25ilu, real name Jade Arquitt, is a trans queer vocalist, producer, artist, and part time marxist revolutionary hailing from South King County. She attends the Interagency Academy in Seattle, and in her spare time likes to make music and espresso.
Who are some of your greatest influences?
I used to be really into classical music for a while when I was a kid, mostly to break from what my family was listening to. I really got into learning piano and eventually in the 5th grade started learning viola, but after playing in orchestra for 6 years and becoming first chair in my section I got tired of that too, so I went back towards the alternative music my family listened to, and what my friends showed me as well. I'm really open to any kind of music, but I'm drawn to rock rap and electronic; lofi music especially so, cause with lofi I feel it's the alternative approach to popular music entirely, not even so much because of quality or a certain style, but in my opinion it's a whole different way of going about music; not only can I express my emotions and vent about stuff that's happened in my life with lofi, like homelessness, being an alcoholic or having gender dysphoria, in ways I otherwise can't, the movement as a whole is still relatively underground yet very accessible to listen to and make, and it's something you can make at home or with your friends, and play at small shows and just very inclusive feeling, which is all opposed to paying a lot of money to go to a million dollar studio just to make 'that' sound and playing out stadiums and saying the same things that everyone else has, and following all these weird expectations and rules. A few artists that I would consider following or has followed the lofi ethos that I look up to would be Crystal Castles, XXXTentacion, Dance Gavin Dance, and Joji.
Tell us about your song. What inspired you? How do you hope listeners will receive your message?
HeartHeartHeart is mostly about emotions, specifically negative ones that I have, but also partially about being numb to everything. I know that I'm very clingy and irrational and naive and depressed and all these other things that people say they hate about me, but on the bright side I'm aware of that. There are a lot of people who say they care about the facts or never get emotional and they're just as emotional as me, but they're not even aware of it so it controls them even more. I hope people can learn that you should be aware of what you're feeling and what drives your actions and be brutally honest about that, as well as being honest that you have flaws because we all have them. I also hope that they realize that being honest is a process in itself and isn't overnight. It's okay to be afraid to come clean or admit that you're wrong, but in the long run, you should still try to attempt to be better about it cause it'll make you better as a person.
What have you learned from your experience with Totem Star? What are some of the biggest takeaways?
People would tell me I was very talented at what I do, and that it seemed like it all came so easily to me and it felt like that for a while, but talent doesn't get you anywhere on itself. Totem Star really helped me with that slump as an individual artist where I couldn't just rely on talent or what I already had learned, but had to continue to learn about music, things like stage presence, or audio engineering, etc. Another great thing about Totem Star is that I've met a bunch of other great young artists like myself who inspire me and make really good music too, and continue to open my mind not only to new music, but ideas, values, stories, and friendships; most of all, Totem Star gave me a community and a family that I could rely on when I hit rock bottom or didn't believe in my own vision, and to further me both as an individual and an artist.
What advice would you give to other young artists?
Put yourself out there. Having social anxiety, I have a lot of trouble with that still, but you have to really promote yourself. You're not gonna be the next big thing if you don't expose yourself, because everyone else is fighting to be the next big thing; it may look like your favorite artist became an overnight sensation, but behind that "instant success", there's a whole lot of sweat and tears that went into their craft and went into people hearing and discovering that. And most of all, unapologetically be yourself. Also, help dismantle capitalism if you're into that.