1. Have you always loved music?
My father was a DJ, and my mother loved music very much. Music has been a part of me since before I was even born. To say I have always loved music would be an understatement. Music is a part of me like a vital organ.
2. Who are your inspirations?
There are many parts of me, and I have different inspirations for those different parts. My vocal expression can sometimes be inspired by Mariah Carey. Groups like The Stylistics and The Dells play a paramount role in the emotion I seek to summon in some of my music. But many times I look to my inner self and personal reference to build on those smooth, sensual overtones. Sometimes, I find myself inspired by something or someone and don’t realize it…like Stevie Wonder, Patti LaBelle, and Ray Charles. I listen to Ray Charles on the regular…got to have my Ray every morning.
3. Were you surprised at how popular your first releases became?
I’m transgender, so I didn’t know what the hell to expect. I figured I don’t have to be like these few self-proclaimed “transgender artists” that use their transgenderism as the focal point of their career and come out saying “Hi, I’m trans. Here’s my music!” I want to be appreciated for my actual music. Not my appearance, not the person I am, not the man I date, not the country I live in, and most definitely not my gender status, especially if it’s not going to remain this way for much longer. When ‘Leave You’ gained hits and was being requested on radio stations, I wasn’t too surprised. That song is a smash. Wait till the album comes out LOL.
4. Where can we see you perform?
I have performed at NYC Groove, Lips, and a few other venues I can’t think of at the moment. I don’t frequent these places, but when I do a show, it’s always a memorable one for me.
5. Do you consider yourself an artistic loner or a free spirit?
In many ways I’m both. I’m a lone artist when I’m in the studio and drift into my world of creativity. I’m a free spirit when I fail to see the need to conform to standards of sound and message. It’s my world. Individuality derives from freedom of spirit.
6. You went through a lot of family difficulties growing up how have you succeeded past so many pressures?
As a child and early teen, I was always fixated on art. I would draw these amazing pictures during class, while still retaining the teacher’s every word in the background. I maintained decent grades, went home and got verbally and physically abused, and came back to school the next morning like nothing ever happened. I used the classroom as an escape from what was going on at home. No one ever knew the gravity of my family situation and the enormous stress I was suffering. My being a bipolar child contributed to my acting out and misbehaving, and no one understood how or why. All of my father’s abuse just seemed like a side effect or price to pay for the bliss I experienced when I’d disappear into my music or drawing. I needed my mother, and she couldn’t be there because of him. I was very angry and very depressed, and I knew that the only for it to all end would be to stick it through, and wait till I was 18 and I could do whatever the hell I wanted. But I couldn’t wait. I couldn’t take anymore…I left at 15. Had I stayed, I might either be dead or incarcerated right now. I was bound to kill either myself or my father. It was bad.
7. There is a deep raw spiritual connectivity to your listening audience. Do you consider yourself an emotional and deeply spiritual person?
I love God. I believe in God. I believe in the human spirit. I believe that everything in this world has a spiritual embodiment. Even the cup of coffee I’m drinking right now…everything. By my very nature, I’m an emotional creature, capable of sensing others’ feelings, and tapping heavily into my very own. Sometimes, so many deep, passionate emotions wreak havoc on me, and I struggle to find a way to put it in music, and I don’t know where to begin. When this happens, I accept it as an omen that it’s something premature for our time…something that this world is not ready for…something not from our dimension…something that is not meant for this era in time. I believe this happens when a muse accidentally throws me inspiration from a different part of the universe.
For The Complete Story and Interview read the Winter 2011 Issue of Hot Stepz Magazine www.hotstepzmagazine
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