Jeesh I was nervous. Can you tell? The idea was to talk about queer pop divas, a history dating back to the 60’s, if not further. If anything, this experience shows that Fabian and I don’t have what it takes to truly shine on stage. But why should it matter, right? Every now and again you should get out of your comfortzone a little bit.
Now, in case you’re thinking, why does the name Fabian sound so familiar? Well, that might just be because you remember him from Episode Five: Vaporwave and the Trans Experience. In this show he’s back for a continuation of our conversation about hyper pop., but also to share some updates on his own series of online queer parties and spill his thoughts on pop divas throughout the ages.
That being said, I’d like to thank everyone who came out to the Dutch Podcast festival, checked the show through the live stream and interacted on Instagram and Twitter. You can check out the other shows, panels and workshops they put together through Podcastfestival.nl. Don’t forget to leave some feedback. You can find the link to the contact from below.
Song 1: Diana Ross – No Matter What Sign You Are Song 2: Carly Rae Jepsen – Run Away With Me
As a gay boy growing up in the countryside, fabulous cartoons and musicals made his childhood. Because he had to deal with homophobia and a severe lack of media representation, it took Kenyth a couple of years longer to realise who he is as a person than would have been the case if he were brought up in a supportive environment. By extension his expectations for the future got very confusing. Luckily, that all changed throughout the years. Partly, because of music!
As trope-y as it may seem, Kenyth Mogan left his home state Montana with a twinkle in his eyes and a song on his lips. In LA he didn’t manage to become the big-shot pop star he set out to be, but he did find a place in which he can unapologetically be himself. Along the way he got the occasional reminder that having fun is the most important part in making music which can eventually lead to praise from your biggest idol and inspiration.
As a kid from the 80’s, his musical choices reflect the time in which he grew up. However, he’ll always pick the side of the underdog. Be prepared for an episode that stands up for underappreciated artists, whether that’s do to public image or just because of how bad, yet fun their music is. Kenyth might be the first white cis gay man on this podcast, but don’t let that be an excuse to accuse him of not having an interesting and fun story.
Katlego Kolanyane-Kesupile might just be one of the most prolific queer Motswana in the world. Whether you found out about her through her ARTivism or her TED talk, there is always more to discover about her. You’d be surprised how many stories related to music this amazing person holds, too! From her love for 80’s pop divas to some sidesteps into musicals and emo.
Ultimately, please remember that you don’t need the approval of UN officials for you to be valid. Kat however, actually went out and got the thumbs up from the late Kofi Annan. Moreover, she became a Global Shaper for the World Economic Forum. Not through affirmative action, but simply because she’s a born overachiever. For all details of Kat’s overwhelming resumé you should just go check her Wikipedia page.
Frankly, there’s quite a lot of things we didn’t get to talk about in this conversation. For example, I would have loved to dive into the subject addressed in Kat’s TED talk. In this speech she explained her experiences with getting her past white-washed after growing up in rural Botswana. But sometimes a conversation just goes the way it goes and we’ll have take all other possible topics for granted. Besides, it’s all the more reason to have her back on the show sometime! In case you’ve got suggestions as to what to talk about next time, or if you want to call me out on my ignorance, feel free to drop a line. You can find a link to the contact form below.
Flashback Track: Whitney Houston – I Wanna Dance With Somebody Queer Artist Spotlight: Alsarah & The Nubatones – 3roos Elneel Best Live Experience: Janet Jackson – Miss You Much Recent Discovery: Kwaye – I Go
Stigmas are stacking up for Yannick. First of all, she’s a black woman in the United States, secondly, she’s trans. On top of that all, she has also been diagnosed with HIV/ Aids. Subsequently, people tend to underestimate how healthy she actually is. Of course a diagnosis like this one influences her life, but the biggest health concern is how she actually ought to go for a run more often.
In order to cope, she found a collection of creative endeavours as a way to vent. They’re also a method to disprove any misconceptions surrounding any aspects of her person. From an extensive back catalog on YouTube, to decent a collection of fun Euro-dance pop songs and a podcast called Conversations with the Priestess. She’s been finding ways to keep herself busy and quite successfully at that.
Unfortunately, something we hardly even talked about in the episode is the way Yannick presents herself. Obviously, gender expression does not equal gender identity. So, to her as a woman, this means she’s still comfortable appearing somewhat androgynous. Drop a line with your own coping methods or thoughts on gender expression through the link below!
Flashback Track: Whitney Houston – I’m Your Baby Tonight Queer Artist Spotlight: Bjorn Duphot – Heart of Stone Best Live Experience: Beyoncé – Formation Recent Discovery: Durand Bernarr – Fly on the Wall
My next guest is a feisty one. Diamond Styles has always done whatever it takes to power through any bad situation. Though some descriptions can get quite graphic, she doesn’t let any mistreatment slow her down. Like she says in the episode: Go for the Gusto.
Diamond’s resumé is beyond impressive. She’s been building a YouTube career pretty much since the video platform launched, diverted into writing, song writing and podcasting, and she was the first trans woman to attend Jackson State University. One could write an extensive book about her life, but a musical or a podcast that would honour all the songs important to her seem more appropriate.
As you might notice, Diamond likes to sing. Never has this podcast seen so much actual live music in one episode. I was almost worried I’by how much content had to be cut in order to adhere to the music licencing QueerSounds uses. In case you can’t get enough of her voice, check out the links below. In the meantime, let me know your favourite sons to sing along to!
Time for this history nerd to look at their own past. Leigh, host of the History is Gay Podcast dives into some good old pop nostalgia ans when things started to make sense for them. Whether it’s popculture or boybands, they’ve always been part of some fandom. In part because of the music, but also because of a sense of community. After all, the true queer treasure would be the friends you make along the way.
It’s a bit awkward to admit to this, but when I first started podcasting it was Leigh and their then co-host Gretchen who motivated me to start QueerSounds. If they were able to find their niche audience, I should be able to do the same. So this podcast would not have existed without History is Gay. Needless to say, I am super excited to have Leigh on the show.
There’s one point they really wanted to emphasise, though. As a podcaster with a feminine perceived voice, people wrongly approach them as a woman. Please, please, please people: make sure you check what peoples’ pronouns are when you reach out to them. Thank you.
Over the past few years Kai Mata has written some amazingly fun queer folksy pop tunes. Her first album was released in 2018 and new material is coming out in good time. Through her songs she managed to become the most prolific queer singer-songwriter from Indonesia. As a fun new musical treat, she’s got something special planned for QueerSounds listeners.
It’s as important as ever to actively contribute to representation. In Kai Mata’s case, she hopes to shake a wave that makes Indonesian queer people feel seen. Even though this means she’ll need to deal with getting her music pirated, online bigotry, and the occasional ignorant podcast-host.
As much as she feels proud of her work, there is a lot of progress yet to be made. For example, in a recent twitter post she warned anyone who would listen for the upcoming law in her home country. Below you can find the link to both the video as well as the bill we’ll talk about.
Plenty of queer people hugely benefit from an online community. When Gunneet started to joke about her bisexuality she accidentally became someone providing such a community on Tumblr. She is a true connoisseur of Bisexuality providing knowledge with nice layer of comedy.
Whenever she gets the chance, her comedy moves from a digital environment to an actual stand-up setting. This allows her to really get a sense for what type of humour people may or may not appreciate. For example, performing in general comedy club is very different compared to queer spaces. Most notably, in wholesome queer spaces it’s a lot less likely some prick will groan at properly funny feminist joke. Some people just don’t know how to appreciate good humour, am I right?
It may not come as a surprise, but humour is a very common coping mechanism. Whether that might be in order to deal with depression or coming to terms with being queer. For Guneet, thats’s no different. Bi-facts and the huge amount of positive reactions it set off made her, and a lot of others with her, feel strong and validated in their sexuality. In case you’re not familiar of this blog, you can find it in the show notes below.
Finally, I’d like to recommend Nancie Schipper’s music. She’s another Australian musician in line with those mentioned in the episode. Check out “Comedy Show” or “Take out the Trash” especially.
QueerSounds: The Covid Sessions. A new setting, slightly worse audio quality, but same old format and fantastic tunes. As my first ever guest who doesn’t reside in the Netherlands, Elodie talks about her love for gaming soundtracks, CD’s and a one politically active band that started it all.
You should know Ill take any chance to talk about Pokémon. It probably doesn’t fit the music and queer angle too well. However, its been such a huge part of my life I just cant resist diving in deep whenever it comes up. Besides, that RSE soundtrack slaps! Also, to ignore videogames is to ignore how big a lovely nerd Elodie is. For example, you don’t want to know though how may Jar-Jar Gifs I had to scroll to get the image at the top of the post.
In the last section we talk about physical releases. Do you still buy CDs or vinyl? Let us know through the contact link below.
Flashback Track: Morikazu Aoki – Route 110 (Pokémon RSE) Queer Artist Spotlight: Aurora – Apple Tree Best Live Experience: Super Furry Animals – The Man Don’t Give a Fuck Most Recent Discovery: Dream Bitches – Tracy Emin
Oh boy, this is a bit of a messy one. This episode has been on the shelf for a bit but the positive energy Joëll radiates is something I don’t want to withhold from you. Listen to him sharing his stories of love and fascination for the Mediterranean.
While editing this I wrote in my notes, in huge letters: Keep it Queer! We were off nerding about history and completely forgot to talk about Joëlls queer experience. It briefly comes up by the end of the episode but I feel like there was a lot that still could be said.
To tell you the truth, Im very happy to have worked ahead. Allow me to pull back the curtain a little bit: in February 2020 alone I recorded four podcast episodes. Because of this, I’m able to keep going as covid restrictions are tightening. Meanwhile, I’m working out some fun new ideas. Keep your eyes peeled!