Having previously captivated our ears as the front person of Grawl!x, Trans and queer artist YAY MARIA has now announced the release of her debut solo album, OYEZ. Touching on themes of being an outsider, celebrating solidarity and community, OYEZ is set for release later this year.
The first of three tracks to be shared from the album, new single ‘Template’ is a wonderfully empowering slice of poignant power-pop. Made in collaboration with Nottingham-based queer artist and musician FRANX, the track oozes a swirling, ethereal splendour and vibrant, uplifting energy. Propelled by calypso-like jangling beats and colourful twinkling hooks, it’s filled with a stirring lyricism that celebrates self-love (“No set way for living your life / That’s ok / You’re great / No wrong or right.”) whilst oozing a dry wit, drawing attention with a raw honesty to the mundane issues of modern life; the parts of life that are often expected of us – the ‘template’ we are expected to live by – but by no means are appropriate or desired by all, particularly those in the queer/non-heteronormative community. As Maria explains:
“I think it can sometimes feel like there is a ‘template’ in life (school, marriage, children etc) & for many that course of life is either unattainable &/or undesirable. So, it can feel kinda scary not fitting in with that pre-supposed model. However, there is also something wonderful & empowering about that too; particularly given that there are so many other queer folks out there who feel a similar way.”
With this first taste of the new album, ‘Template’ offers a blissfully euphoric anthem in celebration of being your true self in the face of adversity. A much-needed sentiment right now, YAY MARIA has created a truly dreamy, danceable soundtrack to the summer; a vital message of solidarity – assuring us that even if you don’t fit society’s accepted ‘template’, you deserve happiness – that we need now more than ever.
‘Template’ is accompanied by a simply beautiful video, exuding all the celebratory, self-love filled joy you could ever desire. Have a watch, and a boogie, now:
‘Template’ is released with the Year Of Glad collective, a young imprint and close knit family of creatives who worked with YAY MARIA on her charity release ‘ENDTIMES’ and a commemorative piece for Transgender Day Of Rememberance’ in 2020. The track, as with all of OYEZ, is made in the spirit of collaboration, produced with label mate and YOG founder Tom John Hall.
‘Template’ is out now. Buy it on bandcamp now – with all proceeds going to the QTIBIPOC Therapy Fund; an initiative of the Radical Therapist Network, to create access for Queer & Trans People of Colour to safe therapeutic spaces & services; outside of systemic oppression.