Ears Wide Open: Xelli Island

today04/08/2021 3

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Xelli Island is the dream-pop project of Lianna Vanicelli, who writes songs about self-realization informed by her blue-collar upbringing as a Filipino-American in Detroit and her experiences paying her dues in the Motor City music scene.

After debuting in early 2020 with the songs that would become her “Meet Me at the Waterfall” EP, Xelli Island today releases “Flutter,” her first single for Terrible Records’ Flexible Distribution. In its bright melody and airy vocals, the singer-songwriter muses on her own pratfalls and direction, interjecting some nifty wordplay: “Fight or flight, butterfly / undercut or hit the sky.”

“The song is about strengths and weaknesses and acceptance,” she says, adding that it “intentionally leaves a lot of room for interpretation, but to me it’s about evolving and breaking free from what you know isn’t good for you, accepting all parts of yourself, not taking life too seriously, and always pushing forward towards growth.”

Olivia Purugganan collaborated with the artist on the lyric video, which, the singer notes, “has this whole ‘emo fairy emerging from the darkness vibe’ that I love.”

Like the songs on Xelli Island’s EP, the new tune is a collaboration with producer and fellow Detroit native Jon Zott.

||| Stream: “Flutter”

||| Also: Stream the “Meet Me at the Waterfall” EP

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