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Singer-Songwriter Allie X Shares What the ‘X’ Stands For and the Meaning Behind Her Music

By Playboy Staff

For this month’s Playboy “No Filter” series, singer-songwriter Allie X shared her thoughts on life, music and fame.

“I’m no expert on Carl Jung, but I’m connected to his concept of the shadow self. So the X in my name stands for the variables in life. We all have an X. My music is about the journey to finding a sense of wholeness. But I’m not some religious cult leader telling people they won’t be whole until they do the same. Being confused is a big part of it. After all, the least complex thing about me is that I’m a white girl who grew up in the suburbs.”

On the concept of her second EP, CollXtion II, out this spring

With each album, I’m telling a new chapter of the story of X. The idea is that listeners will start asking questions of themselves and looking for their own truths. Everyone’s experience of X will be different. In my first EP, CollXtion I, the girl’s shadow split from her real self. It left the two parts missing each other and trying to find a way to reunite. In CollXtion II, the plot moves forward.

On her reputation as a visual artist

I make music that some would call sugary sweet with a metallic understating. Sonically, my music doesn’t sound like it looks in my head. To get the feeling fully across, I need to give people the visuals so they get the full aesthetic.

On her influences

Carl Jung will remain an influence of the CollXtion project, but I’ve also recently become a fan of Roman Polanski, as this sort of figure in exile. I watched this documentary about him while he was under house arrest in Switzerland called Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. It was an informal film and the filmmaker used a lot of stock footage to tell his story. It made me realize what an extraordinary life Polanski has had, with an extraordinary amount of pain. And yet, he’s so daring and intelligent in his filmmaking. I’ve been inspired by that this year.

On her inner demons

I have a seeming tendency toward conflict. I’m always trying to make my life a little heavier than it needs to be. I don’t know if it’s for my artistic purpose or if it’s just my personality, but I am drawn to creating melancholic situations and feeling a sort of darkness. That’s unhealthy. I don’t want that on a rational level. One of my ultimate goals in life is to find a sense of peace and quiet and wholeness. That is what the story of X is telling: It’s a girl’s journey to reunite both sides of herself and to finally be whole.

On her bubbling fame

I will never answer questions about my past or my personal life, but I’m not really famous enough yet to have done so many interviews that anything is painful. I haven’t had to deal with obnoxious journalists because people who write about me are doing it because they want to support me.

On the music industry’s biggest blind spot

I don’t get down about writing stupid pop for other people; in fact, I enjoy it. But stupidity is the worst thing about the music industry right now. There have been times where I’ve gotten frustrated that what I’m doing isn’t obvious enough for some executives. That causes me to get more jaded, but that happens when you get older anyway—no matter what field you’re in.

On the music industry’s digital era

This industry is an open playing field. The rules are changing. You don’t need to be on a major label to get your song heard. It’s incredible to watch the rise of [YouTube artist turned recording artist] Troye Sivan, with whom I wrote songs for his debut album Blue Neighbourhood. He started off as a kid YouTube. Ten years ago, that wouldn’t have happened. You have all this power and possibility that hasn’t existed before.

CollXtion II, Allie X’s next release, is out this spring.

Photographer Olivia Jaffe
Stylist Shelly Glascock
Hair & Make Up Sara Cranham