People, especially performers, invent personas for themselves all the time. Not always at age 14 though, which is when Helixx C. Armageddon anointed herself with her new name and began her journey as a hip-hop artist with The Anomolies, a “gender justice” collective.
“I’ve always felt like an old soul,” she notes. “The name is a blend of the DNA strand that is part of all of us, the Roman numeral for one hundred — because I am committed 100% — and Armageddon refers to the warlike times that we are in. My premonition was that I needed a name that was unique.”
Armageddon was “a brooding and pensive kid” growing up in South Jamaica, Queens, where she learned to accept that people dying around her — between the drugs and the turf wars — was a way of life.
“I lost a lot of relatives when I was in elementary school,” she recalls. “I didn’t realize until much later that not everyone had that experience. Since I was 11 or 12, I write something every day. I’ve done that since I was a kid. It’s what I do to de-stress”.
Adulthood found her raising a son in the East Village and wearing all black to her corporate gig at MTV, where she stayed for 15 years until she was pitched a life-changing curveball.
A serious illness, undiagnosed for a year, left her unable to do pretty much anything, including swallowing food.
“Weak is an understatement,” she says. When her medical team finally determined the cause of her illness, she began a healing process that included playing drums as therapy at the Louis Armstrong Center.
“I hadn’t written anything in a long time,” Armageddon admits. “The first poem I wrote was ‘James Baldwin,’ in response to the Parkland shooting.”
Armageddon began a new life as a performance artist whose powerful appearances in art galleries, clubs, theaters, museums and the streets of NYC were a blend of spoken word and action that revealed a performer who put everything she had into every gig. Even when not onstage, it’s hard to miss her.
Decked out perfectly in a stunning combo of vintage designs and an ever present top hat, Helixx commands attention, though she is the furthest thing from a diva. Her everyday style is the result of one day of contemplation in her sickbed, when she was thinking about all the beautiful clothes in her closet that she was “saving for a special occasion.”
“If I get out of this alive,” she thought, “every day will be a special occasion.”
Her first top hat was a gift from Anomolies bandmate Pri the Honeydark, who told her, “this is your magical hat.”
Armageddon recalls that “ when I wore it, I started to feel like the person I was going to become.” She is finally starting to feel like she did pre-sickness and is has chosen to work in a non-profit that benefits the community. “I need to be part of something that benefits humanity.”
Pri is still part of Helixx’s artistic journey, appearing on Armageddon’s just released “House of Helixx”, a dark ride through reality that finds a hard won optimism. She notes that, “The way that Helixx transforms life stories, pain, and love into engaging lyrical performance art is extremely inspiring.”
Ethan Minsker, an artist and film maker tasked with creating her videos, says that “she’s willing to take risks and pivot away from the convention that’s not only apparent in her style but also in who she chooses to collaborate with. She is a wholly unique artist who is blazing her own path.”
Shanty Gallos, the man responsible for providing the record’s “swampy, dark, underwater sound“ (in the words of Armageddon) states that “Helixx is the essence of an artist in every way, from how she carries herself to the way she views and creates. There is meaning, intent and emotion tied to each word and sentence. As a producer you don’t get to work with artists like that often, it’s a special thing.”
Armageddon is equally effusive of the work that Gallos put into her disc.
“He was able to create a musical soundscape that directly matched my emotions and what I was feeling,” she says. “All the songs are from very painful moments of my life. He and I have a wonderful working relationship – he understands me as lyricist and I understand him as a producer. That combination has produced some very beautiful art – the record is exactly what I envisioned. I’m really proud of it.”
Noting that “the common threads are the pain, suffering and contemplation that a person goes through – that person being me – and when I heard the finished record I realized how courageous it was,” she muses. ”By embracing our vulnerabilities, we open the doors to deeper connections with ourselves and others, fostering a sense of community and reminding us that we are all in this together.”
“House of Helixx “ is available at creativejuicesmusic.bandcamp.com/album/house-of-helixx and you can get more info online at houseofhelixx.com and follow her on instagram at @helixxwashere.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.