story / Catherine Santino
vōx is not a god, and she doesn’t want to be. In her new single ‘I Am Not a God”, the LA-based singer and songwriter comes to terms with her imperfection and urges others to do the same. Originally from Minnesota, vōx (pronounced “wokes”) grew up in a deeply religious household “where emotions were stifled and shamed.” Her music, specifically the new single and forthcoming EP, is a tool to heal from the trauma of her religious past.
“I Am Not a God” uses soaring synth and vōx’s hypnotic vibrato to take the listener on a journey of spiritual awakening. “My eyes are half open / I don’t know the truth / I want to,” she sings, almost chanting.
“Writing this project has uncovered all the ways those ideas I was taught fucked with my self worth and thus my ability to stand up for myself and my body,” she says of the single, which was co-produced by Alexander Vincent. “I really want to create a safe space for anyone who feels shame in their humanity and imperfection to begin the unpacking and start the healing.”
I spoke with vōx about creating the cathartic record, unlearning shame and using music as a way to heal.
I also grew up religious and had to learn to separate myself from those beliefs overtime and heal from the damage they caused. What’s the biggest message you wanted to get across in this song? How did writing it help you to heal?
In essence, “I Am Not A God” is a declaration of my humanness and imperfection. I’m saying I’d like to do better and acknowledging that the intention is enough. I don’t need to be perfect to be worthy. When I was younger writing was my only outlet to get feelings out of my body. I grew up in a household where emotions were stifled and shamed. Sometimes I’ll still finish a song and burst into tears.
Was there a turning point for you in terms of learning to take back your self-worth and identity? What was that like?
It’s been a slow journey versus a real turning point, but the freedom of expression I’ve found in making art has burst me wide open. It’s allowed me to start discovering myself outside religion and my family.
How do fashion and other visual mediums influence your artistry?
I’m always thinking about the visual picture of a project as much as the music. I want to create a world people can enter into, and the visuals are a big piece of that. I have a deep soul connection to fashion. I remember being a teenager and seeing an issue of Italian Vogue for the first time. I desperately wanted to be able to express myself through these beautiful things I was seeing in the pages.
What would you tell someone who’s struggling with their identity, whether it be religious or otherwise?
The most important aspect for me has been forgiveness. I still carry so much shame that I’m unaware of, but the closer I get to unconditional self love the closer I get to myself. When you have that self worth, you allow every part of yourself to be celebrated. You see the value in your imperfections too.