My Journey: from Pride to my new record, with: Logan Lynn
What Pride Month Means to Me:
Music and video has always been a way for me to push back on dominant culture. As a queer youth, making songs about coming to terms with my own sexuality and exit from the non-affirming conservative Christian cult I was raised in, there were many times where being able to connect to myself by way of those songs was really instrumental in keeping me alive. Pride is a 365 day annual experience for me. I come out over and over and continue to be a visible gay person in rooms that have maybe historically not been very welcoming…and are sometimes not welcoming still. My songs, my records, my style, my voice out in the world — those are the ways in which I am able to combat the oppression in my life. My response to the election, to the violence in the community, is to dial my gay up. You thought I was sparkly before? Well, look at me now.
Celebrating Pride This Year:
Last year I held this giant fundraiser for the Pulse Orlando survivors and did a bunch of interviews about resilience and mental health in the face of community trauma. A few years ago I founded — and continue to run — a national mental health stigma reduction campaign and social movement, so this year our teams will be showing up at Pride festivals and doing our best to connect queer and trans folks to mental and behavioral health services in their area like we do every year. The need for LGBT organizations to become trauma-informed is huge. Homophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia…these are traumatic experiences. We need to acknowledge that these ‘isms are hurting us as a society and creating an environment of persistent toxic stress for those of us living under them. It’s going to take everyone in the straight community who cares, to link arms with everyone in the LGBT community if we want love to win. This fight is too big for just those of us being oppressed to fight.
Which songs are relevant or related to Pride month in any way?
Since 100% of my songs are about my experience in the world as a gay man, I’m going to go with all of them. The video for our song “Go There When You Want To Be Loved” is also one of the gayest things I have ever seen…but, again, so are most of my videos. (laughs) My song “Turn Me Out” from my 2012 record “Tramp Stamps and Birthmarks” is about as close to an actual Pride banger there is, I think.
The Evolution of Pride:
I’m loving how a lot of what I’m seeing at Pride festivals across the country this year looks way more like gay people protesting and screaming truth to power in the streets than having a parade. That seems like a long-overdue step in the right direction. We’re visible now. I think the question from here should be “What are we going to do with that spotlight”. And honestly, it does sometimes seem like the only thing left to do is burn it down. The trauma being inflicted upon us ends up being a public health crisis that everyone should care about. Apathy from our friends and neighbors is literally killing us.
If Pride is all about visibility and empowerment, it can be a useful annual reminder of how we should be showing up as ourselves in our everyday lives…and that looks different for everyone. I used to think everyone had to be out to the whole world to be of use to the movement. That’s not actually the case. People should come as far out as they feel is safe for them. Period. And safety gets to be defined by each of us. No one gets to tell you how queer or trans you need to be in order to be part of this community. We all play a role in moving things forward, and every one of those roles is important.
My Next Project; My New Record, Produced by: Jay Mohr:
I’m really excited to go into the studio at the end of the month and lay down all of the tracks for my new record, which I have been writing over the course of the past year. It’s just me and the piano this round, and I’m working with a new team, so the energy feels totally different than ever before. I wrote all of these songs by myself in isolation, then brought in Portland’s GLASYS to build out the piano arrangements. Comedian, actor, and the Bert to my Ernie, Jay Mohr, is producing the album, which he also inspired. It’s called “My Movie Star” and we have been teasing clips from our rehearsals online for months. I actually wrote all of these songs live on social media, which is as far from my previous writing process over the past two decades as you can get. The videos we posted online were captured as I was first coming up with the ideas for the songs, so it’s been cool for my people to get to be part of the incubation process with me. It’s super scary and thrilling to be so exposed. There’s a freedom in letting go of the bells and whistles that I’ve taken quite well to. I think this space — this very quiet, paired down place where this record was born — is a space I enjoy. Maybe I’ll stay awhile.
For more information visit: LoganLynnMusic.com
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In collaboration with/produced by Jeff Gorra