CINCINNATI — As it did for many musicians, this spring offered the opportunity for Cincinnati singer/songwriter Xzela to return to the stage after the pandemic shutdown, but her performance at Fountain Square in April was more than just a post-pandemic return.
“It was also my first show back from a two-year hiatus, because I had a baby,” Xzela explained during her interview on WCPO Lounge Acts. “It was really emotional to get back up there. It kind of makes everything feel real again.”
WATCH SUNDAY: Xzela performs for WCPO Lounge Acts:
Since her debut album "Monster" in 2016, Xzela has been making music and frequently working with other local artists. In addition to her follow-up album "Paint," she also released two collaborative albums in 2017: “celestialove” with emcee/producer Devin Burgess and “SadLibs” with poet-turned-singer Luna Bruja.
“I just love working with other people,” Xzela said about her collaborations. “Cincinnati has an insane amount of talent in it. I love knowing everyone as collaborators and friends.”
On her recordings, Xzela’s reverb-soaked, soulful voice sits atop a dreamy, chill blanket of drum machines, synths and other electronics. Using electronics, she creates a modern, ethereal vibe.
For her WCPO Lounge Acts performance, Xzela brought her live band. While her modern soul/hip-hop vocal style is still clear, her band adds an upbeat classic soul sound behind her.
“I like performing with tracks because I feel like I have more control over knowing exactly what it sounds like, but there’s so much more dynamic with a live band,” she explained.
To hear the difference, check out the recorded version of “Starry” below, then watch online Sunday evening to hear her live band performance when Xzela’s WCPO Lounge Acts premieres on Facebook and YouTube.
Now that she's reemerged, Xzela says she has big plans.
“I’ve got a bunch of stuff in the vault. Now I just need to decide what to do with it.”
Keep an eye on her Bandcamp page for her latest releases.