Did someone say Paramore?

BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGE VIA 537 MEDIA

Happy Friday, DIVAs! It’s been a while, hey? Feeling the seasons turn? We’re here to bring you some queer sonic joy. This week, we’re channelling punk rock, pop and more.

I Used To Be Sam – I Used To Be Sam

We’ve been anticipating this release for a while! Rebranded and reinvented, I Used To Be Sam is the moniker of Annie Goodchild (she/they). Their debut, self-titled EP landed on 16 September, and it’s a stirring, explorative piece of work exploring the complexities of transracial adoption, queer identity and more.

I was lucky enough to sit down with I Used To Be Sam recently, and chatting over a Zoom call between London and Geneva, we built up a mutual understanding. Sam tells me that their music is a safe space, a channel for exploration. After learning that, before being adopted as a baby, their name was Sam, they began a journey of self-discovery. Feeling a complex yet unique connection to their birth mother, they explored these feelings during a studio session. “I opened up to my producer about it”, they share, noting that they were working with an LGBTQIA female producer of colour, a rare combination in a music industry dominated by white, cis men. “I remember fighting with my mum and saying how could you name me Annie after the most famous orphan of all time? I was trying to figure out why so much of what made me different from my family was erased.” For the first time, they opened up about what had been playing on their mind, building a unique connection in this collaboration, paving the way for endless authenticity in their work.

Completing a DNA test with Ancestry.com, they were able to match and reconnect with their biological parents and a first cousin. We speak about being adopted and their experiences with transracial adoptees, noting that they wanted this EP to be an ode to other people in her shoes. And that shines through in the music: tracks Gentle, Mountains, Seamstress and Grateful tie together to narrate this complex human experience. A gorgeous end to the project, Forgiveness explores these multifaceted, difficult emotions surrounding not just their relationship with their loved ones, but also her own relationship with transracial adoption. She’s forgiven herself just as much as she has everyone else.

I Used To Be Sam is tear-jerking: it’s not just music, it’s the story of a unique human experience, woven together with emotion and care. The visuals are gorgeous, too. Huge recommend.

Tally Spear – Death Anxiety

Alt-pop fans, this one is for you! Having played to a sold-out Ronnie Scott’s alongside Vegan Camp Out and BST Festival Hyde Park, Tally Spear is one to watch. Death Anxiety epitomises Tally’s sound: she’s her own boss, and she’s been honing her craft through writing and recording the music she’s always wanted to, known as grit pop. Self-funding and self-releasing all her music, she’s a shining star.  

“The human element of songwriting and music is what matters most to me, and using my voice as boldly as I can. Death Anxiety is about using death as a motivation to live, and using anxiety about failure as motivation to succeed”, Tally shares, discussing her experience recording the track in her bedroom in Peckham. And she’s not just passionate about music: Tally has similarly dedicated her life to veganism, and is a keen animals rights activist, a proud queer woman and a huge advocate for sustainable and cruelty-free fashion. Go, go, go!

Paramore – This Is Why

Okay, so this one hasn’t *technically* been released yet, but it’s definitely a huge banger to look out for. Their first single in five years, the group have been teasing their imminent comeback online, with a snippet appearing on Discord and TikTok. Paramore have been producing queer-coded pop punk for years now, and Hayley Williams’ many hairstyles? A true fashion icon. We couldn’t not get behind the hype with this one.

This one drops on 28 September. Grab that pre-save link.

Carly Rae Jepsen – Talking To Yourself

It’s no secret that Carly Rae Jepsen is a hugely adored figure amongst the LGBTQIA community. Her last album, Dedicated, was inundated with lusty bops from Now That I Found You to Too Much, and now she’s back with Talking To Yourself. The visuals are giving eternal Halloween, and we’re absolutely taken with this new era. You go, girl.

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. 

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