Enamored with the iconic aesthetic of 80s movies, Sean The Star Emperor had an intensely visual connection to music. The pandemic offered him an opportunity to reevaluate his life and shun conventional expectations of progress in order to pursue true happiness. However, like many people after months of lockdown, Sean’s ready to get a little wild. His new single, “Witch Disco,” celebrates releasing one’s inhibitions and surrendering to seduction, a reflection of the human need for touch and shared experience. Sean remains committed to utilizing music as a means to question the status quo and deconstruct the sex and gender binaries that hold us back as a society. Listen to “Witch Disco” below and don’t forget to follow Sean The Star Emperor on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Cliché: How would you describe space pop?
Sean The Star Emperor: Space Pop is the fusion between Sound, Glamour, and Science Fiction.
What was your journey like to become Sean The Star Emperor? It started in NYC, having a theater background, loving practical effects of stage and in the movies of the 80s, and wanting to connect the visual to music. When I hear sound, I SEE what it would become as a visual expression before I have concrete lyrics. That is my process with everything Star Emperor and that is how what you see today was born.
Throughout the pandemic, how did you cope with being separated from the community? How did it affect you? The pandemic and lockdown saved me. I felt I was always catching up to “The Man’s” idea of stability and success. However, because of the break I was able to really sink into what I truly valued. I became so happy with myself and life, and no longer felt I had to do certain things because this is what people do at such junctures in life… I ended up getting really into Deep House music, with a good friend of mine because of no longer feeling I had to be “mature,” or focus on “adult things.” We formed a quarantine pod around Melodic/Deep House. We would just play songs and dance for hours on end. I ended up losing 40 lbs. We would walk and listen to house, go to parks and set up shop and listen to house, hike and listen to Melodic House. Only concern was Melodic House.
Tell us about your new single, “Witch Disco.”
“Witch Disco” is the new Halloween Anthem. It is sexy, ‘dancy,’ sultry, spooky, ethnic, theatrical, and also very real – I used esoteric practices throughout the creation of the song and music video. It was inspired by 80s New Wave, as well as Disco’s penchant for nighttime glam. I wrote the song for people to feel a common bond through revelry.
Why do you think seduction and the idea of embracing our real desires has become even more appealing in a post lockdown world?
Human beings need touch. Psychologists have done many studies on the detriments placed upon individuals lacking certain interactions. So we just came from forced isolation, coupled with many of us understanding our fragility – with death being the ever looming antagonist – hence we all want to live, really LIVE. We can catch a virus and miss out on the chance to “paint the town red,” or try some latent kinks. Most of us are ready to be savages. I feel bad for those of us who just turned 21 right before, during, and right after the pandemic. I can feel there must be an itch that needs to be scratched. I think we’re all like “ Who cares!! I want to touch something!”
What are your hopes for the queer community as everyone starts reuniting and reconnecting?
I hope that love can take precedence over the superficial. The community was hung up on exterior appeal and not the interior. One can miss out on a lot just making decisions on outward appeal. “Witch Disco” is a light example. It is all about seduction. I think people forget sexuality starts with energy and the mind. Seduction/chemistry is not just looks. A lot is wasted when we neglect the unseen… Additionally, I hope the lines between what is queer vs straight become even more blurred. I think humans are limiting themselves, sexually and on how to have fun, by being so binary. Maybe one wants to be straight but enjoys wearing a dress. That’s cool too. Enjoy your life! Me, my music, and esthetic, are all about non-judgment and being uninhibited. Social norms are arcane.
Why is it so vital to continue to dismantle heteronormativity and the status quo through music?
The more we normalize free expression, I think the higher the output from humanity as a whole. Art and science and social relations, I feel will be heighten to the point of our next evolutionary leap. We cannot get to the next step if we have a society in which individuals could have thoughts like: “I really want to do this thing, but if I do this would people think I was gay? A slut? Too shallow? Too prude?” These questions and ideas are impeding progress. Imagine a world in which we could be using so many shades of colors but because one is a boy, he’s stuck with blue…
Read more Music Interviews at ClicheMag.com Sean The Star Emperor Delivers Sultry Halloween Fantasies with New Single, “Witch Disco.” Photo Credit: Owen Kolasinski.
After spending her formative years in a punk band and inspired by other LGBTQIA artists, Ramona Blue decided it was time to carve her own path. Confined in lockdown and reeling from her ex’s infidelity, she penned her first single, “Curious,” an empowered assertion of her worth. To anyone else coping with the aftermath of cheating, she wants to emphasize that it’s a problem with them, not you. Stream “Curious” below and follow Ramona on all her socials HERE.
Cliché: When and how did you get into music? Ramona Blue: I began with being really into musical theatre when I was a kid and I was always obsessed with different singers and how they sang the way they did. I was very inspired by strong and powerful singers like Christina Aguilera and Demi Lovato from a young age but then grew and began listening to EVERYTHING ranging from Lana Del Rey to Muse to Rico Nasty. I like to listen to a range of music so I can inspire myself in all different areas and come up with something really uniquely personal and ‘me’. I started my own post-punk band with some of my close friends when we were 15 and spent three years playing gig after gig. It was so invigorating to be a young teenaged girl and to feel the entire room of like-minded teens screaming your songs right back in your face. I decided to branch out as I wanted to create my own sound from all the music I’d been listening to and to find who I was as an artist without any labels attached.
The LGBTQIA community is a central part of who you are. How do you identify yourself and how does that influence your music?
I personally identify as a Lesbian woman and have felt so grateful to have such supportive family and group of friends who accept and love me for me. In fact, I never actually ‘came out’ as I never felt that being gay should be any different from straight. I just date who I love and that’s that. I always listened to my friends’ stories of their struggles with coming out and not feeling free and comfortable to fully be themselves and I just always felt that there was a lack of mainstream representation of LGBTQIA artists in the media. I feel that if there were, more young children would feel comfortable and identified, regardless of what their family believes in. I wanted that to be an integral part of my music and brand because I lacked a role model growing up and I want others who lack the support I so luckily had to feel that they have that, no matter where they are in the world, through my music and my message.
Who are your favorite LGBTQIA artists?
I think the main one is Lady Gaga because, not only is she bisexual but also used the FUCK out of her platform and success to stand up for the LGBTQIA community. I always found that inspiring considering she is one of the biggest artists in the world where most artists would shy away from supporting a community in fear of losing followers or money. Demi Lovato also raised me and her coming out was another major inspirational moment for me. Later on, I got into a variety of LGBTQIA artists from Hayley Kiyoko to this really underground girl punk band called GRLwood.
How would you describe yourself as a musician?
Blunt, feisty and strong. I won’t ever sugar coat anything and will always be 100% authentically me within my music and my identity.
What has your experience been like within the music industry?
Interesting. When I was in my band, I experienced a fair amount of misogyny from industry people making comments like ‘you’re good at punk for a girl’ and just a lot of general demeaning. Patronising and belittling comments. Things like this never affected me because, growing up with such a strong-headed mother who always taught me that all humans are humans regardless of anything, I always felt I was fair game and that me having a vagina changes nothing. Having spoken to a few different labels, managers and agents throughout the last three years has really made me realise that the industry is a business and that artists aren’t seen as anything other than money makers which can be discouraging when you are trying to create your art, but once you learn how to use this to your advantage and essentially become an entrepreneur, you won’t be manipulated easily. I am still learning myself and growing every day.
Talk about your debut single, “Curious.”
I wrote this track around a year ago when the first lockdown started. It was one of the first songs I wrote on my own and it was a MASSIVE confidence boost for me and really the moment that I realised that I had something there. I always knew I wanted this to be my debut single because I think it really shows the attitude I want to bring to pop music and all the rest of my songs. Pop needs more anger and more fire and I want to bring that.
The song is about an ex who cheated on you. Did writing the song help you in your healing process?
Yes! Of course. Music is therapy and always will be.
How did you move on from that betrayal while keeping your self-worth and confidence intact?
Someone betraying you like that is so damaging but I learned that it’s nothing that I am lacking but they evidently need to fill some hole in their soul that is missing that has nothing to do with me and my worth and my confidence in myself and my love will always stay.
What advice can you offer to folks dealing with infidelity or dishonesty in their relationships?
Toss away, forgive and move on. Don’t be scared to trust and love again. Your love and generosity is so powerful and trumps all dishonesty and negativity. Do not waste time trying to understand why or find the ‘reason’ because there isn’t one and they will most likely try to make you feel responsible for their deep rooted issues. You gave all your love and they didn’t cherish it so it is ultimately their loss. Your love and time is too precious to be wanted on someone who would rather give it away.
What are your plans for the future?
I am planning on releasing 3 more tracks this year for you all to stream until your ears bleed. 🙂 I have so much I have to share with the world and I am never stopping until my message is heard.
Read more Music Interviews at ClicheMag.com Ramona Blue Has No Time for Lies in Debut Single, “Curious.” Photo Credit: Kasia Dabrowka.
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.
Read more Music Interviews at ClicheMag.com D!XON Revels in The Excitement of New Love in Latest Single, “Arms Around Me.” Photo Credit: Courtesy of D!XON.