Music has always been a part of Xenia's life.
As a result, the 17-year-old Southern California native delivers honest and soulful pop songs with palpable vitality. That energy landed her in the Top 8 on NBC's hit television show, The Voice, as the youngest finalist. It's apparent in her recent duet with Jon McLaughlin, "Maybe It's Over". Most importantly, it courses through the fabric of her forthcoming digital EP for Universal Republic Records, Sing You Home, due out in December 2011.
Coming from what she describes as a "musical family", she began learning guitar at six-years-old. Xenia played the instrument off and on throughout elementary school, but it wasn't until she heard McLaughlin's "Indiana" that she decided to try singing.
While listening to the likes of Billy Joel and Johnny Cash, she'd sing around the house quietly and despite her mother's urging, the shy and soft-spoken girl tried to initially hide her gift. While in her first year of high school, Xenia reluctantly entered a local singing contest and won.
"I'd listen to music and dream about it," she reveals. "I didn't know that I wanted to pursue it as a career until that contest. I tried to keep it a secret."
The secret was out, and she began to chase that dream actively. She found out about The Voice auditions in Los Angeles on Twitter, merely two weeks after starting an account. Her parents brought her to the audition, and she nailed it. The NBC show became a massive hit, garnering incredible ratings and soon adding a second season. For Xenia, it was a monumental event. She cultivated a fervent fan base and grew immensely in the process as a result of being on the show.
"It really changed my life," she exclaims. "Everything was different, and I learned so much about myself, music, and everything really."
While on the show, her performances of The Script's "Breakeven" and "The Man Who Can't Be" and Jessie J's "Price Tag" enamored not only the judges but audiences everywhere. Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton both vied to work as her vocal coach with Xenia choosing the latter.
"Blake really believes in me, and he's become very important to my life," she declares. "The Voice helped me break out of my shell. For a long time, I was insecure about singing. I hadn't even told anyone that I wanted to sing for a long time. Being on the show opened me up a lot and motivated me. I realized I don't have to be scared to do something I love."
Now, her confidence shines through brightly on Sing You Home's four songs. Her lilting acoustic guitar and soothing delivery carries "Light Years" while the title track begins with Xenia emanating a jazzy swagger while playing a propulsive piano line. About "Sing You Home", she goes on, "Singing always makes me feel good. The song is about music chasing you down. You can't really escape it. Music is everywhere, and it means a lot to people—especially me."
Across the landscape of the EP, Xenia paints unforgettable pictures that are elegant and eloquent beyond her years. She says, "The purpose of music is to tell a story, and anyone can take those stories and relate to them."
For Xenia, the story starts with Sing You Home, and it's got countless chapters to come. Everyone's welcome to be a part of this tale too. Xenia concludes, "I want to make people feel the way I do when I listen to songs I love. I hope people can relate to these songs and feel them. I want them to be a part of it."