Holly Miranda.

You know when a voice is just so perfect, and when you listen to it you are so unsure of the right words to use to describe it? That’s pretty much my feelings towards Holly Miranda. I started writing this last year (sometimes, I’m really slow with important stuff. I know my bad traits all too well) and for some stupid reason I left it. I guess I just didn’t know what to write, or how to write it. So I re-read what I had written and in a fit of “I AM SO SHIT” I deleted it. I deleted it just before starting it again. Normally I’d just ignore it and never think about it again, but it has been on my mind most of the evening. It makes a change because most of the time my thoughts are all over the place. Maybe it is because I haven’t had a nap today.

I was a huge fan of The Jealous Girlfriends. Organs On The Kitchen Floor is a song I play a hell of a lot still. It reminds me of self-indulgent cowards, we all know some. I try to avoid them. However there are some things in life you just cannot avoid. So enough putting off writing this. I spend my time just writing and writing. Seems like the quote to sum up my life is from the film, Almost Famous : “I’m always home, I’m uncool.” It doesn’t phase me anymore, especially when it means writing about Holly Miranda.

So yes, it all started with her being in The Jealous Girlfriends. I have no idea where I was when I first listened to them, I think I was at University to be honest. Seems about right. I think it was around 2007. Then a year or so later, I really go into Holly’s solo work. It just blew me away. I just wish I had the right vocabulary to express to you how much I love her voice. It isn’t your typical kind of voice, it’s why I love her SO much. You know when you hear a singer, and you just think “I want to meet this person and talk about music, and everything about it.” That’s how I feel. I’ve got about 10 musicians I feel this way about, Holly is one of them for sure. I’m just drawn to musicians that make music with all they have. You can tell they do it for the love of the art- not for the money. Selling out massive arenas isn’t what its about- it’s about staying true to your art. I just love that. Those who do not compromise who they are and what they do are people I find easy to admire and connect with. I find it to be the most inspiring trait a person can have.

Her voice is so damn soulful. It has such a bluesy feel to it- much like Janis Joplin. Did I just compare Holly to Janis? Yeah, I did. I went there. I’m not sorry. I don’t expect you to agree, but seriously..they both have that rugged yet vulnerable texture to their voice. It is so so perfect. Aside from me absolutely being in love with her music, there’s another reason as to why I’m writing about her.

Like a hell of a lot of musicians, Holly has a Pledge page where you can donate money in order to help the record be funded. Even if you’re not a fan of her work, please check out the Pledge site because you may just find your new favourite band. You can check out Holly’s page at : http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/hollymiranda Also, money will be going towards a charity Holly has chosen to endorse which is : http://www.i-live-here.com/malawi.html

I don’t regard sexuality to be a big deal in music, and I don’t see how you can use it to define a sound. Maybe it’s because I’m secure in my sexuality and don’t use it to define who I am. Who knows. Anyway, Holly is gay (big deal, I know but stay with me..) and I read a quote once and it pretty much said,

“I have no problem being out, but I don’t think it has anything to do with my music.” 

Can we just take a moment to applaud her for speaking the TRUTH. Her personal life is just that..PERSONAL. Same with anyone. I don’t care who you’re involved with. Just be happy and safe, you know? Music is music. It’s a force that brings people together regardless.

Holly’s music is just something I hold very dear to me. As you know by now I’m not a fan of covers but she’s done some AMAZING covers such as Ex-Factor, Let’s Get It On (her version of it is a serious deal..if it doesn’t sexually frustrate you, seek help), I’d Rather Go Blind..she’s just..man, if I had the right words I’d use them. But, I’ve done all I can. Holly if you see this (I wish you would) then I am so sorry I haven’t done you justice with this. I just think you’re incredible. I’ve put this under my “Influential Women In Music” category, because I believe she truly is influential in so many ways.

Anyway, have some songs to make up for the fact that I’m useless and she isn’t. ENJOY!

Homophobia In Music.

Around a week or so ago, something happened in America that made me realise even more that homophobia is disgustingly and sadly more alive than ever. A young lad named Jamey Rodemeyer who was only 14 years old, a baby, took his own life due to being bullied for being gay. He was part of the It Gets Better campaign. A few days later duo, Uh Huh Her (Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey) were taken off a flight just for kissing each other.

Do we throw straight couples off flights for kissing? No, we don’t. No one fucking looks, no one bats an eyelid. However, when it is two people of the same gender showing their affection for each other it is treated as if it is the worst thing in the world. It’s wrong how people will be vile towards two people of the same gender kissing each other, yet no one says a word when a parents hits their child in public.

We live in a world where love and compassion is no longer a core feature in society. We live in a world where all kinds of hatred are glorified and encouraged. This cannot continue. We are harming each other and neglecting unity. It is vile and HAS to end. Thing is, will it ever end? Will we ever live in a world where we just live and let live?

Homophobia is growing. I always knew it was bad and I’d be lying if I said I’d never been on the receiving end of it- more recent than I wish to acknowledge sadly. But for some reason unknown to the good people of the world, it seems to be getting worse. People kill themselves every single day because they are being ridiculed and shunned just because of their sexuality. It isn’t right. How can you possibly judge someone based on their sexuality? Why would you want to hate someone because they’ve found someone to love? Love is love. It has no race, it has no gender, it has no religion; it is just LOVE. When you find someone who can stand you even when you’re being a massive wanker- you’re one of the lucky ones. Not many of us find it or will ever find it. So why on earth would you want to stop someone finding something so precious, so sacred.

Uh Huh Her are a band that I adore, not because they are lesbians but because they make excellent music. Their sound isn’t defined by their sexuality. Just like Holly Miranda isn’t. She’s a singer/song-writer; her sexuality plays no part in her music. That’s how it should be.

Michael Stipe never used his sexuality to sell records for R.E.M; they sold records because of their talent.

Do musicians need to announce their sexuality? Well, it depends how you want to look at it. I don’t care for any of the artists I’m a fan of personal life at all. However, when a band you love has a gay band member you feel you can identify with them more; it gives you a personal connection. It gives you something to identify with.

For instance, Gossip was a band that helped me accept who I was. Now, I don’t use my sexuality to define who I am. Never have, never will. But when I was at Uni, I was away from a place that was so homophobic and small minded. I could finally live my life the way I wanted. I could finally be happy. I’d been a fan of Gossip before Standing In The Way Of Control was released, but when I heard it; it gave me strength and courage. If the song was around a few years prior, I would’ve saved myself a lot of hassle and hurt.

I know I frequently say music should bring us together, but a lot of Reggae/Dancehall artists are STILL promoting homophobia. It’s got to stop. In the Hip Hop community, artists such as Common are working towards stamping out homophobia in Hip Hop. It’s going to take baby steps to get rid of such a big problem, but hopefully people will see sense and stop being small minded. You cannot catch homosexuality- but homophobia is spreading. Kids are becoming more and crueler. Adults are becoming less and less understanding.

Seek refuge in music and just be yourself. People will try to take and take from you, but don’t ever give in. Something has to be done, it’s just a shame it takes a tragedy for people to wake up to what is happening.

Music is such a powerful force and if anything, it should be bringing us together. We need it now more than ever. We cannot be divided anymore. This HAS to end.

I want to finish this with something my mum posted on Facebook a few days ago, of all the people I know; she is by far the most wisest and compassionate human beings I know. I like think, no- I KNOW I inherited all my good qualities from her. My bad ones are just habits I picked up along the way of growing up and learning. Reading what she wrote made me proud to be her daughter and to be who I am. I’m lucky to have such an accepting mum. I know of so many that aren’t as lucky as me, and it makes me so sad. Like my mum has always said- my personal life isn’t her business so long as I am happy and safe. That’s all that matters. Here’s what she wrote :

“To be gay isn’t a choice it is a heart and soul felt emotion. To be gay is no threat to heterosexuals, you aren’t their type. How many gay serial killers and rapists have you heard of; gay people are not the enemy. The world has enough hatred without throwing it at vulnerable, gentle souls that want nothing other than to be left to live quietly and with dignity. If your child is gay its not really your business, did you love them before- hopefully yes- if so then how do you not love them now? If you can’t understand same sex relationships, don’t bother live in your ignorance, but leave them alone. How on earth can you harm someone just because they are different to you, try deflating your anger.  You know you are seriously mentally unstable when you can harm an innocent person that you don’t know just because they are gay. LIVE AND LET LIVE, LOVE AND LET LOVE. Everyone is special, everyone is worthwhile.  As Moms we love our children equally and without thought of gender, sexual preference or belief. We have to realise that hatred is killing the planet, starving us of compassion. We need to gently show the people of the world that being “gay” is not a reason to be hurt by ignorant homophobic “people” who don’t want to understand that if we were all exactly the same it would be a mighty lousy world. Embrace your children, all of your children, and for those who cannot understand same sex love, well then don’t bother-but for God’s sake leave them alone to be happy and content. Gay is no threat to your world stop being afraid they don’t want to convert you.  You are vicious and hateful, you aren’t their type. God Bless Everyone, especially young gay kids. xx”

One last thing dear reader, never hide who you are from the world. Be yourself and don’t give up or give in to the hate. You’re better than them. Have heart and be gentle.

Sexuality In Music.

I’ll just get to the point here- why are straight singers never referred to by their sexuality? Yet if a singer is bisexual, lesbian or gay- their sexuality is named before they are.

I’m not a fan of her music at all (she can sing, I know- I just don’t like her songs) but any time I have read anything mentioning Jessie J, the fact that she is bisexual is mentioned first. Why is it important?

Why isn’t it ever written, “Heterosexual singer Florence Welch…..” Why must the fact that someone isn’t straight be announced before their name? It’s beyond ridiculous.

I’m not someone who gives a shit about the sexuality of artists I like. I love The Horrors- do I care if any members are gay? No. Do I care who they are going out with? No. Do I care about their music and only their music? Yes. 10% yes. Their personal life is their personal life. It’s not my business; it’s not your business. It’s highly irrelevant to what they do.

Maybe there is still a hint of homophobia within the music industry, but nobody will ever bring it up. Something tells me no one would have been able to shut Beth Ditto up if they told her to not mention her being a lesbian when the band got big with the release of Standing In The Way Of Control. However, on the flip side of this- it can be a good thing. Knowing you have strong figures such as Beth Ditto that are open with their sexuality can make someone feel more at ease with their sexuality. If it wasn’t for the Gossip I honestly would have struggled a hell of a lot more with being a lesbian. Maybe I’d still be “in the closet.” I have no idea; all I know is that Gossip made it so much easier for me to accept who I am. However, I do not and will never use my sexuality to define who I am. I don’t apply for jobs and say “I am a lesbian, give me a job.” Let’s be honest, if I did that I probably would never have any chance with ever getting a job. There’s still homophobia around, if anything I feel it is a lot worse than it used to be.

There are so many ways to look at this. One thing that pissed me off more than anything was Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl. To some, it’s just a song. To others, it’s a mockery. It’s tacky and offensive. The lyrics to start with are awful and the meaning is even worse. It’s basically saying, “I’m not really gay/bisexual, I just kiss girls when drunk.” There are people that do this, and it’s just pathetic. They have no hint of lesbianism in them- but they will do it when drunk or to impress a guy. Yeah, girl power right? Fuck off. It’s just drunken fun? Drunken fun is stealing trolleys or kidnapping your friend’s dog and refusing to give it back (I’ve done neither.) Drunken fun is not taking the piss out of someone’s sexuality. Does Katy Perry know what the struggles the LGBT community face? No, because she’s straight. She doesn’t know what it’s like to be called various expletives based on who you fall in love with. This isn’t a personal dig at her, if I was going to do that- I’d dedicate a whole article to her. I don’t like her music, and I Kissed A Girl just sums up stupidity and desperation.

Moving on.

One singer in particular that I admire and have done for such a long time is Holly Miranda. I’ve loved her since she was in the band The Jealous Girlfriends. I love her voice. It’s quite bluesy and it grips you. I just think she’s fantastic. Is she super famous? No. But she should be. She’s currently working on a new album. Something that struck me about Holly Miranda was what she said about her sexuality, “I have no problem being out, but I don’t think it has anything to do with my music. I like who I like. I don’t want people to not listen to my music because of that and I don’t want people to listen to my music because of that. I haven’t had to deal with it in a professional way very much yet.” This is how it should be. She should be known based on her musical talent not her sexuality.

Would people care for Elton John or George Michael if they weren’t gay? Is that what sells them? Have they used their sexuality to sell records? I could name drop a certain person who I feel has done this, but- there’s no point. Let’s just say, their name is part of a Queen song. Has the penny dropped? It should have.

I’m fully aware that I am alone with my thoughts and feelings with this, but I’d be a bit of a wanker if thought and felt like everyone else really. Then again, that seems to be an issue with most.

What I am trying to say is that music should not have a gender or sexuality. It shouldn’t have a colour.

Do lesbians feel they cannot listen to straight singers because they are not straight? Do black people feel they cannot listen to Classical music because they’re not white? It’s all the same thing. Sell your music based on your talent (if you have any) not on parading around half naked, pretending to be “bisexual” to sell records. If you have to rely on a gimmick to sell your music- then stop. Just stop because you are preventing those with actual talent of making it.

Will anyone ever pay attention to bands that are openly gay such as  Uh Huh Her, The Cliks, Sick Of Sarah? Will anyone regard The Organ as one of the greatest female groups ever? No. Probably because they are gay. It’s a shame but homophobia is still alive and polluting peoples minds. However, singer kd lang has made her mark. Not by being a lesbian but by having one of the strongest voices ever.

I could easily go into a rant about how lesbians seem to love certain singers and bands. I really don’t get it. Not because I’m a pretentious oik, but because I don’t get it. I don’t think that because Spiritualized are one of my favourite bands that I know more about music than you or that I’m better than you. Far from it. So far from it. I’d like to know why people buy into what is forced upon them.

It becomes like a uniform almost. Gay men are forced to “enjoy” the music of Madonna and Lady Gaga. Lesbians are forced to “enjoy” the music of Pink and Paramore.

Personally, I don’t give a shit what anyone listens to. I like what I like, you like what you like.

Music unites people, so stop segregating it by labelling a musician based on their sexuality before you write their name.