All Posts By Madhura

Karlee Perez Is Fighting Her Way Up

by

Life can throw all the lemons it wants but Karlee Perez is fighting her way up through it all. From developing numerous projects for film and tv to battling the ways of the industry as a woman of colour, she has done it all. Perez is most known for her work as a professional wrestler and actress for WWE and Lucha Underground respectively. Meet the professional wrestler turned producer powerhouse in this interview. 

1) If you could use one word/phrase to describe your career as a professional wrestler, what would it be? Parallelly, how would you describe your career and experiences as a creative?

“You don’t get what you wish for, you get what you work for.” I had to work hard to achieve my dreams, and not every path has been smooth. This goes for both of my careers. In both wrestling and working as a creative, it is important to have a balance between the two. This is extremely crucial in order to be healthy physically and mentally. I can’t be so hard on myself all the time too. Once you lose your passion and fun in what you’re doing, both careers can take a toll on you. I have to remind myself all the time why I started doing this in the first
place.

2) While fulfilling the role of a producer/creative, do you find yourself looking back on your time as a wrestler? What is something that has stayed with you from that part of your life?

Yes, I definitely find myself looking back on my wrestling days. It was an incredible and memorable time of my life that I am very proud of, and it was the path I needed to bring me to where I am now. The work ethic and dedication it takes to be a wrestler has stayed with me since I have transitioned into being an actress and producer.

3) Why was it important for you to transition into film/tv. How difficult has it been for you to step into a different sort of role and environment?

Wrestling was all I’ve ever known and I made sacrifices to leave that life behind to focus on film and television. I was not born into this like other people in the entertainment industry. I didn’t have any connections to get me here. That was a different kind of pressure to succeed because I had to depend on myself in order to make it. Stepping into this and expanding myself has shown me how strong and determined I can actually be.

4) Tell us a little bit about the various projects that you are producing for film and tv. What should we expect from them?

I have a handful of projects in production at the moment. I am currently working on Miami River Cops, which is a series I am producing with Power executive producer Mark Canton. There’s also a FUBU series that will be about founder and owner Daymond John and how he made the company into the iconic brand we know it as today. Lastly, I am also working on a series based on the award-winning book Shots On the Bridge, which tells the true story of
horrendous crimes New Orleans police committed during Hurricane Katrina, and how this was later covered up. I am hoping these projects bring light to real, authentic stories that need to be shared with audiences.

5) You have undeniably had to encounter push backs while attempting to carve your niche as a woman producer. What were the hurdles and the rewards of stepping into this challenging role? 

There are so many hurdles I face daily as a woman of color. For most of us, we have to fight for a spot in this business. It’s pretty obvious there is still a lot of old-school mentality and obstacles in Hollywood these days. I understand change can be hard for people who have been doing the same thing for 30 plus years, but this pushback specifically should not be swept under the rug. It’ll be rewarding to know that once I push to a certain point it won’t be as difficult, and I hope it will pave the way for aspiring women like me.

6) If you single-handedly had the power to make changes in Hollywood, what are some things you would implement?

If I had true power to make important changes in Hollywood, I would definitely make the effort to have stories told about interesting people with lives who don’t usually get covered. I would also change the dynamic for women in the television and film industry and people of color in the industry so that we can all succeed and reach new heights.
By doing so, I would create more jobs and opportunities in front of and behind the camera.

7) Is there perhaps a dream project that you would like to tackle in the future? Could you tell us a little bit about it?

I would love to do something that would highlight my passion and my goals not only in front of the camera but also behind it. I have a couple of projects on my radar that I am interested in, however, I would like to establish myself more as a producer first so I can have a better opportunity to bring those stories to life in the future.

Photo credit: Todd Vitti

Follow Karlee Perez on Instagram. 

Read more celebrity news on Cliché.

 

Tisha Custodio’s Fresh Take On Creativity

by

Having to juggle music and acting, Tisha Custodio’s days are always packed. In one of her more recent projects, she is a series regular on Disney+’s “Big Shot” alongside John Stamos. Despite the busy days,  she finds time to replenish herself. This interview is all about Tisha Custodio’s fresh take on creativity.

1) You are a creative individual, in multiple senses of the term, as you act as well as work on music. Does acting and working on music simultaneously spread your creative energy too thin? How do you create enough balance?

Most of the time, music helps me wind down at the end of the day. Writing songs, or even just playing around with my guitar, helps me process my feelings/experiences more. However, there are some instances where I feel creatively drained. I think what helps me through these dips is the knowledge that most artists go through these periods and that I’m not alone. I recently went through a period of burnout, and it made me realize the importance of being gentle with myself and being ok with taking more breaks. Especially with music, it’s so easy to be obsessed with creating and getting better at your craft that it might feel like wasted time to do something else. But minimizing the other things life has to offer will make you feel burnt out more often and limit opportunities for creative inspiration.

2) What was your experience like on the sets of “Big Shot”? Could you give us an insight into the character of Carolyn Smith? How different or similar is she in comparison to you?  

My experience on Big Shot was incredible. This is my first TV credit, and I feel so lucky to have this kind, talented cast to show me the ropes. 

Carolyn, or Mouse, is the smallest and youngest one on the basketball team. She comes from a military family and is growing into her own throughout the first season. I would say we are similar in the sense that we work really hard to achieve our goals. I think the biggest difference is our age and where we are in life. Mouse is worried about getting straight A’s and receiving approval from adults and teammates. But I’m personally worrying about how to be an adult and not worry about what other people think.

3) How has your work life or your regular workday changed due to the pandemic and its consequences? How do you think the entertainment industry, as a whole, has been impacted by the same?

The beginning of the pandemic was weird because we knew we had this show to come back to but had no idea when we would be back. I had this unexpected hiatus and ended up spending more time with family and falling more in love with music. 

I’m amazed at how the entertainment industry figured out all these new protocols to safely open back up. There are more things to worry about: PPE, separating production into zones, and enforcing social distancing. It is a little different than how we’re all used to filming, but it makes the process so safe during these times. 

4) How has being an immigrant and a person of color impacted your work and your creative voice?

Being an immigrant has given me the ability to bring in a different perspective in the choices I make with my characters. It has made me want to bring Filipino culture to all my characters, so people that come from a similar background watching could feel seen in the media. 

5) You are known to enjoy myriad genres of music. But what is your debut EP going to sound like? Are you done with any of the tracks yet? If so, could you share something about the process?

There are a couple of songs I feel are close to finished. But I am still mostly just writing a bunch of songs. It’s going to be acoustic-driven, indie-folk with a touch of jazz and r&b. 

6) What’s next for Tisha Custodio? Do you have something upcoming that you would like to share with us?

Mostly writing songs! Hopefully a season 2 of Big Shot!

Images by Ryan West Photo.
Follow Tisha Custodio on Instagram.
Read more entertainment articles at ClichéMag. 

Cheri Moon Speaks Her Truth With “Ain’t I A Woman”

by

Cheri Moon speaks her truth with “Ain’t I A Woman”; a love letter to empowering and triumphant women from around the world. In this interview, she sheds light on the creative process behind the song, what inspired her and the message she wishes to put out into the world. 

1) You, Cheri Moon, speak your truth with Ain’t I A Woman. This track comes from a place of inspiration. And hence, you dedicate it to Sojourner Truth. You also dedicate Ain’t I A Woman to your grandmother. I would love to know a little bit more about how your grandmother has been an evident source of inspiration in your life. Do you, in turn, attempt to do for your daughters what she did for you? 

Yes, my grandmother, like most grandmothers, was the backbone of my family. She was a very strong woman and a true believer. When I say believer, she was strong in her faith but also, I can’t ever recall her being negative about our goals or aspirations. I mean, she may have had some old-school views, but then that’s what all kids think of parents. She generally leads by example and was beloved by lots of people. I try my best to instill similar values in my kids. Teaching them to be good people and to give. I also like the fact that they can look at their mom and think “Wow, mom just doesn’t give up!” I teach them that hard work is essential if you are ever going to get anywhere in life.

2) While the music video celebrates strong and intelligent women, it also contains stunning visuals and moments of conventionally feminine aesthetic. I love how it reconciles these supposedly separate entities. Why do you think there has always been a tension between embracing one’s femininity and being taken seriously? How do you combat that as an artist?

I believe the femininity struggle stems from oppression from many years ago, just as racial oppression. We as women have made leaps and bounds in progression, but there’s still so much more that needs to happen. When I look at so many achievements women are making nowadays, I know we are going in the right direction. As a female artist, you have to be headstrong and really confident about who you are and what sacrifices YOU want to make. These days you can create your own destiny.

3) Since you revisited a moment of inspiration from your childhood to write this song, what was the creative process like for you?

It was an emotional roller coaster for me with this song simply because I continue to struggle sometimes with my place in the world and my purpose. I know that my life is meant for Greatness and I haven’t quite achieved it yet in my eyes. So, when I have moments of despair I always reflect back to my childhood and my upbringing because that’s what fuels me and makes me feel certain I’m on the right path. I draw strength from moments in my childhood.

4) Recently, especially after the spike in hate crimes against the Black and Asian community, people have been taking notice of the extent to which systemic injustices continue to exist and churn out hate. 2020 and 2021 have seen moments of togetherness as people from all walks of life expressed outrage and protested amongst loss and pain. I would love to know how you have used your platform during these times of unrest.

Injustices will continue to happen unless we are consciously combatting them and creating change. For me, I feel that my best contribution is to motivate and uplift people with my music and art. With “Ain’t I A Women” I felt a huge urge to create something that would hopefully empower and motivate women of all walks of life to stand up and fight for things they want and equality. Even with some of my dance songs and children’s songs, I try as much as I can to put out positive affirmations. Social awareness with my ‘Snooknuk’ project has always been my main focus because the children are where we can really create FUTURE CHANGE!

5) We would love to know what’s next for you. Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share with us?

I’m releasing more music, some that’s inspirational and some that are just fun and make you want to dance. I’m collaborating and tying into more fashion projects, which is another one of my passions! I’m also doing more acting and voice-overs, so I’m stoked about some projects that are coming out soon. With my ‘Snooknuk’ project, I’m working on shows and animation so, I’m excited about that world!

Images provided by Icon PR. 

Follow Cheri Moon on Instagram and Twitter.
Read more music on ClichéMag

Madison Deaver Releases Up-Tempo Bop “That’s What She Said”

by

MADISON DEAVER’S EP “TONGUE TIED” EVOKES
FEMALE LED 90S MUSIC

“THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID” is the first single to be released on May 7, 2021

Madison Deaver delivers her freshman EP “TONGUE TIED”, a fresh embodiment of female singers of the 90s with guitar led tracks, brutally honest lyrics and strong vocals. Madison’s collaborations with producers from Nottingham, UK and Los Angeles, California, US create a cool blend of indie pop rock sounds from both British and American music throughout the EP.

Featured on “TONGUE TIED” are American drummer, Adrian Young (Dreamcar / No Doubt) and British guitarist Adam Slack (The Struts). Few new indie artists have the international talent that this EP does giving credibility to this artist’s deserved rise onto the global music scene.

Among the EP’’s 5 tracks “That’s What She Said” a cheeky, up-tempo bop is the first single scheduled for release on May 7, 2021. The sweeping ballad “Villain” is also planned to be released as a single.

The full EP is scheduled to be released on June 4, 2021 and will be available through all streaming outlets.

Listen to That’s What She Said – here.

 

 

Images by Bibiana Perry.
Follow Madison Deaver on Instagram
Read more music on ClichéMag.

 

 

rIVerse Is Back Stronger Than Ever With New Album Poison IV

by

Meet Toronto-based pop and r&b group rIVerse! Here to be a voice for the underrepresented, rIVerse is all about embracing oneself truly. Through their music and videos, they explore themes such as sexuality, representation, and body positivity. Tackling systemic injustices and self-love, rIVerse is back stronger than ever with new album Poison IV. In the wake of the release, rIVerse’s Khadija, Dizz, Monroe, and Zak chatted with Cliché about their mission, inspirations, and upcoming projects. 

1) Poison IV features tracks that are reflective of systemic injustices that have existed for centuries. In that light, what’s your favorite lyric from ‘Poison IV’ and how does it resonate with you?

Khadija: In terms of a favourite lyric from ‘Poison IV,’ that’s a tough question. We ALL have different songs that are our favourites, and those change from day-to-day! Haha. But one line that keeps resonating for me is from the song ‘IV Ever’. It says, “We’re in a broke-down system. We need to find a new way”. It’s just such a really clear, simple summary of ALL the injustices we address on the album, I feel. It’s reflective of the way the world really started to understand in 2020 that the issues we face aren’t case-by-case problems. They are the results of centuries of systemic injustice. Until we fix the entire system, we won’t see any lasting change. 

2) Dizz, I cannot imagine the courage it takes to come out as HIV-positive in a world that is still steeped in stigma. What has life been like for you after coming out with the news?

Dizz: Since coming out publicly about living with HIV, my life feels so much more free. I’m not a person who likes feeling like I’m hiding any shameful secrets or anything like that. I didn’t like the weight of having this new part of my life, part of my truth, and feeling like I had to hide it. Now I feel like I can just continue living my life without worrying about people finding out. It’s also been incredible to see the response since I chose to share my truth.

I’ve had many people privately messaging me in my DMs, thanking me for telling my story, coming out to ME about their own HIV statuses that they haven’t even told their friends or family. But seeing me be so open has kind of helped them to realize they don’t need to feel so defeated or wrong about themselves. That really helps me know, everyday, that I made the right choice.

3) The four of you break all kinds of norms that are unfortunately still prevalent. I would love to know what the response to your music and videos has been like. 

Monroe: The response we get to our music and videos is honestly overwhelming sometimes. In the best way! There are so many people out there who have NEVER seen anyone in mainstream media that looks like them, or that they feel can relate to their stories in such a close way. They are so grateful to rIVerse for just being who we are and doing what we do. And at the same time, it’s like, WE’RE grateful to THEM for supporting us and listening to our music, watching our videos! We know that we couldn’t continue to rise without their support. It means a lot to us to know that we’re creating something they really enjoy and they even need, in a way. They remind us everyday that we’re on the right path. 

4) Who or what do you draw your artistic inspiration from?

Zak: Our artistic inspirations come from such varied places, since we are four very different people with such diverse backgrounds. I think it’s safe to say that across the board, we all love music from earlier decades, especially the 90s & early 2000s. That’s what we grew up on so we often like to rIVerse (haha!) back in time to draw from that music. But the specific inspirations range from the alt-rock & ska that I listened to, the r&b that Dizz grew up on, the acoustic singers Khadija loved, and the great divas Monroe would imitate in her bedroom mirror, singing into a hair brush! And, of course, we all loved our 90s pop stars – Britney, Backstreet Boys, Christina, etc. 

5) What gap do you think currently exists in the music industry?

Khadija: The question of what gaps exist in the stories that are told in mainstream media is one that we actually discuss often. The baseline answer we often reach is that there is just a lack of representation, overall! We need a more varied representation of all different kinds of people. If we can see all different types of Black stories, or queer stories, or stories with plus-sized people at the centre, or stories that address all the different ways intersectionality can affect people, then it isn’t such a big deal when any one particular narrative is told.

OR if a particular narrative is left out in one space; we can trust that it’ll be told in another. But because we have such a small scope, even when there are “wins” — like the WAP music video was for female empowerment — it can still feel empty for some. It’s beacuse we’re missing the other elements to those particular stories. More representation is the answer! 

6) There has been a lot of talk about misinformation when it comes to the body positivity movement. What misconceptions do you think people have about the movement?

Monroe: There are still a lot of misconceptions about the body positivity movement. I guess it’s still so new to being a mainstream thing. One big misconception is that body positivity means you’re supposed to love everything about your body at all times. Any negative thought is like “No! You aren’t being body positive!” But I go through my days where I struggle with my body image, as we all do. We have so many years of programming we need to work through. There will be times when it’s harder than others. But we have to remember that loving yourself is meant to be a journey, not a destination.

Another big misconception  is understanding that while the movement is for everyone who suffers from body image issues… at the same time, the fat community has been specifically marginalized, mistreated, and faced with so much prejudice for a really long time. So that is a very specific issue that needs to be addressed. It should have the space to be talked about. People in that community should have their voices uplifted when it comes to body positivity. 

7) Does rIVerse have a motto/mantra?

Zak: There are two statements that are part of the rIVerse brand. The first is our mission statement, “Representing the Underrepresented,” which we make sure is the throughline of everything we create. The second is the declaration that we include in many of our YouTube videos and live fan interactions we have: “I am Beautiful, I am Worthy, I am Valued, and I am Loved.” We ask our fans to say this declaration along with us to remind themselves that, as much as they look up to us, they are just as amazing and powerful and worthy of seeing their dreams come true, no matter who they are or what their story is. 

8) Do you have any new projects up your sleeve that you would like to share with us?

Dizz: Yes!!! Coming up next for rIVerse is our full-length Poison IV Virtual Concert! We are working with an incredible team to produce a 60+ minute performance built around the album. This will be streamed to our fans all across the globe. We are so excited for this and feel blessed to be able to share a live performance experience with everyone who has been showing our music so much love. Especially since we had to cancel our very first headlining tour last year due to COVID-19. We are still fundraising for this concert, since we are an independent group and we pay for everything out of our own pockets. If anyone is interested in supporting our goal of putting on this concert, our music, or our message in general, please feel free to make a donation to our GoFundMe campaign!!!

Featured image by @fedesalis_.
Follow rIVerse’s journey on YouTube
Read more music on Cliché

Akira Akbar Opens Up About Dreams And Lessons

by

Although only in her teenage years, Akira Akbar is open and outspoken about her dreams and the lessons she has learnt en route to achieving them. Apart from having appeared in shows such as This Is Us and Family Reunion, the young actor has also starred in the box office hit Captain Marvel. Having been on myriad sets, she has had the opportunity to work with various accomplished actors. In this interview, Akira Akbar sits down with us and opens up about dreams achieved and lessons learnt on set and in life.

Your character in the movie “We can be heroes” has the ability to alter time. But if you could possess a super-power in real life, what would it be?

I would probably teleport so I won’t be late to things and I could go anywhere I want. 

What was it like being in Captain Marvel, considering it was such a massive box office hit? Does each project that you work in, change you just a little bit due to the experience you gain?

Working on Captain Marvel was so amazing. It still has me in awe that I’m a part of a Marvel movie. Working with all of these amazing actors like Brie Larson, Lashana Lynch, Samuel L has really inspired me to know that this is what I really want to do. Every project I do does change me a little bit because I gain and learn more from different people I work with.

You must be a source of inspiration for many young girls. What lessons would you like to share with them regarding authenticity? 

The message I have for young girls is to go after your dreams and be the best you can be. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you because you are amazing! 

Being a teen actor must come with its fair share of unique hurdles to overcome. How do you manage to still enjoy elements of a regular teenage life?

Honestly, I just enjoy life as it is. The best thing to do is just have fun as a kid and it’s pretty easy when u hang with the right people. 

Kids of this generation will one day make decisions that run the world. If you could, what is the one cause that you would dedicate your life to?

Definitely equality, my skin color should be treated the same as any other skin color because we are all equal.

If you could write a dream project, what kind of stories would you like to bring to the table?

I would love to remake Grease, it’s one of my favorite movies and I would love to see how this generation makes that come to life. 

Lastly, the repertoire you boast is already a force to be reckoned with. Is there any upcoming project of yours that you are excited about and would like to share with us?

I have a movie coming out called “Love you Anyway” and I’m working on another project that is still hush-hush but all I can say is stay tuned! 

 

Photos provided by Advantage PR.

Follow Akira Akbar on Instagram.
Read more entertainment on Cliché.

 

 

 

A Historic Moment For Women Directors

by

The 2021 Golden Globe nominations presented a historic moment for women directors everywhere. In a category that has only nominated 5 women in its 77-year history, three received nominations this year. Chloe Zhao, Regina King, and Emerald Fennell are all up for the Best Director accolade, alongside David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin. With Barbra Streisand being the only woman to have won, these nominations are raising a lot of hope. 

While the Academy is yet to nominate an Asian American woman director, Chloe Zhao is the first to be nominated in Golden Globes’ history. Nominated for “Nomadland”, she has enjoyed quite the success for it already. Nomadland is the first film ever to win the top prize in both Toronto International and Venice Film Festivals. It received four Golden Globe nominations.

Fellow nominee, Regina King is no stranger to stacking up trophies either. King’s “One Night in Miami”, her feature directorial debut, earned three nominations. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival, a first for an African American woman director, and received an outpour of appreciation. While she already boasts quite the impressive list of wins, people hope she will bag this one too. Many have however drawn attention to its absence from the screenplay category.

Emerald Fennell’s “Promising Young Woman” has also enjoyed stellar success and has received four Golden Globe nominations. It is also her feature directorial debut.

How celebratory is this moment?

The question here would be, is it too little and too late? One has to admit that news of this kind is always a little sad. Precisely because these moments are “historic” even now and far from regular. Women directors are yet to occupy their rightful place in cinema.

The nominations this year are undeniably a result of the severe backlash that the industry has met with recently. A lack of recognition of racially diverse films led to #OscarsSoWhite, just as the same for female-centric narratives led to outrage last year. In 2020, women directed a record number of movies. The last year has thus seen many a historic moment for women directors. However, as far as Golden Globe nominations go, Michaela Cole’s “I May Destroy You” was tragically snubbed.  Additionally, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” undeniably deserved more recognition. Regardless, many are hopeful as it is a definite improvement on last year. It’s safe to say that even though the industry has a long way to go, we might just be on the right path.  

Featured Image from- @iamreginaking
Read more Entertainment on Cliché

Internet Star, Jojo Siwa, Comes Out

by

“No matter gay, straight or bi… lesbian transgender life. I’m on the right track, baby I was born to survive!” Internet star Jojo Siwa danced to these iconic lyrics from Lady Gaga’s Born this way on Tik Tok. This got everyone talking and speculations hung in the air. Later on, Siwa tweeted a picture of herself in a shirt that said “Best. Gay. Cousin. Ever.”. Jojo immediately received an outpour of positive responses across various platforms welcoming her to the queer community from fans and celebrities alike. 

In an Instagram live two days later, she addressed her announcement. Siwa talked about how she had always known. “…I liked people. If that person happened to be a boy… great! If that person happened to be a girl… great”, she said. She happily gushed as she answered further questions during the rest of the live. “I am the happiest I’ve ever been!”, she said, smiling. Answering a question about labels, she mentioned that she didn’t quite know yet and did not want to ascribe herself a label. She highlighted time and time again that despite her overtly positive social media image, she had not been this happy in a while. Above all, she thanked her fans repeatedly and mentioned that she wanted them to know that this world is filled with so much love. 

While she received an outpour of positive reactions, not all were happy. A commenter on Instagram mentioned that she would never let her daughter watch her again. Siwa’s response was short and sweet.”Okay!”, she replied, in a comment that has over 50k likes. 

Siwa on stage with a mic in hand.

What this might mean-

Coming to the limelight while competing in Abby’s Ultimate Dance Competition, she quickly rose to fame, growing especially popular as a cast member on Lifetime’s Dance Moms. It truly will be a moment to remember considering that Internet star Jojo Siwa has a massive online presence that keeps expanding. With hugely successful tours and products with her name on it in major stores across the States, she continues to be a force to be reckoned with.

Boasting more than twelve million subscribers on YouTube, 30 million followers on Tik Tok, and 10 million on Instagram, she is in a position to positively influence millions. Especially considering her young fanbase, this ultimately, opens doors for further conversation. Firstly, the millions of kids that watch her might be encouraged to challenge heteronormativity. Above all, however, they get to learn that safe-places for queer voices exist and are welcoming of queer youth. 

Images by- @itsjojosiwa

Read more entertainment on Cliché.

Kid Hastings Returns With Dreamy New Single “Call Me Up”

by
Indie pop artist Kid Hastings returns from a year-long hiatus to release a new single + music video for “Call Me Up” from his forthcoming EP, releasing via Ourros.  Previously, “with his debut EP, Golden, Kid Hastings made an incredibly impressive statement as a writer and producer, capturing his subject candidly and with an articulation that seems beyond his years” – Ones To Watch
 
Kid Hastings, AKA Jake McEvoy of Hastings, England (though raised in New Jersey) is a jazz and choir kid turned bleached-hair indie rock/pop guitarist and songwriter. Drawing heavy influence from the jazz greats such as Thelonius Monk and Wes Montgomery, he approaches dreamy, sunny bedroom pop sounds with a sophisticated flair. His complex melodies, layered vocals and unique self-produced soundscape span a diverse catalogue of songs broaching solipsism, unrequited love and taking yourself less seriously. Check him out on Instagram and Tik Tok.
 
With the help of friend and fellow creative, Ava Doorey, the two devised a video for “Call Me Up” that embodies the complexity of Kid Hasting’s persona. These self-proclaimed “reformed theater kids” cooked up a concept that not only allows for Kid Hastings to present his unparalleled physical performance prowess, but also creates freedom through freedom. As the world kept turning, the pandemic made us all stay still. That said, McEvoy stepped into the zone of self-expression through artistic movement, and the freedom of identity that is the basis of the video allowed McEvoy to feel blissfully free himself. 
 
Images provided by Ourros.
Featured image by  Eddie Mandell and Aamir Khuller.
Read more music on Cliché.

Sleepwoka’s “Together We Are” Reflects On Resilience Of True Friendship

by

In a time when many of us are feeling disconnected physically from our friends, family and loved ones, Sleepwoka’s “Together We Are” reflects on the resilience of true friendship, even if we are spread far and wide.

Sleepwoka’s strong use of analog synthesizers brings a nostalgic 80s vibe and a captivating and surreal tone to his projects.

London based Ukrainian producer and songwriter, Sleepwoka, returns with another poignant single enthused with uplifting electro-pop soundscapes. Since he burst on the scene just last year, Sleepwoka, has released a string of successful singles gaining the attention of BBC Music Introducing London, Earmilk, Variance and Atwood Magazine.

As Earmilk concluded after his last single, “How I Was wrong”; “Sleepwoka’s music succeeds in pursuing relatable and thought-provoking narratives, with the hopes to make listeners evaluate their everyday lives through intricately crafted electronic music.” The new single, “Together We Are”, perfectly follows suit.

The message that “Together We Are” conveys- 

In a time when many of us are feeling disconnected physically from our friends, family and loved ones, Sleepwoka’s “Together We Are” reflects on resilience of true friendship even if we are spread far and wide. He explains: this single is a tribute to all my friends that are scattered around the world. Although we live different lives and rarely see each other, it feels like the invisible connection only grows stronger. It’s a connection that reaches beyond messages on your phone. It’s the feeling that you get when warm memories from the past remind you of the strength of the friendship – which is especially important right now. Whatever this crazy world brings to us, it still feels like we’re in this together and no distance or time can change that.”

It’s a powerful and much needed reminder during the ongoing pandemic that we are not alone even if it has felt like that at times. 

Sleepwoka’s music is produced in his bedroom in North London. The strong use of analog synthesizers brings a nostalgic 80s vibe and the dream-like atmospheric visuals add a captivating and surreal tone to his projects.

Image provided by @sleep_woka

Follow Sleepwoka’s Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.

Read more music on Cliché

 

Ebony Buckle Drops A Whimsical New Single

by

Ebony Buckle is a London-based singer/songwriter. Taking listeners on a whimsical leftfield-pop journey with her complex harmonies and imaginative storytelling lyricism, Buckle sings about universal themes of romance, broken hearts and depression, to more poetic themes of disgruntled mermaids, lonely whales and joyous, hypothetical alien invasions. 

Buckle’s latest single “You’re Loved” is a calming and encouraging song. It’s something we all need in our lives at the moment. Have you ever wished you could send a message to yourself, just to let yourself know that you are ok? Well that’s exactly what the songwriter has done, sending a reassuring message to her future self. Buckle confides, “This song is something I wrote one winter when I felt really lost and alone. The song just came out and it was like I had needed to hear that voice saying ‘it’s ok, you are ok’.” Sonically, “You’re Loved” builds and builds, elevating until we’re hit with a release offering a sense of freedom for the listener. Through layered harmonies, soaring string arrangements and atmospheric percussion, the emotional song delivers a comforting feeling. 

All about Ebony-

 Ebony writes and records her music with musician and producer Nick Burns (also her Husband). “You’re Loved” was no exception. The song is written in a call and answer style – the verses are full of doubt while the choruses respond as if another voice is speaking. Buckle sings, ‘take a breath and breathe it in, you’re loved, you’re loved, you know.’ Reminding us to keep holding on, the songwriter shares, “I hope this song finds people wherever they are and reminds them that they are loved. This is my hug in song form.”

The singer and actress has performed in The West End and on screen for the BBC. Her role in George Gently as a Geordie folk singer gave her the platform to perform her vocal talents. Her music from the show reached number 1 in the iTunes World Music Charts. Buckle continues to have her original music receive extensive airplay from numerous BBC stations across the nation, garnering her considerable blog attention. Lastly, through her lyricism, music and poetry, Buckle continues to feed our imagination with her beautifully kaleidoscopic music. Come along for the ride – her unique world is completely enchanting.

Featured image provided by @ebonybuckleofficial.

Follow Ebony Buckle on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Read more music on Cliché.

Meet GottMik: RPDR’s First Openly Trans Male Contestant

by

Meet GottMik-  RPDR’S first openly trans male contestant! I need to be the first trans winner of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, period”, he said in a “Meet the Queens” video. In what is a historic moment for the show, Gottmik was announced as a cast member for the upcoming season in December of last year. Appearing alongside thirteen other talented queens, the fashion and design student turned makeup artist and performer is one to watch.

“I like to play with gender a lot”, he says. “I’ll still draw on a mustache sometimes. I love to look like a weird alien freak thing.” He highlights that the biggest misconception regarding him is that he can only do makeup. Already known for his head-turning makeup, his silhouette is sure to catch the eye too. He describes it as, “Very edgy and punk”. Even prior to joining season 13, he has been known to work with quite a few industry heavyweights. Above all, he says, his spirit is a fair blend of competitiveness and calmness. “Not giving a f*** is almost the way that I deal with stress”, he laughingly says. 

A History Of A Lack Of Representation-

But for many, there is still a long way to go. Upon joining the ongoing season, he is now a part of only a handful of trans queens who have made it on the show. While queens like Jiggly Caliente and Carmen Carrera came out after their appearances on the show, Peppermint and Monica Beverly Hillz were out prior to and during their appearances respectively. Furthermore, the show has had a history of transphobia. The show received quite the backlash in 2018 when Ru Paul said that queens that have undergone gender-affirming surgery might not be allowed to compete. The show had also featured a segment with a transphobic slur for many years.

Former contestant Detox also tweeted about the need to do away with “feigned inclusivity” and push for authentic representation instead. In an interview with Colbert, Ru Paul was asked about what he had learned hosting the show. His response was short and simple. “To keep an open mind”, he said. He then highlighted how the contestants continue to redefine and expand the boundaries of Drag as an art form. 

Gottmik and the future-

Getting back to Gottmik, being on the show means a ton. “The more I got comfortable with my gender identity, the more I got to play with the drag Gottmik side”. Citing season 3 winner Raja as one of her big inspirations, he mentions being excited at having a chance to bring the crown back to LA. He mentions, “Especially being a trans going in! A feminine perspective of a trans guy… The trans movement is getting so big, so powerful, so strong.” Above all, he’s out there to win it for his community and we just can’t wait to see what he has up his sleeves. 

 

Meet GottMik, RPDR’s First Openly Trans Male Contestant, on his new YouTube channel. 

Read more entertainment on Cliché.

Images provided by- @gottmik, @magnushastings.