impressive when artists are involved in all aspects of their work from writing to production, you produce a lot of your own work. What was it that first inspired you to get into music production?
I started playing music and singing in musical theatre back in my early teenage years. One day I realized just my vocals and piano weren’t able to tell the story in different angles (cos I’m not a good keyboard player) so I was interested in how to make a proper demo. Self-teaching myself music production became a big part of my early journey because of that. I want to have creative control and the ability to shape the sound of my music. As an artist, I wanted to have a hand in every aspect of the creative process, from writing lyrics to crafting the melodies and producing the tracks. It allowed me to bring my artistic vision to life and experiment with different sounds and textures. It also gave me the freedom to fully express myself and create a unique sonic identity – which is “cosmic pop”.
Which part of the creative process is your favorite, and does it differ from song to song?
Each song has its own unique journey, and the creative process can differ from track to track. Sometimes a song may start with a powerful emotion or a personal experience, or a hook line or even just a lyric. While other times it may begin with experimenting and exploring different sounds. Regardless of the starting point, I enjoy the entire process of crafting a song, from the initial inspiration to the final production. My favorite moment is the initial spark of inspiration, like the universe is sending me this message for me to create. It’s always the most organic moment.
We saw you cut up a CD to send pieces out to fans which is such a fun idea and we love that you’re encouraging people to focus on personal connections and community. It got us thinking, what is your favorite way to connect with your fans and why?
Destroying my own physical CD into pieces was so much fun (HA!) and as an artist it got me thinking about the tangible and the intangible meaning of the people’s interaction – like buying a physical album (even though they can stream the songs with one press on the phone). Connecting with my fans is incredibly important to me, and I’m always exploring different ways to engage with them. One of my favorite ways to connect is through social media platforms like TG group, where I can directly interact with my fans, share updates, and have meaningful conversations. I also enjoy live performances and concerts, as they provide an intimate and immersive experience for both the audience and myself.
You write a lot of incredible music and not just for yourself! When you start writing music, how do you choose what songs you want to keep and which you want to work with other artists on?
Some songs are deeply personal and resonate with my own experiences, making them ideal for my solo work. However, there are times when I come up with a song that I feel would benefit from the unique perspective and voice of another artist. And most of the time, when I write/produce for another artist, the purpose of the song is already very clear that it’s for a particular artist, so the creative process will be directing the song to that artist specifically from the start of the writing session.
We love that ‘麥田看守員 (Field of Gold)’ is sung in Cantonese, an ode to your hometown of Hong Kong. How important was it to you to pay homage to your background on your debut EP?
I always want to release a song that’s in my mother tongue – Cantonese. This song needs to be sung in Canto because it’s a song that I want to thank those who have been supporting me throughout the journey, my family, my friends, and my fans. I feel that in these 3 years, I grew a lot as an artist and I realize we need to protect and cherish our ‘Field of Gold’ that we already have, because sometimes social media draws our attention to things we don’t have yet. It’s easy for us to forget what we’ve got already. It’s important to celebrate and be grateful for the little joy in our daily life. Singing the song in Canto is also a way for me to honor the culture, language, and people that have shaped me as an artist and an individual. And I hope I can introduce my culture to a wider audience and promote diversity and inclusivity in the music industry.
You were recently in the UK performing at The Great Escape festival and FOCUS Wales. Is it a different atmosphere playing festivals and shows abroad compared to back home in HK?
I had such an amazing time there! International festivals often attract a diverse crowd, bringing together people from various backgrounds and cultures who may be experiencing my music for the first time. It’s an opportunity to connect with new listeners, explore different musical landscapes, and showcase my artistry on a global platform. On the other hand, performing in Hong Kong is like coming home to a familiar and supportive community. There’s a sense of shared experiences and a deeper connection with the audience who have been following my journey from the beginning. Both experiences are special in their own way, and I cherish the opportunity to perform in different settings.
What’s next for XTIE? Any fun news you can share for the year ahead?
I hope to do more tours in the future with my new EP, APOLLO-23! And more new releases coming soon!
Not only is XTIE incredibly talented, but she also just radiates an energy so powerful and positive that it’s sure to impact anyone who has the good fortune of coming across her record. We literally have no choice but to stan. Make sure you get your copy of her debut EP APOLLO-23 here so you don’t regret missing out on the start of this stars journey.