In this tongue-in-cheek clip, gay Internet personality Davey Wavey gets singer-songwriter Steve Grand to strip off his shirt and get oiled up. It turns out, however, that he’s just trying to prove a point.
“I think you’re super talented, I think you’re an amazing person,” an enthusiastic Davey Wavey, who has no qualms about helping Grand peel off his flannel, quips. “But I am sick and tired of the way that you’re always exploited and you’re always sexualized in media … I think that we need to show people at home how they parade you around without your shirt on.”
Grand, who rose to fame after the video for his first tune, “All-American Boy,” went viral, is no stranger to baring his bod. Last year, the Chicago-based out star took a chilly plunge into Lake Superior wearing nothing but a smile for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and later shared a photo and video of the experience with his fans.
After a massively successful Kickstarter campaign, Grand released his debut album, also titled “All-American Boy,” in March.
Country Superstar Ty Herndon To Perform At Rich’s Friday Night
Country Music’s Sexy Cowboy Ty Herndon Returns To Houston Friday Night For Special Performance At Rich’s
HOUSTON – It’s rodeo time and one of country music’s biggest hearts and brightest stars, Ty Herndon is heading to Houston for a ‘one night only’ performance at Rich’s in Midtown. Herndon, known for hits like “Living in the Moment,” and “What Mattered Most,” garnered three number ones, four top ten hits. Beyond charting more than 18 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, Ty Herndon makes his return to Texas tomorrow night.
In an exclusive interview the day before his Houston concert, About Magazine sat down with Ty in his downtown Nashville condo. From the open patio doors sounds of tourists and bachelorette parties can be heard drifting up, Ty sits across the room in a wingback chair; he’s wearing his trademark black t-shirt and skinny jeans and has a big smile. It’s 8:20 am and he’s full of energy.
“I absolutely love Houston,” he says when asked about his return. ” I might as well be from Texas! I feel like I have spent half my life there.” Ty explains he has a deep history, passion and love for Texas. “I have two of the most amazing little God-sons in Houston with the most affirming parents.” Ty hits that stage at Rich’s Houston on Friday, March 15, 2019.
Though his performance is not part of the official Rodeo Houston concert series, Herndon will headline “The Stockyard at Rich’s,” an LGBT country music-themed night hosted by Al Farb. “It’s going to be an exciting show, I am excited to be performing for all my LGBTQ brothers and sisters,” Ty says.
“I ABSOLUTELY LOVE TEXAS, I FEEL LIKE I AM FROM THERE, AND EXCITED TO RETURN TOMORROW!” -Ty Herndon
In its first-ever country night, Rich’s has pulled out all the stops to ensure Herndon’s performance and the crowd enjoys rodeo season. “My love for country music and country bars for more than 15 years has lead me to tomorrow night,” Jeff Harmon, owner of Rich’s says. “One of the most amazing country music DJ from the Round-Up in Dallas, DJ Jeff Doll will be here to keep the music alive.”
Recently Herndon returned from Las Vegas after being invited to sing the National Anthem at the National Finals Rodeo. “The NFR just had an openly gay dude sing the National Anthem on the world stage,” Ty is referring to the progress made by the LGBT community.
As an outspoken LGBT Advocate, Herndon, along with GLAAD and CMT produce “Love & Acceptance,” a concert held in Nashville during CMA Fest each year. “We will announce all of our talent in the next few weeks,” Herndon says. ” We have had everyone from Vince Gill to Tanya Tucker to Michael Ray in the past.”
This year is gearing up to be the biggest yet. Love & Acceptance takes place on June 6 at the legendary WildHorse Saloon.
Your Guide to Queerchella
A run-down of the queerest acts (and some major allies!) heading to the stages of Coachella in 2019. And if you can’t make it to Coachella, check out these music of some of these incredible queer artists.
Although the owner of Goldenvoice – Coachella’s parent company – has famously donated to anti-LGBT candidates and causes, Coachella still remains a place where queer people and artists can thrive. You can choose for yourself whether you’d like to support the festival, but the 2019 lineup of artists is stacked with queer and queer-friendly artists. Below are some of the artists that I’m most excited to see.
If this is your first visit to Coachella, I would urge you not to focus only on the main stages and headliners. Coachella has a brilliant way of booking artists right before they become your new favorite artist. This will be my fourth Coachella; and every year I look back at the lineup six months after the festival and regret not seeing someone. Don’t be afraid to go to the festival early and see some artists you may not know.
New Jersey rapper 070 Shake, who told Billboard, “I do not see myself as being gay or being straight. I just like to see myself as who I am,” is playing her first Coachella at just 20-years-old. I lovingly refer to her style as emo-rap, where she raps about emotions and feelings and her real-life issues. She’s an artist you’ll have to get to the festival early for, but she’s worth it.
I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest Ariana Grande fan. I think she’s pretty problematic but she’s also currently the #1 most-streamed artist on Spotify and the first artist since The Beatles to hold the top 3 spots on the Billboard Top 100. That alone should speak to the fact that she has to be doing something right. The last two years have seen superstars Lady Gaga and Beyonce headline Coachella and put on spectacular performances, which will make it interesting to see how Ariana holds down the pop headliner spot. I’m also interested to see if Ariana uses this platform to make a social statement like Beyonce did in 2018.
Bad Bunny – one of Latin trap’s biggest stars – turns gender norms on their head at every turn. He almost always has his nails painted (criticizing toxic masculinity on Twitter when a nail salon in Spain refused service to him) and his recent video for his track, “Caro”, is a study in gender fluidity and what gender means. Bad Bunny has also called out homophobia publicly on Twitter after the murder of openly gay Latin trap artist Kevin Fret in Puerto Rico. The inclusion of Bad Bunny and J Balvin so close to the top of the lineup this year is also a testament to Latin music’s importance in our culture.
K-Pop icons BLACKPINK will be coming to North America for the first time this year and their first show will be Weekend 1 of Coachella. They’ll be the first female K-Pop group to ever play the festival. BLACKPINK has a huge queer following, probably because K-Pop is inherently pretty gay.
Dev Hynes, who performs under the stage name Blood Orange, is one of the greatest R&B acts out there right now who just so happens to be queer. His 2018 release, Negro Swan, is an exploration in growing up black and queer and includes interludes by transgender rights activist Janet Mock. It’s a brilliant album that Dev performs effortlessly. If you want to see an artist completely immersed in his art and in his element, don’t miss his set.
Christine and the Queens
One of the acts I’m most looking forward to is French singer, songwriter, and producer, Christine and The Queens. The pansexual artist explores gender identity and fluidity in most of her looks and puts on spectacular live performances. Her 2018 album Chris is great, but she doesn’t do much touring stateside, making this one of those acts you may not have the opportunity to see for a while. She’s recorded both Chris and her 2014 debut Chaleur Humaine in both French and English, so you can listen in a foreign language if you want to seem sophisticated in front of your friends.
CHVRCHES frontwoman Lauren Mayberry is not here for your racism, sexism, or homophobia. She’s famously called out users across social media for making sexist remarks about her and stood up for artists like Beyonce and Taylor Swift when people accused them of “not being feminist enough.” The band embraces their LGBT following, and in 2017 performed at an Ally Coalition event that raised money for LGBT homeless youth in New York. Oh, and the band also puts on one hell of a live performance.
Diplo’s label, Mad Decent, is home to one of the only openly gay DJs in mainstream EDM, Kandy. He also curated a Pride playlist last year featuring queer and non-binary artists who have inspired him. He produced Madonna’s hit “Bitch I’m Madonna” with transgender producer SOPHIE and made out with Brazilian drag queen and artist Pabllo Vittar in one of her music videos. Between his projects with Jack U, Silk City, Major Lazer, and his own solo career, Diplo has made hits with just about every artist in the industry, so he’s sure to bring some special guests to the desert.
Hurray for the Riff Raff
Featuring queer frontwoman Alynda Lee Segarra and trans fiddler Yosi Perlstein, Hurray for the Riff Raff is pretty freaking queer. Make sure you catch them if you want to live your folk fantasy in the desert.
Jaden Smith, who has been challenging gender norms for most of his life, made his relationship with Tyler, The Creator public in 2018. He released a string of seemingly random singles in 2018 but hasn’t released a full-length album since 2017’s SYRE. It’ll be interesting to see what material he brings to Coachella this year.
Janelle Monae is going to shut down Coachella. Mark my words. If her “Make Me Feel” performance from the Grammys is anything like what she’s planning to bring to the Coachella stage, people will be talking about her performance for weeks after the festival ends. Monae has been super open about her pansexuality over the past few years – describing herself as a “free motherfucker.” Dirty Computer — which was nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year – is sure to electrify the desert.
Javiera Mena is a Chilean indie artist who identifies as a lesbian. She’ll be making one her first trips to the United States for Coachella. Her music features a lot of synthesizer and piano and she’s the perfect artist to catch if you want to have a Spanish dance party at Coachella.
Kacey Musgraves should not be missed. She commands the stage and 2018’s Golden Hour is brilliant. Coming off of four Grammy wins and an iconic Selena cover at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Kacey is sure to have some surprises up her sleeve. She appeared as a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race: All-Stars 4 and AS4 winners Monet X Change and Trinity the Tuck joined her on stage at her LA concert the night they were crowned. Kacey loves the gays and we love her back.
Openly gay producer KAYTRANADA is always a good time. He hasn’t released a full-length since 2016’s 99.9%, but with collaborations with everyone from Mobb Deep to Chance the Rapper to Alicia Keys, who knows what – or who – he’ll bring to his Coachella set.
Mikaela Straus – better known as King Princess – has been open about her identity as genderqueer and gay. She writes and performs songs for girls about girls. She recently teamed up with Fiona Apple to cover Fiona’s track “I Know” which you should definitely listen to if you haven’t heard it.
At the opening of every Lizzo show she introduces herself to the audience before letting them know that if they have any kind of hate in their heart, this isn’t the set for them. There will be no racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, or any other -phobia at a Lizzo show. She then proceeds to perform one of the best sets you’ll ever see. I’ve seen Lizzo play everything from tiny rooms to major festivals and she never fails to impress me. Her third studio album, Cuz I Love You will be released Weekend 2 of Coachella, so Weekend 1 attendees will likely get some sneak peaks of the new material.
Nicole Moudaber fell in love with dance music at the gay bars in New York City. She’s also been targeted by Lebanese police because her parties attracted a large LGBT audience. If you’re into electronic music, watching Moudaber control the decks during her sets is mesmerizing. You definitely don’t want to miss a Nicole Moudaber dance party!
Though you’ll have to get to the festival pretty early on Saturday to catch his set, serpentwithfeet is worth getting their early for. His experimental vibes, smooth R&B voice, and gospel upbringing mix perfectly to create great tracks. His live performances are also an entire experience where he’s been known to set up dolls and drape his equipment in various fabric.
Though not queer themselves, Sofi Tukker thinks that it’s “the coolest thing ever” that a large part of their fanbase identify as LGBT+. If you’ve never been to a Sofi Tukker show, make sure you wear your dancing shoes. You’re not likely to stop dancing at all once they play their first note.
Solange is a national treasure. Her live performances are nothing short of art with no detail being missed. Everything has multiple, carefully thought out meanings. With the release of Houston-centric When I Get Home last week, there’s so much new Solange material to look forward to seeing in the desert.
Even if you don’t think you know SOPHIE, you’ve heard SOPHIE. The transgender artist and producer is responsible for producing Madonna’s “Bitch I’m Madonna” and Charli XCX’s Vroom Vroom EP. After releasing a string of singles throughout 2015, SOPHIE released her debut album, Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides, in the summer of 2018. It’s the first time that she used her real voice and image in her music and accompanying videos and solidified SOPHIE as a force to be reckoned with. Her live performances have been few and far between, so her Coachella set shouldn’t be missed.
The 1975 – whose lead singer Matty Healy has openly admitted being attracted to men, though not sexually – are sure to bring a great set to Coachella. In addition to the tracks from their 2018 release, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, The 1975 are sure to perform other fan favorites like “Chocolate”, “Sex”, and “Somebody Else” — which I’m sure we have all cried to at some point.
Review: Kacey Musgraves at Rodeo Houston
Last night, Kacey Musgraves kicked off the 2019 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the six-time Grammy winner did not disappoint! Although she released her first full-length album, Same Trailer Different Park back in 2013, her 2018 album Golden Hour brought Kacey’s music into the ears and hearts of more than just country music fans. An amazing album coupled with appearances on RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars 4 (and subsequent inclusion of AS4 winners Monet X Change and Trinity The Tuck at her concert the night they were crowned) helped expose the Gays to Kacey. Flashback to July 2018 when Musgraves announced her Oh, What a World tour and included stops in Dallas with multiple Austin dates, but no Houston performance. Houston fans were disappointed, but the dates in Texas fell suspiciously close to Rodeo Houston, thus causing the rumor mill to do what the rumor mill does. When the lineup leaked in December with Kacey as the opening act, it was decided: Monday, February 25 would be the unofficial “Gay Day” at the Rodeo. (I just made that up; nobody actually tried to organize anything other than Brenda Rich, who was not interested in organizing a rendezvous in the bathroom).
Kacey kicked off her tour just after the new year and hasn’t taken much time off except to play at the Grammys (where she took home four awards, including the Grammy for Album of the Year) and to present at the Oscars last Sunday. Reviews from every stop of her tour have raved, leaving the bar set pretty high going into Monday night’s show. And let me tell you: Kacey Musgraves did NOT come to play games!
Rodeo Houston did their thing, rolling the stage out and then killing the lights as the sides of the stage were lowered. This section featured a lot of pyrotechnics. Fireworks were strapped to every available surface making it dramatic! When the stage was lowered and the house lights were brought back up, Kacey was in the middle of the stage in a bell-bottomed, lace jumpsuit wearing virginal white while the band accompanied her wearing head-to-toe camel. It was all very much a look.
She played most of the tracks from Golden Hour, including “Butterflies” — winner of the Grammy for Best Country Solo Performance — and “Space Cowboy” — winner of Best Country Song. Even in the moments where the band accompaniment was quiet, Kacey’s voice filled every square foot of NRG Stadium. She was completely in her element. She commanded the stage throughout.
She also gave the, “I was a Kacey fan before all of you,” fans their moment by playing “Merry Go Round” and “High Time” off of her previous two albums. This was a rare moment to see Kacey truly in her country sweetheart element. She wrote these songs in her mid-twenties, which are perfect songs for that time of your life.
As brilliant as I think Golden Hour is, though, Kacey’s covers stole the show. Maybe because the songs from Golden Hour are what we came expecting to hear, but in the middle of her set Kacey did three covers that were excellent choices for Rodeo Houston. The first cover was Miranda Lambert’s hit “Mama’s Broken Heart”. Kacey’s choice to cover this song isn’t a huge surprise — she recorded and released her cover back in 2013 – but for the country fans in the room, this was a treat. The country girls in the building jumped out of their seat and danced as Kacey absolutely killed this performance.
The next cover was Brooks & Dunn’s (who play Rodeo Houston tonight) “Neon Moon”. Again, this wasn’t a huge surprise if you’re a Kacey Musgraves superfan and look at every setlist while she’s on tour like I do. She played it at most of the stops at the beginning of the tour, but has recently switched it out for *NSYNC’s “Tearin’ Up My Heart.” There’s something about “Neon Moon” that just resonates with people. Maybe you had to have been raised in Texas for it to affect you, but I talked to numerous people who cried during Kacey’s cover. Such a smart venue to play this cover in.
Finally, Kacey Musgraves covered the Queen of Tejano, Selena Quintanilla. Again, if you’re a superfan, the signs were all there in retrospect. Before the lineup officially dropped, Kacey shared a photo on her Instagram story of Selena playing Rodeo Houston. At the end of 2018, she also shared a video of herself singing a Selena number at some sort of karaoke house party. Her look was also a nod to Selena. “I love her just as much as you do!” yelled Kacey before going into the chorus of “Como La Flor.” All of the pieces of the puzzle suddenly seemed to make so much sense. I thought the roof of NRG was going to come off. Girls & Gays (the primary demographic last night) LOVE Selena, and on the eve of the anniversary of Selena’s last concert? Iconic. Another brilliant choice.
After blowing everyone’s collective minds, Kacey played three more Golden Hour tracks, finishing the concert accompanied by her guitarist draped in a gay pride flag. Something about seeing that open display of Pride at an event that is generally seen as pretty homophobic — or at the very least heterocentric — was such a breath of fresh air. Progress.
In true Texas fashion, Kacey exited the stadium on horseback instead of in the pickup truck usually used by the artists. A true Texan. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you kick off Rodeo Houston correctly.
Best of 2018: Morena Roas
She’s been making music for years, but in 2018 she tackled a much bigger task: making sure that artists support other artists, especially so in the LGBTQ+ community. Meet the next in our Best of 2018 series, Morena Roas Da Artist.
(HOUSTON) — When it came time to make up this list of truly outstanding individuals from 2018, I must admit that there was a bit of a personal bias toward some of these people. That bias, however, doesn’t come from liking certain people in the LGBTQ+ community of Houston more than others, nor does it come from being better friends with some than others. Being the editor-in-chief of this magazine for the last year has simply put me in a position to meet, work with, and get to know some of the most incredible people in our community. And of all the incredible people I’ve met in the last year — and there have been many — one of the most important and outstanding has been a local musical gem that’s been spitting rhymes and melodies for longer than I’ve been writing professionally. Her name is Morena Roas, and she spent 2018 not just making music, but making a way for artists all around to shine in her spotlight and step into their own.
To know Morena Roas is to know a pure heart. The singer-dancer-songwriter-producer-actress and well-rounded human being isn’t just out on the stage looking for to make a buck or garner a few fans — she’s out there to present to you other that talent she meets along the way. When I first met Roas, there was an instant connection, and not the kind that one comes by easily. It wasn’t the type of in-passing meet-and-greet that comes when you exchange pleasantries with another business person at a bar that a mutual friend introduces to you. Morena had then and continues to have something much more powerful in her arsenal than that: the ability to make everyone feel like the most important person in the world. While her music is important to her (as are her many other business ventures, including her clothing line Molly Nation), one will note that Roas leaves the passenger’s seat of her professional vehicle open to anyone serious about their work and along for the ride. So much so, in fact, that Roas has been the host and creator of the weekly Monday night open mic show at Guava Lamp on Waugh, The Floor Is Yours, which she co-hosts with friend and fellow musician J Metro. Every Monday, The Floor Is Yours features and spotlights one booked artist while allowing talent from all around the city of Houston take to the stage to sing, run stand-up routines, read poetry, and more.
But Morena’s repertoire is packed with much more than just one show. This past holiday season, the artist released a Christmas album just in time for winter, entitled, My Very Merry 1st Christmas, which featured arrangements and renditions of classic holiday songs, original music, and a feature with fellow musician and Houston local, Stoo. Following the release of her album and just days after Christmas, Roas produced and hosted the Xmas Aftermath concert at Elevate Lounge in Houston’s Historic Third Ward. The local cigar and hookah lounge transformed for one night into a dynamic and colorful concert of some of Houston’s finest artists. Acts included Shawn Anthony, former American Idol contestant Vincent Powell, raspy rocker Josie Arias, The Floor Is Yours co-host J Metro, Pride SuperStar finalist Mark Wilburn, and many others. Punctuating the evening of Christmas music, soulful covers, and exquisite original numbers came Morena Roas performing songs from her Christmas collection, as well as a new, original hip-hop song that had the audience on its feet, shouting lyrics back at the singer, and dancing with her. Watching Morena on stage is a bit like staring a piece of fine art — albeit, a very loud, filterless, mouthy piece of art. Sometimes she takes a minute to complete soak up; sometimes she’s so colorful that it can be hard to fixate correctly one particular thing about her; and sometimes she’s so abstract that her goodness can be overwhelming in all the ways that it radiates out of her. But that’s what makes up Morena — pure goodness. It translates into everything that she does and doesn’t stop at her music. This past September, Morena took part in a live reading of my own sitcom, The Anthony Project, at Rich’s Houston, where she read a part written for her, Sofia Garcia. The character, like Morena, is an aspiring musician and best friend of the titular character as they work at a fictional version of About Magazine. But singing, acting — she’s good at it all, and she’s more than just an artist … she’s an artist who is taking everyone else to the top on her way there. She stands for artists; she stands for Houston; she stands for the LGBTQ+ community; and she’s not going anywhere any time soon.
You can follow Morena Roas Da Artist here, where you can also reach out to get your copy of the album:
REVIEW: Morena Roas Christmas Album
Houston singer/songwriter and performer, Morena Roas Da Artist released her holiday album last week, “My Very Merry 1st Christmas”.
(HOUSTON) — Morena Roas (who is known artistically as Morena Roas Da Artist) is a number of things; she’s a singer, a songwriter, a dancer, a clothing designer, a crowd-commanding stage performer, and a show host. Roas has performed across multiple stages at festivals and events, including Austin’s SXSW, Pride Houston’s Eden Girl Party, and more. In addition, Roas hosts the Monday night open mic night, “The Floor Is Yours”, at Guava Lamp every Monday where artists — both LGBTQ+ and otherwise — from around the city showcase their talents. Often these talents are musical in nature, but that isn’t all they are limited to. In fact, many times spoken word poets, stand-up comics, and even once a harmonica player who droned on for several minutes. But it doesn’t ever seem to matter to Roas what the artist’s talent is. And why? Because Morena Roas — both professionally and personally — lives by one very simple rule and standard:
Artists support artists.
If you follow Roas on social media, you’ll see that very statement behind a hashtag; and if you attend any of her shows — including her 2018 “Sing Out and Proud” competition at Guava Lamp that rivaled Pride Houston’s Pride SuperStar this year — you’ll take note that at some point in the show, Roas always takes a brief intermission to preach this to her audience. No matter what the show is, no matter what she’s doing, Roas not only stresses the importance of supporting other artists, she takes an active role in doing so. I should know. After all, Roas so much believed in a little script I wrote that she’s been playing an active part in the forthcoming sitcom, The Anthony Project. But it doesn’t end there. All throughout her work week, Roas is bouncing around the city from show-to-show, sharing flyers and advertisements on social media, and introducing local artists to other local artists to try to create collaborations that are symbiotic to all parties. And why?
Because Morena Roas loves art; and Morena Roas loves Houston and its artists. In fact, even on the back of her holiday album, My Very Merry 1st Christmas, Roas’s acknowledgements say (in part):
“[…] Thanks to my city for always letting me be who I am […]”
And anyone who follows or knows Roas knows this for sure: who she is is downright wild sometimes. Her sense of humor translates into short videos that could potentially break the internet and into songs such as this parody she posted to Facebook several weeks ago, entitled “Let Me Give You Some Head in My Volkswagen”.
But the thing to remember about Roas is this: she’s a serious artist, too. Her voice is nothing short of magical and her ear knows good music when it’s being played or made. The woman singing about giving head in the video above isn’t just here to make you laugh, she’s here to make sure you get the music that you’re paying to listen to, and that other talented performers around the city of Houston are getting their chance to show you what they’ve got, as well. That’s why when Morena stated publicly that she’d be releasing a Christmas album, I knew it wasn’t a joke; and I knew I had to get my hands on one.
The album, as a whole, is not your typical Christmas album. Sure there are holiday staples that we all expect to hear from Michael Bublé and Idina Menzel and Reba McEntire on their Christmas albums. The album opens with Roas’s poppy rendition of “Jingle Bells”, then segues into “Rockin’ Around the Xmas Tree”. And like many Christmas albums, My Very Merry 1st Christmas is punctuated with a few slower songs, such as “O’ Holy Night” and “Silent Night/Noche De Paz” (on both tracks Roas is accompanied by well-known Houston pianist and musician, Jonathan Craft). But Roas has added her own fun spins to a traditional Christmas album. Getting down to her hip-hop roots, Roas has added “Jingle Bell Trap” and its counterpart, “Jingle Bell Trap Remix”. These hip-hop tracks take Christmas classics and touch them with the kind of magic that only Roas is quite capable of throwing together and selling to an audience. It’s the perfect blend of fun and holiday cheer. (Although, one might wonder who’s parents let these children into the music video below).
The album, produced by Brandon De La Garza and American Idol‘s Vincent Powell, also features a collaboration with local artist Stoo, entitled “Unwrap My Heart”, which features vocals by Roas. The bonus track is truly one of the highlights of the album, as it serves up a different kind of sound not typically found on Christmas albums, as well as one that showcases a different side of Roas’s vocals while also introducing Stoo to new fans who may not be familiar with his honey-like voice. But what makes the album isn’t just its music: it’s the fact that its so unapologetically Morena Roas. That means it’s unapologetically trap, unapologetically queer, and unapologetically true to who the artist behind it is. A line in her take on “I’m Getting Nothing for Christmas” (aptly titled “I Ain’t Getting Nuttin’ for Christmas”) even drops an Easter Egg-like line about how she was caught kissing a girl in bed. Just as pleasant is the incorporation of Roas’s Latina heritage with Spanish lyrics in her take on “Silent Night”. It’s all these little things that take this album that is so unapologetically Morena Roas and make it something that has a little something for everyone.
And that’s what Morena is all about — doing something for everyone.
You can follow Morena Roas Da Artist here, where you can also reach out to get your copy of the album:
Review: “Afterthot” by Wade in the Sonic Joy
Houston-based nonbinary artist and musician, Wade in the Sonic Joy, released the single, “Afterthot”, from their forthcoming album Sexspells last week.
(HOUSTON) — For anyone familiar with musician and About Magazine writer Wade in the Sonic Joy, it’s easy to say one thing for certain about the nonbinary artist: they are nothing if not outside the box; and Wade’s lead single from their forthcoming album, Sexspells, is equally in line with their aesthetic. The music video dropped last week and certainly emphasizes not only the artist’s musical abilities, but their visually artistic ones, as well.
The song opens with white noise that slowly blends into a deep voice repeating, “That ho over there.” This, of course, is the acronym referenced in the title — a “THOT”. As it continues, Wade begins by singing directly to the person — or, the THOT — that the narrative is spun from. “You play with our emotions / and act like it’s a game,” this is clearly not someone that Narrating Wade is fond of as they sing their song. Likely the song is spun about a former love interest, but knowing Wade, a song like this could be about any person anywhere, from an ex-partner to the sitting president, (“You’re talking with that big head …”). But Wade wastes no time in letting whomever they are singing to or about know that they are nothing more than “… just that ho over there …”.
Lyrically, the song feels fresh because it incorporates what is rather new slang to describe the person about whom the song was written. But more to that point, it’s lyrically very playful — taking something like ‘fire’ or ‘THOT’ from modern slang and spinning into the fun ‘AFTERTHOT’. This alone puts a fun touch on the song by stating that whomever this song is being sung to, they’re aren’t just that ho over there, they’re that ho over there that’s not important enough to be a ‘FORETHOT’ (see what I did there?). Musically, the song has a fun, new wave sound that blends Wade’s smooth, flowing, and unique vocals with the electronic synthesis popular in the late 70s and early 80s. It’s that cocktail of past sound with present language that gives Wade their uniqueness, but also their bold, fearless, exciting aberrance. The video, as well is quite a spectacle — with new wave tones written all over it from beginning to end. As is never in question, Wade is a visual artist just as much as they are a musical artist. From beginning to end the popstar dances in and out of frame, with split-screen side-by-sides of themselves weaving in and out of one another. Cuts of explosive fire in vivid neon color and Wade running their tongue over a long, pink object that is a bit hard to identify again only add character to not just the song itself, but to Wade in the Sonic Joy as an artist.
Wade in the Sonic Joy is a singer-songwriter, producer, visual artist, model, and journalist who currently resides in Houston, Texas. However, Wade’s official website states that they are officially from Fortuna Tessera, Venus. It goes on to say that “Wade would like to push the boundaries of gender, love, and expression through art, visuals, and sound. The purpose of this project is to turn joyous dreams into sonic reality.” The song is certain to caught in your head at the most inappropriate times — I, for one, cannot stop singing “that ho over there” on a loop in my head whenever I see one of the men I’ve slept with across the room. It’s fun and intriguing, but it’s also a fuck you to anyone that ever thought they could maintain a foundation of importance in your life after screwing you over.
Wade in the Sonic Joy keeps surprising fans and audiences with everything that they’re doing, and it doesn’t seem like that is going to change anytime soon. The complete album, entitled Sexspells, will be released December 20th.
Check out the video here:
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REVIEW: St. Lucia at Canton Hall in Dallas
A review of the St. Lucia concert at Canton Hall in Dallas, featuring new music from their latest album Hyperion.
(DALLAS) — On Friday, October 26th, 2018, About Magazine was given the opportunity to see the musician/musical project St. Lucia live in Dallas, TX at Canton Music Hall in the artsy Deep Ellum neighborhood. Let me begin by saying that, even as a person who works in country music, St. Lucia is one of my favorite bands. Led by frontman Jean-Philip Grobler, the modern take on 80s synthpop music first came into my life a few years ago while dining in Houston when I overheard one of their songs being played. After just that first song, I knew I had to learn more about who was making this music and immediately Shazam-ed the tune, which spiraled me into the magical, musical world of St. Lucia.
Seeing St. Lucia onstage for the second time in my life was nothing short of an indulgence I’d been craving like a glass of wine after a long work week. I first saw St. Lucia live in 2016 at White Oak Music Hall in Houston — where I found myself nothing short of starstruck and impressed beyond measure — but seeing them for the second time at Canton Hall was just as unbelievable, if not more so. Comparably, St. Lucia’s onstage presence was not only a total makeover improvement from the first time I’d seen them — and that’s a makeover from a show I already thought to be great — but simply immaculate not only in sound, but also in aesthetic. Every song was synchronized in lighting and sound to pulsate to the rhythm and the visual manifest of each song, while aberrant, was perfectly fitting. This alone really highlighted just what perfectionists St. Lucia is comprised of.
Jean-Philip’s stage presence only added another delicious layer to the aesthetic and music, as it was evident that he — as well as bandmates Ross Clark, Nick Paul, Dustin Kaufman, and Patti Beranek — are completely impassioned by the music that they’re making. It’s that passion that bewitches the audience, keeping them on their feet, jumping up and down, and shouting song lyrics at the tops of their lungs. And the music, believe it or not, only gets better and better from St. Lucia. Over the course of three albums — the most recent of which entitled Hyperion — St. Lucia isn’t just singing songs into microphones or pressing down the ivories of a keyboard. In fact, what St. Lucia is doing with their music is something far more incredible, as each new album and down to every single song tells a story that keen listeners can visualize as a map or storyboard of who they are. By taking this storyboard and rearranging its chronology in such a perfect way, the band weaves together music old and new to tell that story in a fresh, new way that both old fans and newcomers can enjoy without forsaking the crisp, clean sound they’ve worked so hard to create.
What was truly impressive to me were the faces I saw around Canton Hall. St. Lucia’s fanbase is nothing if not diverse, with fans of all ages, sexual orientations, gender identifications, skin colors, and more bound together by their music and enjoying themselves the entire time. Moreover, the hall was packed out. While St. Lucia may still be fairly new on the music scene and not quite as well known as some more mainstream, pop musicians, they certainly had no trouble getting people in the doors and keeping them there from the beginning until after the very end. Their interaction with those fans — as well as with one another — really shows how much the band loves doing what they do, but more so shows their own camaraderie within their own little family. It is evident just by watching them laugh, smile, and hug one another on the stage that the entire band has a deep affection for one another that cannot be feigned or forced. That camaraderie bleeds into the passion that they have for their music, which can be hard for synthpop bands. Nevertheless, it shows what a great time they’re having making music that is appealing to people from every walk of life.
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REVIEW: Carly Rae Jepsen’s New Single “Party for One”
Die-hard Carly Rae Jepsen fan, Christopher Tyer, reviews Jepsen’s new single, “Party for One”, which leads off the forthcoming release of her currently untitled and unannounced 2019 album.
After months of rumors and speculation, Carly Rae Jepsen finally confirmed her new single, “Party for One”, on Tuesday, October 30th. A few hours after her initial teaser photo was posted, it was announced that it would be released two days later on November 1st 2018; and the Carly Rae Gays took to social media to rejoice! Over the next twenty-four hours, Carly released four teaser videos with the final footage revealing that “Party for One” would be released in 12 hours. And, with that, the clocks started ticking (mine included)!
Soon enough, Carly Rae Jepsen graced the world with “Party for One” at 8:00 AM CST on Thursday, November 1st, 2018.
The first verse of the song finds Carly Rae Jepsen in a situation to which we can all relate. She’s just realized that someone who she thought was right for her isn’t reciprocating her feelings. Everyone’s had that moment — the one where you fall head-over-heels for someone and suddenly they just stop making any effort with you whatsoever. In those moments, you’re left wondering what you did wrong and why you weren’t good enough for them instead of realizing that maybe they’re just not a good person or, at the very least, that they’re not good for you. The next couple of days — or maybe even weeks — you keep telling yourself to let them go and to get over them but as much as you keep trying you just can’t stop dwelling on what they’ve done to you.
At the top of the first chorus, the instrumentation all but drops out. During the first verse there was a steady crescendo, but when we get to what is arguably the strongest lyrical moment in the song “Party for one. / If you don’t care about me, / I’ll just dance by myself, / back on my beat” the instrumentation is significantly lighter. It’s that moment in your life where you’re saying “I’m a strong, independent woman who don’t need no man” … except that you don’t really believe this just yet. By the second time that she’s singing the chorus the drums and bass are reintroduced; and now you’re starting to believe that you actually are strong and independent. But you’re still not convinced you don’t need a man in your life.
The second verse is that part of your life after the breakup where you’re still blaming yourself and wondering why you weren’t good enough. It’s a short verse (poetic, really, as this should be a short period of greiving in your life before you move on to realize that YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH) where Jepsen’s asking herself all of the questions we ask ourselves. Was he only with me because nobody else would give him the time of day? Did I just convince myself that everything was going great? Did he ever really love me? Why can’t I get over this even though I keep trying?
The foundation of the bridge is that moment when you finally believe what you’ve been telling yourself the entire time: that you are strong and you are independent and that you don’t need this man. Jepsen repeats “back on my beat” throughout while layering in “’cause you don’t care about me” and “party for one.” It’s when you’ve finally come out of the other end and you realize that you’re better off without him and you’re finally able to start relinquishing that control that you were allowing that person to have over you.
When we get to the final chorus, the drums become super syncopated and accent every word that Jepsen is singing. Finally, this chorus that has been building in power comes to this strong, energetic climax and Jepsen finds conviction while singing in lieu of the contemplation that was once present in its place.
Hours after its release on streaming platforms, Carly Rae Jepsen released one of the most queer music videos of 2018. The video features queer people of color, a glass butt plug, a double-sided dildo, and Mark Kanemura (who became famous for his videos dancing to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Cut to the Feeling” last summer) looking like an absolute SNACC!
Regardless of your feelings about Carly Rae Jepsen, it takes a wonderful songwriter to capture so many emotions and the entirety of what can feel like such a long and perilous journey in a way to which people can relate. Unrequited love is one of the worst feelings in the world — while also being one of the most common — but “Party for One” is the uplifting track that we need to remind ourselves that what’s more important than being loved by another is loving yourself enough to keep going when you’re not.
In a year where some of our favorite pop stars (most notably Robyn) have steered away from making pop bangers, this is a breath of fresh air — a quiet respite and reprieve — and I’m excited to see how Carly Rae Jepsen follows up 2015’s forever iconic E-MO-TION with her forthcoming 2019 album.
Carly Rae Jepsen Releases “Party for One” Today
Jepsen Set To Perform On The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon November 5th
Multi-platinum Grammy, Juno and Polaris Prize nominated singer/songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen releases new song “Party For One” today, November 1, on 604/School Boy/Interscope Records. The track was co-written by Jepsen and produced by Captain Cuts and HIGHTOWER. “Party For One” is available now at all digital retailers and will appear on Jepsen’s forthcoming album which is set for release in 2019.
The video for “Party For One” was shot in New York City and directed by Bardia Zeinali. Watch the clip HERE. Jepsen will perform “Party For One” on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on November 5th (NBC, 11:35/10:35pm c).
Says Jepsen of her new song, “To me ‘Party For One’ is an anthem of what it is to celebrate time with yourself, which is a hard thing for people to really enjoy sometimes, and it’s something I’m learning to do more and more. This song represents a lot of what this album is about for me which is romantic love but self-love too.”
Jepsen’s 2015 album E*MO*TION, earned a host of rave reviews with several outlets – including TIME, Entertainment Weekly, Pitchfork, People, Stereogum, Vulture, Complex, and Noisey- declaring it the pop album of 2015. The set featured the platinum selling single “I Really Like You.” One year later Jepsen released E*MO*TION Side B as a gift to her fans and saw it immediately rise to the iTunes Top 10 . E*MO*TION followed the release of Jepsen’s U.S. debut album Kiss featuring the blockbuster break-out hit “Call Me Maybe” which climbed to #1 on the iTunes Singles charts in over 47 countries, has sold over 20 million singles worldwide and is certified Diamond in the United States. It earned Jepsen 2012 Grammy nominations for Best Pop Solo Performance and Song of the Year.
Jepsen landed the lead role in the 2014 Broadway production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella and later starred as the iconic Pink Lady, “Frenchy,” in FOX’s four-time EMMY award winning musical GREASE: LIVE. Most recently Jepsen voiced the character of Odette in the animated movie “LEAP!”. “LEAP!” featured Jepsen’s song “Cut To The Feeling” which has been hailed by critics as a top song of 2017 showing up on year end “Best Of” lists for Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Billboard, Noisey and more.