Colorado Springs songwriter balances music with full-time work as a therapist | Culture & Leisure
She was mentioned on the same page as Dolly Parton. She has been recognized as one of the best songwriters of 2020 by multiple publications across multiple genres. A music site called her recent album “one of the most musically and spiritually thrilling efforts of the year.”
These musical accolades belong to Xanthe Alexis. But “musician” is just one way to describe Alexis.
The longtime Colorado Springs resident is also a full-time trauma therapist, single mother and social activist.
If you’re wondering how Alexis does all of this, you wouldn’t be alone.
It works, she says, because music and therapy go hand in hand. They are both in the healing business.
“I wouldn’t be good at one career without the other,” Alexis said. “They balance me out.”
This balance of things made her the person she is. And made his music what it is.
At age 15, Alexis moved from Michigan to Colorado Springs. At 19, she became pregnant with her first child, and a year later her sister died of a heart defect. These years, described as “tumultuous” on her website, made her life mission clear: she wants to help people.
His music, a mix of bluegrass and folk led by his haunting and captivating vocals, has been part of that mission for most of his adult life. That may have helped more than ever in August 2020, when Alexis released her latest album, “The Offering.”
Social media followers and music critics commented on how timely the album sounded, which seemed oddly prophetic when they realized Alexis had written these songs more than a year before the pandemic began. .
“I wasn’t the only one who felt something weird was going to happen soon,” Alexis said of the season she was writing the album. “I think there was a general feeling of a lot of unrest.”
She was not alone in this category of songs predicting the future. Let’s remember that one of the best songs of 2019 was called “If the World Was Ending”.
As the live music world came to a standstill, Alexis released her album in hopes of, once again, helping people.
“I knew the material had an uplifting message and I wanted people to have it,” she said. “The material was good for the time.”
Consider the album’s opener, “Compass,” which suggests we carry on even when we can’t see what’s next.
There’s also “The Heart Needs Time”, which Alexis describes as a “tantrum about life not working”. It’s about those bad days when sometimes you just don’t want a silver lining. “There’s no big positive message,” she said.
She said her producers explained the message like this, “It’s like, yeah, girl, have your bad day.”
The album’s overall offering is a glimpse into your relationship with yourself, which is fitting for anyone who’s been spending more time alone than usual in 2020 or 2021.
Alexis has heard many comments along these lines. “Human emotion is truly universal,” she said. “If I’m honest about my feelings, someone else will relate to them.”
Before giving it to others, Alexis made this album for herself.
“Music is always, for me, a way to calm myself down,” she said. “I reach for it as a therapeutic thing in my life.”
She wrote “The Offer” as the story of a person trying to connect to something bigger.
“We see the hero or heroine take an inner journey,” she said. “If (listeners) so choose, they could embark on a transformative journey themselves as they go along.”
For Alexis, this journey led to finding what she was looking for.
“It’s love,” she said. “It’s the hope that doesn’t need proof.”
The album has received a lot of praise online, but Alexis has yet to perform much live due to the pandemic. That will change during a show this weekend at Lulu’s Downstairs. She will perform songs from “The Offering” as well as songs from an upcoming album titled “Lover’s Mark,” which explores the love she has found.
“I found it, then I had to forget about it and find it again for the new record,” she said. “It’s living, I think.”