D!XON has learned to embrace his whole self – and eagerly invites his fans to do the same! The gender non-conforming artist faced backlash growing up, but quickly found kinship with other people in the 2SLGBTQ+ community. His newest single, “Arms Around Me,” captures the nervous adrenaline that comes with meeting someone new. D!XON hopes to pave the way for a rising generation of 2SLGBT+ artists and wants to encourage everyone to love as loudly as they can. Watch the video for “Arms Around Me” below and follow D!XON on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Cliché: Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations, past and present?
I am influenced by artists who are either entertainers and/or songwriters. I have always felt both masculine and feminine energy as a performer throughout my childhood so I get my inspiration from powerful female voices in music like Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, and Toni Braxton, along with non-binary/gender non-conforming artists such as Michael Jackson and Prince. In terms of more contemporary artists, I really enjoy listening to Tinashe, Years & Years, Tove Lo, Jazmine Sullivan, JoJo and Sam Smith.
How would you describe your relationship to gender? What does gender expression look like for you?
My gender expression is whatever I want it to be depending on my mood. When I go out or I am on stage I feel free, liberated and powerful when I wear a sickening hairstyle, have make-up on and put together a hot ensemble from both the male and female section of a clothing store. I often tell people I love to shop in the men’s section inside of the women’s section. There are just so many more options in female fashion compared to male fashion, unfortunately. I cannot wait for that to change, and see more affordable fashion items in the male section of a clothing store. Internally I feel both male and female energies and I am not afraid of embracing it. With that said I am very happy with my body and find no need for altering it.
You received daily death threats in high school for your sexuality and gender expression. You also felt stifled by your religious upbringing. What kept you going through such a dark time in your life?
Honestly, music kept me going! I use to lock myself in my room and writing songs for hours orchestrating melodies and telling my story through literature. It was the only thing that I had some control of in my life. Of course, I had to keep it a secret, I hid all of my lyrics in a box and placed it in the attic for safekeeping. My grandmother also bought me a PSP (Play Station Portable) which I was able to download music on, and I had a small handheld radio where I could hear the latest hits on top 40 radio (both of those devices were also secret, haha). My mom threw out the TV, all radios, CD players and media devices so we didn’t have access to digital media or music.
How liberating was it to finally be able to connect with the 2SLGBTQ+ community when you left home?
I finally felt like I could connect with people that relate to me and understand me on a deeper level. It was inspiring to know the like-minded individual, and it’s always humbling and interesting to hear everyone’s experience navigating through their 2SLGBTQ+ lives as a child and youth. It reassured me that I wasn’t alone and that I have friends/allies who are fighting this great fight for equal rights and a more inclusive world with me.
Talk about your latest single, “Arms Around Me.”
I wrote “Arms Around Me” while I was falling in love with this particular boy, I was hopelessly mesmerized by him and haven’t felt that way about someone in a very long time. The way that he looked into my eyes had me intoxicated with desire and filled me with so much warmth. I found it really important to capture the essence and feeling of suspense with the pulsing synth in the song which gives you that tug of war feeling when you meet someone new and you’re anxiously waiting for that text. I also added the saxophone because the sound of it is very sensual, and if there is any instrument that’s a “gay” instrument, it would definitely be the saxophone lol it was a must to have it! When it comes to the lyrics, melody and vocals I wrote it and performed it in a way that emulates delicacy, mystery, sensuality and romance. I really focused on layers of textures, harmonies, to artistically frame the dynamic melodic choices in my vocal performance.
What was it like having the opportunity to work with Dan Lemoyne, Hollywood Jade (Drag Race Canada resident choreographer) and Marc Andrew Smith (Drag Race resident stylist)?
Honestly, they are all the dream team! It was such a wonderful experience working with them all! Things happened organically and came from an authentic place. Dan is so gentle, down to earth and has great creative energy. Hollywood and I have been working together for a very long time, we understand each other and complement each other very well! He is so knowledgeable, creative and efficient in the way that he works! He gets the job DONE! This was my first time working with Marc Andrew Smith, he absolutely blew me away with his creative energy, ideas, and taste level. A big take away for me with Marc is how passionate he is about art and fashion. He went above and beyond on this project. I am so happy and humbled I was able to create with them all.
What words of wisdom would you offer to folks out there who are afraid to love who they love?
Life is too short to hold back, especially during this time. A lot of emotional and mental stress that goes into suppressing your natural feelings towards another human, or gender is too high of a cost. I know it can be hard and take a lot of courage to step outside of your comfort zone, but you owe it to yourself to be the most authentic YOU! If there is someone you have strong feelings towards, let them know. If you don’t tell your loved ones that you love them often enough, now is the time to let them know. This is the time to love on people, there is so much going on in the world and we can’t take the time we have here and the relationships we have for granted. LET THEM KNOW, please!
Tell us about the success of your Drag Masterclass!
In 2019, I created the first Drag Masterclass in North America through my position with the City of Toronto which provided free professional training to the LGBTQ2S+ youth with mentors such as Sofonda, Priyanka (Winner of Canada’s Drag Race Season 1), and Hollywood Jade (Resident Choreographer of Canada’s Drag Race Season 1). This masterclass provided job opportunities to marginalized professionals from our very own Church and Wellesley area and it also created job opportunities for the participants in the Masterclass.
Any exciting plans on the horizon?
As of right now I am working on my forthcoming album and focusing on songwriting/producing as many songs as I can while releasing content on social media platforms. I’m really sad that I cannot do live performances the way that I originally expected. COVID-19 has forced everyone to get creative and think outside the box when it comes to work and engagement. I’m just focusing on creating and staying in a creative state so that when this pandemic is over, it’s time to PLAY! I can’t wait.
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D!XON Revels in The Excitement of New Love in Latest Single, “Arms Around Me.” Photo Credit: Courtesy of D!XON.