“Music is my opportunity to try to understand and be better,” explains Xenia Rubinos. “I’ve been in a fight with words for over a decade, and it was time for me to face myself.”
It’s a surprising admission by the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter whose second album, Black Terry Cat (and first for Epitaph imprint ANTI-), is one of the most politically charged releases of 2016. BTC sees Rubinos confidently tackling race, gender and class inequities in America, but early on in Rubinos’s career such an album seemed a farfetched idea.
“It was, and is, really challenging to say what’s on my mind,” she says. “Facing myself is always the most nerve-racking and scary thing. Why is it that it’s so much easier to listen to others or do things for others than to listen to yourself? I don’t know, but I’m trying to change that. It’s a work in progress.”
“She was an incredible storyteller with so many important things to share with us,” gushes Rubinos. “She was truly reflecting her times and speaking to civil rights issues, racism and classism.” Simone’s enduring influence is all over Black Terry Cat.
After touring in support of her 2012 self-released debut, Magic Trix, Rubinos returned home with new eyes. Magic Trix garnered the genre-shifting artist buzz, inspiring her to come up with a “ghetto-fabulous rough elegance” sound based in funk, hip-hop and rock, and touring made her a more confident live performer.