WithLoveXavier‘s This is Fine is the culmination of years of work and progress. From elementary school choir to rubbing elbows with superstars, Xavier has stayed committed to his artistic progression and the values that he represents in his life and music. We spoke with him about his artistic journey, his inspirations, and what the music means to him; check out the conversation below, and be sure to listen to the debut album whenever you get your music!
Tell us about yourself…
My name is Matthew Xavier Hunter, and I go by WithLoveXavier. I’m a singer and songwriter.
What’s the first album that you ever downloaded or purchased?
I think the first actual album was Sisqo’s album, Enter the Dragon, that’s what got me hooked on music. I used to sit on my couch as a little kid, I’d have the Walkman with the little CD in there, just bumping it on repeat. That was probably my first real taste of music.
How did you first get into music?
I started off doing music in elementary school, just doing chorus and stuff. In middle school, I was the lead of the choir, but I always had a love for band, so I ended up focusing on playing saxophone rather than on singing. The vocal teacher was so upset with me, she was even crying, because she saw my potential but I had to follow my heart to pursue other areas of music.
Fast forward a few years, I had some free time in college between classes and playing basketball, so I started writing and exploring my voice. One of my boys used to rap, so we would hit the studio together, and then from there it just kind of snowballed. More people starting listening, I got more involved in the creative process, etc. At a certain point my DJ, DJ Los, introduced me to a management agency called Crew Love, and they started promoting my stuff and helping me make connections in the industry. They linked me up with Ciroq, they took me out to Miami, met celebrities like Flloyd Mayweather and Dave East, and since then the rest is history.
Could you tell us about some of the inspiration behind this project?
This Is Fine is my debut album, it’s really just a reflection on life and love. The ups and downs of love, and how it can be beautiful but also toxic and challenging. I really just wanted to relate the music to my life and what I’ve been through. During the recording process, I really take inspiration from people like Gucci Mane, where I just listen to a beat and then freestyle to it. From there, I get a story and then right about it, starting with the hooking and developing from there. It’s really just a full-length love story of my life.
When you were creating this project, did you have any specific ideas or intentions in mind?
When I made the album, I wanted to give my fans a piece of me and what I’ve been through, but also to share a story that they could relate to. I think many people have had some of these same experiences, and those things can stick with us throughout our lives. Through the recording process, I asked myself how people would relate to the songs, and what emotional impact that might have on them. I want people to connect to it, and to keep coming back.
In terms of crafting the sound, did you have any specific ideas or inspirations?
Some of the love songs have dancehall influences, some of my biggest tracks have connections to afrobeat and dancehall, so that’s always a part of my inspiration. To be honest, the beat process for me is very natural, I just get a lot of beats and ideas from people and then choose which ones I vibe with the most, so it’s not so much a specific approach as it is a curation of what is available to me. I just go with what my ear likes, and hope that people like it too.
What are your goal for this project, what do you want people to know about it and about you as an artist?
I just want people to know that I’m here now, I really feel like this is my time to branch out as an artist, and I’m ready to show the world what I have to offer. I also want to be a positive male presence in R&B and hip hop in terms of the way that I speak about and treat women, because I think that’s something that we need more of. I want to bring women to light, bring love to light, and to celebrate all of the beauty that can come from that.
Could you speak more to that? What made you want to make that statement with your music?
I sort of consider myself to be a feminist. I’m in a relationship right now with a beautiful woman, and I feel like she needs to hear songs that pick her up, and not just objectifying or painting women in a certain light. I want her to be able to look in the mirror, and know that she is beautiful and that she is loved. A lot of music nowadays can be belittling towards women, and I feel like that’s wrong, I think we should support them in any way that we can.
Absolutely, thank you for sharing that.
To wrap up, is there anything else that you would like to mention about yourself or your music?
First of all, just want to say thank you all for supporting me and for hosting me on your platform. I’m just really excited, this is my debut album and it’s going great so far. I’ve got a feature on there from Ne-Yo, so super grateful for that, and I’m grateful for all of my other collaborators as well (shout out 9d4 Ju and Priya the Mystic). I think this is a great album for people to bump, it’s not super long so I hope that people can spend some time with it and they can find some meaning within it. I hope that this is a great starting point for me in my career, and I’m looking forward to the future!