LISTEN: Husk – ‘My Innocence’

Having previously treated our ears to uptempo pop gems ‘Heal With Time’ and ‘Below The Neck’, and having received acclaim from the likes of BBC 6Music’s Tom Robinson, BBC Radio Cymru’s Janice Long and Gaydio, Manchester based trans masc, non-binary artist HUSK has now shared a brand new single.

Propelled by glitchy, tribal beats and a fiery, vibrant groove, ‘My Innocence‘ oozes a swirling, empowering energy. With an uplifting passion, HUSK’s distinctive, sweeping vocals flow as a shimmering euphoric splendour glistens with every note. A fiesty pop banger, it’ll leave you feeling energised – ready to hit the dance floor with loved ones and unite in the celebration of queer love and diversity.

Of the track, HUSK reflects: “I just wanted to make a song that you could dance to about new exciting queer love.

They have certainly succeeded in this with ‘My Innocence’! And at a time when it is more important than ever to spread the message of equal rights for all, and love and solidarity within the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies. So, press play, turn it up and celebrate queer joy!

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Track Of The Day: YAY MARIA – ‘Template’ (ft. Franx)

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 ‘ENDTIMESand 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. 

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Guest Blog: HUSK

To mark Transgender Day Of Visibility – a day to set the tone for every day, show your support, increase equality and stand by trans people to live their lives freely and confidently – trans, non binary artist HUSK talks to us about their experience in the music industry. Dubbed as “the outsider popstar we’ve all been waiting for” and “pretty darn good” by BBC 6 Music, they combine ’80s synth-pop nostalgia with fresh leftfield pop to create their signature sound. 

Find out more below: 

I always get comments about my voice, both good and bad; it’s the first thing people notice. It’s high, it’s low. It’s soulful, it’s raw. It’s trans. Despite the coronavirus disruption, today is Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV), and I’m so proud to be a Trans NB synth-pop musician.

I’ve always been attracted to synth-pop because of its queer history and androgyny. Artists like Grace Jones breaking the gender wall and Erasure, Eurythmics and Bronski Beat challenging vocal expectations that became an iconic symbol of the ’80s. It also has a natural sadness to it, but you can still dance to it. I think that draws a parallel with what it’s like to be a trans musician at the minute.

The difficult parts are well-known. The prejudice of not being booked or featured before listening to what I’m offering. The “I don’t get it” comments about my awesome gender-bending voice. The TERFs and transphobes sending tweets you could do without, and not to mention all the other things that come with being a trans person in society right now.

There’s so many amazing things too.

You’re not confined to societal standards about gender if you’re not conforming anyway. So, you’re a bit more free to write what you love, be your unapologetic self, no matter how many times you have to figure that out. And you get to weed out all those that you’ll ignore when you’re huge! Ha!

It’s really humbling to be representative of such a diverse community. I was once introduced on stage as “an emblem of trans masculinity”, which was terrifying, not to mention inaccurate. I always try to be vocal about my experience and the fact that I’m not a man, I’m just simply not a woman, and I happen to take testosterone.

I’ve been featured in some pretty major BBC 6Music LGBT+ shows, amongst some huge names. This is massively important, not just to me as an artist, but for gender non-conforming people to see. I didn’t have that, and I’ve had to carve out space for someone like me.

You also inherit a community. Allies and other trans people want to see you do well, especially in a world where trans people are vilified for simply existing. Supporting trans people has never been more important.

I’m currently working on my new single campaign for ‘Below The Neck’, which has been supported by Superbia of Manchester Pride, allowing me the freedom to release a high energy, new wave-y synth catchy af pop song. A song that would have otherwise been gathering digital dust on my laptop. It’s also giving others work, including the talented Sugar House and a team of all female radio pluggers.

Now though, we are seeing more and more trans noise. Anohni and Big Freedia are both out trans women of hugely different genres at the top of their game. Half of the artists on AnalogueTrash have trans band members, including the ‘gay metal disco’ from St Lucifer, who are always ridiculously fun to see live. Harvey is making the news in the Midlands and The Spook School are still making their super fun indie pop. Not so long ago, Jordan Grey was up on prime time TV on The Voice and is now on Comedy Central smashing it. And this is HUGE!

I would never change being trans. I would never change being a trans musician. And the industry should support us. Book us. Play us. Listen to us. We have so much to offer. Find out – we’re dying to share it with you!

‘Below The Neck’ is out 3rd April on Spotify, iTunes & Bandcamp. Find HUSK on social media – @husknoise .

Massive thanks to HUSK for talking about their experiences with us!