First things first: congratulations to Grimes and Elon Musk for expanding their very strangely named family! The on-again, off-again couple welcome daughter Exa Dark Sideræl Musk (yes, that is her real name, and yes, it has very esoteric, fantasy-cyberpunk origins that are likely to induce a large, exasperated eye rolls) into the world via surrogate last December.
Grimes, who is promoting her upcoming album Book 1, made the big reveal during an interview with Vanity Fair, and it doesn’t *seem* like the singer was initially planning on letting the world know that she has a second child.
Writer Devin Gordon went to Grimes’ home in Austin, Texas, for the interview, during which Gordon clearly heard a baby crying upstairs. At first Grimes said she was “not at liberty to speak on these things,” when Gordon inquired about the sound, but after an undeniable infant shriek, Grimes let the cat out of the bag.
Grimes explained that she calls her daughter Exa Dark “Y” for short, a complementary nickname to the one Grimes and Musk have for their firstborn son X Æ A-XII, “X.” She then delved into all of the references behind Exa’s inimitable moniker, saying the name was “fire” via text to the writer after initially hesitating to share the name.
“Exa” is a nod to the supercomputing term exaFLOPS, or the ability for a computer to perform 1 quintillion floating-point operations per second. In non-Silicon Valley bro terms, these are the type of operations Tesla uses for artificial intelligence training for their self-driving cars.
“Dark” is all about “the unknown,” as if the explanation for the child’s first name wasn’t unknowable enough. “People fear it but truly it’s the absence of photons. Dark matter is the beautiful mystery of our universe,” the singer explained.
Sideræl, pronounced “sigh-deer-ee-el” is a “more elven” spelling of sidereal, “the true time of the universe, star time, deep space time, not our relative earth time.” It’s also a bit of a shoutout to Grimes’ favorite Lord of the Rings character, the ethereal Galadriel (played by Cate Blanchett, for those trying to get some sort of grounding reference to this name). Galadriel “chooses to abdicate the ring [of power.]”
The singer knows that her daughter might want to change her name one day, and Grimes is totally chill with that. In fact, Grimes said that Exa’s name was something of a compromise and she is concerned that it might be too boring. Seriously.
“I was fighting for Odysseus Musk,” she told Gordon via text. “A girl named Odysseus is my dream.”
Grimes and Musk opted for surrogacy after the singer had a complicated pregnancy with their first child
Grimes’ pregnancy with her first child X got scary towards the end. During the last month, she was unable to walk.
“He was pressing on my nerves, so I kept collapsing,” she said. “I took a few steps and collapsed. It was kind of scary, because you don’t want to fall a lot when you’re eight months pregnant. So I would just crawl to the bathroom and crawl back or whatever.”
There was even a point during her pregnancy with X that she thought she was going to die. “Like, I hemorrhaged. It was scary.”
Grimes and Musk have what she describes as a “fluid” relationship, but it seems to be working for them. “There’s no real word for it. I would probably refer to him as my boyfriend, but we’re very fluid. We live in separate houses. We’re best friends. We see each other all the time…. We just have our own thing going on, and I don’t expect other people to understand it.”
“This is the best it’s ever been.... We just need to be free,” she added. The couple plans to continue expanding their family and the definition of what constitutes a legal birth name. “We’ve always wanted at least three or four.”