“I knew nothing mattered other than being myself”
BY NIC CROSARA, IMAGE BY ZOÉ CHALLENGER
Earlier this year, Denaisha released their debut EP Aquarius Season. Made up of songs they wrote when they were a teenager, the reflective EP is filled with honest lyricism that portrays the artist’s vulnerability. And of course, with the title being Aquarius season, I had to find out their star signs: Pisces sun, Cancer moon and Libra rising. I sit down with the Minneapolis artist via Zoom to find out more about the EP, their experiences as a Black non-binary lesbian and what it’s been like taking on the music industry.
You wrote the songs in Aquarius Season while you were a teenager. If you could say one thing to your teenage self what would it be?
You’re doing a good job honestly. Like I embarrassed myself a lot but it was needed, it was needed for the growth so I really would not change anything.
Love that! In your songs you portray growth and self-acceptance. I was wondering, as a Black non-binary lesbian, what it was like coming into yourself and then coming out to others as well?
I guess I always knew I was gay from the jump so it only ever made sense to be myself. I never wanted to be anything other than that because it seemed like a lot more work pretending to not be. Watching other people around me pretend to not be themselves, they just seemed unhappy and I was like, I don’t want that. It was very difficult for a lot of reasons, I mean my mum was very scared for me because I was not like other kids that she knew and she didn’t really know how to navigate that but I think when Lady Gaga came on the rise, that’s when I knew nothing mattered other than being myself. If she can do what she’s doing and do it that well, there’s no reason why I can’t do things the way that I do.
Do you have any other LGBTQI icons within the industry that you look up to?
Definitely Raveena [Aurora]. OMG why can I not remember anyone? Tegan and Sara are like my favourite band, I’ve loved them since I was 11. I guess just my friends for the rest.
Friends can be icons too and they can be people who we look up to! The music industry is starting to get praised for becoming more progressive for LGBTQI artists. What has it been like for you navigating it and then, is there anything you think could be improved?
I’m not very deep in the industry. I only recently signed my first music contract but I think that silencing is still an issue. Sometimes I’m asked to share certain opinions about what it’s like being an artist and I’ll say something specifically about being Black or my perspective from being a fat queer Black person and I notice that those words will get sent to someone and then they might be taken out because they’re sensitive about what was said. I wouldn’t be surprised if it continued to be an issue. I’m never going to stop saying what my truth is.
What do you hope listeners take away from Aquarius Season?
That it’s ok to fantasise and to always choose yourself in the end no matter what because that’s where reality is.
Aquarius season is available on all platforms.
DIVA magazine celebrates 28 years in print in 2022. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQI media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable.