Every so often, a new crop of artists from emerging generations rises to challenge deeply ingrained social conditioning. Whether you are challenging systemic oppression or advocating for climate change initiatives, it can be argued that all artists have a role to play — a responsibility to respond.
That said, singer-songwriter vōx (pronounced "wokes," the Latin word for "voice") feels firmly rooted in her calling. In her music and visual art, she illuminates the beauty of nature and the power of one's voice. Sonically, she stretches the limits of her own voice, whether she's singing classically or experimenting with artificial dimensions. The use of Auto-Tune becomes a meta-commentary on our cyborgian potential, and dramatic classical flair highlights musical ancestry. (Take in her debut EP, last year's I Was Born and her gorgeous recent cover of Frank Ocean's "Swim Good," for example).
Visually and, perhaps, spiritually, vōx's work feels called most to honor the literal ground we as human beings come from.
"One of the things I try to portray through vōx is the limitless power we all have, and really what's more powerful than nature; growth, erosion, salt, light, water," she tells PAPER. "To be in the natural world is inherently to accept what cannot be controlled."
The artist's new multimedia project, Where I Was Born, visually expands on this idea, with an accompanying solitary live cover performance of Julie London's "Cry Me a River," for an upcoming EP.
"The initial inspiration for Where I Was Born was a trip I took to the Giant Sequoia National Monument in California," vōx tells PAPER. "It's pretty out of this world, just from a visual standpoint. I became obsessed with the dichotomy of who I am and what I do with vōx and the purity of nature. The changing landscapes in California are incredibly inspiring to me, and I definitely wanted to showcase that."
As for the song she's singing in the sequoia forest, vōx says that covering "Cry Me a River" was born as a way to soothe her ongoing stage fright. "It's one of the first songs I sang live when I started playing shows," she explains. "I would walk out on stage and my hands would be shaking too much to play my keyboard. So I used to start all of my sets singing this song a cappella to help me relax."
Listen to the PAPER premiere of "Cry Me a River," above, which is hosted by social media platform Vero, and includes behind-the-scenes outtakes, and see images of vōx's voyage through nature, below.