Yes, you heard that right, "she calls me daddy." This is JD Doyle and welcome to Part 1 of this month's edition of OutRadio. That song comes from a very out of the closet CD, which I love. I love its spirit and I love its message. The artist is Diana Di Gioia and she gave her CD and her act the very appropriate name of Out Late. On this segment of OutRadio I'll be talking with her and a little later with another debut artist, Ryan States, and we'll hear about his album called "Strange Town." But first to Diana and "Out Late."
Diana DiGioia Interview
Diana DiGioia: This is my story, the humorous take on my story, as someone who came out late, it's kind of like being late to the party. One piece of that is not wanting to pass, and other piece is going back to recapture earlier experience, by rewriting it with a lesbian storyline.
How did you pick the name for your CD?
DD: It just struck me as being a clever way of telling my story in two words, because so many of the songs are about my experience coming out late as a lesbian, which is actually the majority experience in my generation.
How old were you when you came out?
DD: I was 37 when I started the process, and it was a process.
Yeah, I know. I was 29, and that's one of the things I liked about the album is that it was so reflective from that point of view. I especially liked "Bring Me Back to 17" because of course I consider that I lost ten years of my life, that I wasn't acting as a human being should act.
DD: Right, well, you know, I wasn't my most authentic self. I missed out on being young and gay. I missed out on being a teenaged lesbian, and even though I'm sure when I was a teenager, in the late 70's and early 80's it was no picnic. There was plenty of prejudice and there was plenty of hate and there was plenty of ostracizing that happened. In my version it's going to be different. So I'm going to write that with my own fantasyland. That's my alternative reality of what I wanted to experience as a seventeen-year old lesbian.
Out Late - Bring Me Back to 17 (2009)
Is there an overall message to your CD?
DD: I would have to say don't be afraid of who you are, and don't be afraid to talk about it, and I think that there's a neutering that happens sometimes when gay and lesbian folk try to put their art or writing out into the mainstream world, because we don't want to be too edgy or too in-your-face. That's a shame, because this is where we really have an opportunity to be ourselves on all levels. I mean, we have stories to tell that haven't been told yet, and when we're trying to pass in our music or in our art, those stories stay untold. And I want to be out there with them, and I want to be funny with them, and I want to be as queer as I feel in my music and in my lyrics.
I'm a big proponent of "out" lyrics, out-of-the-closet lyrics. I love that, and I often tell people that one reason I feel that way is I was 30 years old before I ever heard a song that really spoke to me. So now that I do radio and can control what I play, boy, I'm going to play the most out-of-the-closet stuff I can. Some artists have told me, well, they don't want to limit their appeal. They want to appeal to the most people, so if they use male-to-male or female-to-female, it would cut out part of the audience. And I say B.S.
DD: Right, you're never going to please everybody. Decide who you really are and write from the perspective, sing from that perspective. We are in a world now where there are a bazillion genres of music, there are a million stories and points of view out there. You're only ever going to attract a slice of the public. It may as well be a slice of the public that who really gets you, and who is really hungry for the story that you're telling.
Which song has the deepest meaning for you?
DD: Ah, deepest meaning like emotionally? Well, "Kiss Me Face," for all that it's a light-hearted romp, every line of it is so poignant for me, because that really is the story of my first kiss with my now-wife. And even though I put humor in it, and kind of made it into this light-hearted thing, the meaning is very, very deep.
Out Late - Kiss Me Face (2009)
DD: And the other one would be "A Part of Me Knows I'm Whole." That song really is about the voices in my head, all the different parts of me, and some of those parts you know they say everyone has an inner critic and everyone has an inner child, you have your dad in there somewhere and your mom, all these voices and parts of ourselves that have opinions and commentary on what we're doing or feel strongly about something and even with all that push and pull, there is in there a very strong part of me that knows that I am one unified whole, and I'm okay the way I am. And I'm good enough and I'm just fine. So that song has deep meaning for me, because, like everybody, I didn't always know that. I didn't have that clarity my whole life.
Out Late - A Part of Me Knows I'm While (2009)
Are you performing these songs live?
DD: I am. I'm performing in Provincetown a fair amount, which as most people know is a lesbian and gay vacation mecca, and even the folks that live there year-round, the non-vacationers are very open to arts and culture and music from a queer perspective, which is lovely and has definitely influenced my writing.
When you perform which song gets the most audience reaction?
DD: People love "Butch Daddy Blues. That gets a big reaction from men and women, and transgender folk I'm sure. "Butch Daddy Blues" is so many blues songs are written from the strutting, male heterosexual perspective, where the whole song is thinly veiled sexual metaphors, and it just occurred to me to have a lesbian version of that, and once I had that idea it was great fun to write the song.
Out Late - Butch Daddy Blues (2009)
DD: The other one that gets a big reaction is "Chrissie Hynde Is a Lesbian In My Head." And the surprising thing for me, many people do remember Chrissie Hynde. She was a great rock diva of the 80's as the lead singer of the Pretenders, and she's got a new album out that's getting great critical reviews now but even people who don't know who Chrissie Hynde is get a kick out of the song and some people write it as, in their head, as that woman that they wish had been a lesbian, whether that was some celebrity or someone down the street.
To me, that's the obvious attention-getter on the album.
DD: Right, when I've had downloads purchased on CDbaby, which is just recently because I just set it up that people could buy individual songs, that's the song that people want.
So, was Chrissie Hynde a crush of yours?
DD: Yeah, she was a crush of mine before I knew that I had girl crushes. Oh, I have a great story to tell about that song. This is something that happened just recently. I performed that song at The Mews Restaurant, in Provincetown over President's Day weekend in February, so I was amazed that the place was packed, and after I got off the stage this guy came over from the bar and sat at my table, and he said, "I can't believe you just did that song. That song was great. You are not going to believe this. Chrissie Hynde is my next-door neighbor." And I said, you're kidding me, where do you live? He said, "Akron, Ohio. She owns a vegetarian restaurant there and she lives in my building." So I asked him if he would bring her a copy of the CD, and he agreed to do so. I haven't heard from her yet. I sent a letter. I got his email address and sent a letter to go with it. I just wanted her to know that it was meant with all due respect, and really, I loved that she was putting this tough girl thing out there in the music field in the 80's when other women, like Pat Benatar, were kind of totally sexing it up, she was doing the butch version, even if it was the straight butch version.
Out Late - Chrissie Hynde Is a Lesbian (in My Head) (2009)
Again, that was Diana DiGioia, and you can find her at www.myspace.com/outlatemusic.
Ryan States Interview
My other artist for this segment is Ryan States. He's a very experienced professional musician, and as a teaser I'll tell you that he performs in front of 60,000 to 120,000 people each week. We'll hear about that later but what attracted my attention was his debut album. It's called "Strange Town."
Ryan States: "Strange Town" is a record that I made on the circus train where I live, because I'm a sideman with a circus, so I wanted to prove that a record could be made in this way, and I wanted it to be something very personal and introspective, musically and stylistically and I wanted to do a throw-back to the 80s, at a time where music wasn't very out, gay artists weren't out. I wanted to fill a void for anyone who grew up in that time, and this is music that I wished I could have heard.
Tell me about "I Will Find My Way."
RS: "I Will Find My Way" is the oldest song that you know I wrote this song a long, long time ago, when I was actually an LDS missionary. I was called to serve in Wyoming and Montana, and this is the first area that I was in, and it was Butte, Montana. So, if anybody knows anything about Butte, Montana, it's an old mining town, and we were renting a house and we had this old upright piano, most of the keys worked, and I wrote the song on that piano, because it was at transfers time, and you know, and my companion not companion like I would use the term today, but you know how the LDS missionaries are always in twosomes one of them was called to go to a different city, so it was a transitional time for me, and I kind of felt lonely in this town and realizing I was going to be out there for two years. And so I guess it was a song with some hope, made me feel good. And it's the first song on the CD and it's very down-tempo, and it's not you know they say you're not supposed to start or end a musical on a slow song. I don't know if that rule applies to albums, but I definitely broke that rule on this record.
Ryan States - I Will Find My Way (2009)
Why do you write music?
RS: Oh, I don't think that I have a choice with writing music. It's a way to express myself. It's kind of like when you write in a journal. It's sort of a way that I want to capture things that have happened in my life. I also think that it's a community kind of thing. When I write music I'm also thinking of the listener and I remember growing up on music. My older brothers had a deejay company in Chicago and I just remember it as a very social experience. I think music is something that people can share, and it should be part of our everyday lives.
And what inspired you to do openly gay music?
RS: When I was living in Lewisville, Texas, and I was delivering pizzas for Pizza Hut there was a radio show that would come on Sunday nights, and they would talk about out music. And I had never even thought of it. It never even occurred to me. And they were talking about songwriters and performers, in New York, and how they wouldn't switch the pronouns, they wouldn't compromise, they sounded very fearless to me. And then I started thinking, well, why don't I just write music that's out. I wish I could have thought of it on my own, but it was definitely eye-opening and very liberating and it was at a time when I was just coming out to myself. And so I thought it was really important, cause I thought that there was an absence of that in the culture, and I felt very isolated because of that, I think. You know, I look forward to when it's not even a thing, that's the normal way to be, just to be honest, not to lie through music.
Do you remember what that radio show was?
RS: I was listening to KNON in Dallas and they were doing Lambda Weekly and they were, I guess, feeding This Way Out. It was Audiofile. And so I was actually inspired by the radio to do out music.
The reason I asked that I already knew the answer from our emails is that I think that's very cool. Audiofile is the music segment of This Way Out, and I wasn't involved with it at that time, when you heard it, but a few years later I became a co-producer of Audiofile, so that kind of brings it full circle for you.
RS: Yeah, every Sunday night they would play Audiofile, and I would look forward to that was like my favorite night to work. I listened to that. I had a desire to do honest music from that, so it really opened the eyes of this guy in this small town in Texas.
Talk about the song "Immigrant (Fish Out of Water)"
RS: Well, I was having a lot of trouble in Texas. I moved there with my parents when I was 15 but I wanted to go back north, and then I also had a desire to go to New York City. And, you know, I met some of my best friends are from Texas and it's a great place, but I felt kind of trapped because well, I didn't have any money. I couldn't leave, and I kind of felt like a fish out of water, you know, people giving me a hard time for the music that I'd be listening to. I might be listening to some funk music or disco music, and I guess in certain neighborhoods you're not supposed to play that.
Ryan States - Immigrant (Fish Out of Water) (2009)
You have unique, quote unquote, day job, could you tell us about it?
RS: Right, every week I'm traveling to a new city. I play keyboards with the circus [Ringling Brothers]. I am a circus musician by trade. I'm a sideman. The circus though is quite different. You're living on a circus train. You're performing with two-legged performers and four-legged performers for audiences in all the biggest arenas in the country. So a lot of interesting things can come from that. It's really nice to work with professional musicians every day. We have a nine-piece travelling band. It's four horn players and a rhythm section, and the music that we do is actually pretty modern. It's composed by Hollywood composers. It's pretty wild, you get to see the country, you know, there's probably been at least 90 cities that I've played in the United States, 10,000 people in the audience. We just finished playing at Madison Square Garden last week. That's definitely the pinnacle, that's the highlight to be able to go there, to be in the city, and perform there.
I know from your website that you're more than a circus band performer, you do other musical work, could you talk about that?
RS: In addition to being a sideman with the circus, I write and record my own music in the train room, original singer/songwriter kind of stuff, usually pop-rock, but I also work on instrumental music that I put out, that I mainly hoping that it's something that can be placed in either film or television or radio, some sort of usage, something that I can put in a music library. I'm hoping that someday I'll be able to segue-way into doing film scoring, but as long as I'm on the road it's going to be kind of difficult, cause that's the sort of thing that a director's going to want to collaborate on in person. And I feel like I've had a lot of success with doing "Strange Town," because proved that I can make a record on a train room. You know, I had a lot of musicians that would come into the room one at a time, cause it's so small but then half the musicians were recorded remotely, all over the country, different people, some friends that I knew, some former Ringling musicians, and also people I just found on Google, who had websites.
Talk about the song "I'll Give You (What You Want)"
RS: This is a classic case of getting hit on by somebody straight or married or has a girlfriend. I think with this song I'm thinking this is a person that's trapped in a situation. This is not somebody who's bisexual. This is not somebody who is a Kinsey 2 or 1, or happily married but they have this little thing that they want to explore. This is somebody who's gay but didn't have a choice, or didn't know they had one, and they got married and they're living this life that's a lie. I wanted to write something that was sort of I guess, to challenge how they got there. I wanted to make them feel good, I think.
Ryan States - I'll Give You (What You Want) (2009)
The next song I want to ask about is "How do you know (you're In love)"
RS: This is just writing a song about something that I experienced when I moved to New York, and it was I wanted something a little bit lighter, a lot of the songs are kind of heavy, I wanted something that was lighter and more feel-good, and this was a song about infatuation. I'm using the word love, but really when you that first week or month of getting to know somebody, that rush of feelings that you have, and hormones, and I wanted something that was sort of innocent and happy and upbeat, and so it's sort of a happy-go-lucky gay love song.
Ryan States - How Do You Know (You're In Love?) (2009)
What's ahead for you musically?
RS: I've always been writing and recording, so I do have some I guess you could call it back catalog. I have probably three albums worth of material that I need to touch up and put out, that I'm really looking forward to doing. Plus I have material for a new album as well, so I'm really chomping at the bit wanting to get into that, but of course the challenge with that is I feel like I'm trying to make up for lost time. I didn't always have a studio that was this good, so I want to put all that out, but at the same time I'm doing ten shows a week with the circus. So it's a little frustrating that it's taking so long.
How dare your job get in the way of your art.
RS: (laughs) Yeah, I know, gosh, darn it. "Strange Town" is a bit of a reaction to this circus, because everything you do is, it's like ESPN music on adrenaline, just louder and faster and faster, and so I'm not at all surprised that "Strange Town" is what I did in my off-time, you know, nights and on our travel days, something that's just real slow down tempo material.
I had a little fun with Ryan when I asked him to record a drop, and a drop is a clip you can drop in during a show, with an artist plugging the show.
RS: Hi, this is Ryan States and you're listening to OutRadio. You want me to do that again?
Yeah, do that one again.
RS: Hi, this is Ryan States and you're listening to OutRadio.
That's better, it's less of a question like, you're listening to OutRadio?
RS: Yeah, we don't want that (laughs).
And you can find out more about Ryan and his new CD "Strange Town" at www.ryan-states.com, and he has a hyphen between his first and last name in that address. I've got one more song to close the show, and I want to thank you for listening and thank Diana and Ryan for the interviews. I've got two more, I think, very interesting interviews in Part 2, where I got to visit with Amy Campbell and Lori Michaels. And there's a Part 3, with no interviews but lots of really neat music. For Ryan it was hard to pick my closing song, as I like so many from his CD. But I think my favorite from the album is probably "Better (When You're Older)."
RS: I guess I was writing it for me but I was also thinking of other people who are coming out. This is the year that I came out to myself and I intentionally wrote it in the key of C. I wanted it to be something that other people could play easily if they wanted to. I wanted it to be a song to tell somebody that they're not alone when they're coming out. When I started it I was really just thinking about what I wish someone had said to me when I was younger, and what would that be, and I tried to put that to music. And it starts out being about a boy named Paul. Well, I'm pretty much singing about myself. There's no real hiding that. Just being picked on when you're a kid and being called names, even though you don't even necessarily self-identify as being gay. It seemed like such a wild, novel idea at the time to be comforting somebody, saying, it's okay, this is normal, this is good, this is healthy, because this is everything that it's the opposite of what I grew up hearing and why I didn't really identify as being gay, because the list of what that meant I didn't identify with any of those things that came with that, but I knew I was attracted to men. Okay, well now I know, there's nothing wrong with this, there's nothing to be ashamed of. But then I was still thinking, well, there's a lot of people who don't know that yet.
Ryan States - Better (When You're Older) (2009)
Amy Campbell - Everybody (2008)
This is JD Doyle and thank you for stepping in to check out Part 2 of OutRadio. And I'm very pleased to bring you this time two artists who are very different musically, but both I think extremely talented. We'll visit with a bit later with Lori Michaels, who has been called, affectionately, The Dyke Diva. She's ready to get you out of your seat. But first I'm going to share with you some terrific folk music from a Canadian artist named Amy Campbell. I don't often quote music reviews on my show, but I'm going to this time as it gets to the point so quickly. Cindy Filipenko in Herizons magazine said "...Simply put, Campbell is well poised to one day inherit Joni Mitchell's place as Canada's quintessential female singer-songwriter..."
Amy Campbell Interview
That's very high praise, of course, but I can see her point. The latest CD is called "Oh Heart, Oh Highway," and one thing I learned from talking with Amy is that she is from Newfoundland, and she told me they talk very quickly there.
Amy Campbell: "Oh Heart, Oh Highway" is a concept piece that tells a story. We start on disc 1, chapter 1, and we follow our hero through the sort of breakdown and questioning of the life that she knows through a book in the middle, which marks the turning point of realization of things that she needs to let go. And disc 2, which includes the last part of the story talks about the freedom and learning that comes from travelling and having new experiences, and hopefully gaining a little wisdom by the end of it.
The album's been out a while, can you tell me what song gets the most attention?
AC: The song "Horizon" tends to get picked up on a lot. It's been on a couple of compilation CDs and it tends to be the first one people play. There's also a song called "Oh Heart, Oh Highway," the title track, kind of the other end of the spectrum. "Horizon" is kind of an upbeat driving tune, and "Oh Heart, Oh Highway" is more of this spacious ballad, so those are the two that people tend to look at first.
Could you tell me about "Horizon"?
AC: "Horizon" is set in Newfoundland, which is where I grew up. For those of you who may not know, that's the eastern most province of Canada; it's an island. And it's sort of set on the drive between the city where I grew up, out to the little out port, where my grandparents met, when they were children. And I'm just talking about the drive and contemplation and driving out to my ancestral home, my family in the car, and saying goodbye.
Amy Campbell - Horizon (2008)
And how about the song "Oh Heart, Oh Highway"?
AC: "Oh Heart, Oh Highway" is a drive in a different geography. Most of these songs can be placed on a highway, somewhere. "Oh Heart, Oh Highway" is sort of set between New York and Boston, on the highway there. It's another one of these kind of letting go, things falling away, things that had been carried with all sorts of weight and feeling really heavy, suddenly falling away and not feeling so important.
Amy Campbell - Oh Heart Oh Highway (2008)
Are you the character in this story?
AC: Well, it's not an autobiography. But it's not unconnected. I like to call it like National Enquirer reporting. I take one little detail that may come from my life, or the life of somebody close to me, and put it under a microscope, and sort of blow it up. And once I decide that I'm making a song, I release it from any responsibility to report the truth of my life. Now it's about creating the artwork. So, it's connected at various points and various ways to my story, certainly, but I wouldn't claim it's factually accurate.
Please tell me about the song "Saint Christopher."
AC: Oh, "Saint Christopher," that is driving between Toronto, Ontario, and Ottawa, Ontario. There was a literal moment where I was driving back and taking a different exit than I would have taken in the past, and just at that moment, I said I was going to send out a little hymn to the patron saint of travelers, and I'm not Catholic, so it's again not literal, but driving is the metaphor for the emotional journey as well.
Campbell - Saint Christopher (2008)
AC: Oh, "This Poetry," I'm walking in this song, I'm not driving. In disc 1 we have a lot of sort of walking around the city that has been so familiar and is suddenly strange, because of life events. And "This Poetry" is a sort of moment of insight where I think all these things that seemed so important, maybe they need to be let go, maybe they sort of a grip and the holding needs to be loosened to let things breathe and maybe make some sense.
You know, I love both CDs but that song is the one that really grabbed me, for some reason.
AC: "This Poetry" is funny because when we were recording it now that's the one that sort of morphed the most in the recording process. I had been doing it as sort of a bare-foot Joni Mitchell-esque intense ballad, and my bass player at the time, Dan Fortin, he put in that sort of bouncing, syncopated bass line, and suddenly the song just took on a whole new life in my mind, and of all the tunes that's the one that sort of blossomed, the arrangement blossomed in a way I really wasn't expecting, during the recording process.
Amy Campbell - This Poetry (2008)
I just love that song, "This Poetry" from the Amy Campbell's double album "Oh Heart, Oh Highway," and as her website has a Canadian address, you'll find her at www.AmyCampbell.ca.
Lori Michaels Interview
Okay, take a breath, because I'm going to totally change the music, but I think you can handle it, because the reward is hearing from Lori Michaels. Her latest CD is called "Living My Life Out Loud," so let's jump right in with the title track.
It seems like "Living My Life Out Loud" is much more than an album title to you.
Lori Michaels: It certainly is. I hand-picked that title of the album. Actually I heard the name of the song first, and I knew I was going to shape the album entirely around that, and it's really empowering for me. It's much more than just proclaiming to the world that I am an out artist. It's about the freedom and the ability to really be proud of who I am, and try my best to live my best life.
Lori Michaels - Living My Life Out Loud (2008)
LM: I'm really excited about the new album, to be able, not only to share my music, but to get out there and really put forth the celebration of diversity and life and just having fun, and being able to share that with everybody.
It's always interesting to hear an artist describe their own music, will you do that for me?
LM: My music is a fusion of a few different styles, pop, dance, rock, a little bit of soul, a little bit of r&b, and I think I grabbed a few different types of artists that influenced me to put forth this album.
You know, I had a misconception about it. When I first played it, and I played it more than once, the dance music grabs you so much, that I had started thinking this was more of a dance album. And this morning I went through track by track, and said, no, it's really very balanced.
LM: Well, that's great. I really wanted to take the listener through a journey when I wrote the album, and selected the musicians and producers that helped me on the album. It was really a time in my life where I wanted to give it all, and show the side of what was going on, and present a big picture, rather than just locking into one sound, cause there's so many different sides to me, and I wanted to be able to share that with everybody from the pop songs, the dance songs, to the love songs, cause I'm really a love-song person at heart.
Who would you say is your audience is?
LM: I hope everyone. I hope that there's a song or there's a piece of a song or show that will grab somebody and be able to communicate a message and maybe inspire someone to feel something or do something. I don't know, we perform I so many different venues and it's always interesting to meet different types of people, different backgrounds, and to have them tell their story and have them say, I love that song or I love that line. So I guess it's a little bit of everyone. At least I hope that.
Tell me about "Me & the Girls"
LM: Me & the Girls is one of my favorite shows to perform anywhere, anytime. It's very upbeat, it's energetic, and the girls and I always have a good time together. And it's been a really great show for me to be able to show my dancing, my performing, and just to have a good time.
From the video clip I saw online, it looks like a very hot show.
LM: We've been told that, I don't know how hot, but we've been told it's pretty hot. I'm very lucky I get to share the stage with a few talented, beautiful women, and sometimes men as well, and under the Me & the Girls umbrella we've been having a really good time doing that, especially at the pride festivals we're having a really great time.
Have you gotten any criticism for maybe it suggesting too sexual an act?
LM: You know what, I think that's just everybody's going to have their own opinion and sometimes you get good reviews and sometimes you get bad, so you just have to embrace it all. And it is entertaining and we also try to through our music try to reach audiences and let the world be aware that being gay is not a bad thing at all.
Which song on the CD is getting the most attention?
LM: You know, we've had various responses from different people. I think we're trying to put the "Meet Me at the Partay," the fun song out there, and there are people who are very attached to "Unconditionally." I guess it's the wedding song. And some people with the song "The Right" because of the whole gay marriage thing, have expressed a strong liking to that as well. I think it just depends on everyone's tastes and what we're doing right now with the album, which we're hoping to just put it all out there and see what people like.
Tell me about the song "Get It Through Your Head"
LM: "Get It Through Your Head!" That's a fun one to perform and to sing and to listen to. It's got a great groove, really funky track. It's also written by the same songwriter who wrote "Living My Life Out Loud." So it had a great feel and I wanted to start that album off with a great kick and that's track 1, and, it's just about that person that you kind of make a mistake with, and you're trying to clean up that mistake, like saying, get it through your head, and stop stalking me, but you're also trying to cover up your own little mistake there. Sometimes people grab you like that.
Lori Michaels - Get It Through Your Head (2008)
Tell me about the song "Girl Thing," with Feloni.
LM: Oh, I loved doing "Girl Thing" and I was so thrilled that Feloni agreed to throw her talent on the track. It was a fun one to write because I've been told that I've been grabbing some attention from the straight women out there it just is a really fun track to be able to do, and tease the straight women and grab the guys with. I don't think any guy has a problem with seeing two girls, you know, doing their thing, so it was fun to do "Girl Thing."
I saw her when the Homo Revolution Tour came to Houston.
LM: Oh, she's fantastic. She really inspired me to write, even before I asked her, I knew that I was going to approach her with the opportunity to be on the track, and I was so glad that she agreed to do it, and I think it really came out she really added some great flavor onto that track, great style.
Lori Michaels & Feloni - Girl Thing (2008)
Are the lyrics of some of your songs bisexual?
LM: I have to say they are, you know, when I was younger I was boy crazy, and I started dating girls in high school, and then I went back and forth a little bit, not because of any other reason than I found that it was about the person, not about the color or the, you know, man or female and now I'm very comfortable with just saying I found peace and happiness in a woman and that's who I am.
What reactions have you had to performing songs with gay or bi lyrics?
LM: You know what, sometimes it's interesting with the lesbian audience, the real, real, real, real hardcore lesbians, cause they typically don't want to hear you singing about guys, and (they are like) "you're not a real lesbian." Well I don't know what means. I'm an entertainer and there are a lot of people just I just try to tell my story and just put out there the way I feel and I've gotten really positive responses. I'm an out artist, so LGBT community is where my focus, my main audience comes from, and I embrace everybody, I guess.
I do understand that reaction, because I do radio, and I want to do queer radio, and for example, I got a cabaret album a week or so ago from a guy, wonderful cabaret singer, and at least two of the songs are sung to women, and they're obviously he didn't write them, but I just don't believe it, I just don't "buy" the song when I know the artist is gay singing to a woman.
LM: Right, I tend to agree, you know, in this day and age and especially in the music business, when people are still not able to be who they are, for whatever reason like I said, the story on my album just brings pieces of where I've been, who I am and hopefully where I'm going with my music, but I really try to stay true to trying to bring quality music and quality sound and also telling a good story.
I've read you've been called "The Dyke Diva" comment on that.
LM: That started from a drag queen actually and I was so happy and so thrilled because, you know you're fierce when a drag queen sees the work and when they say The Dyke Diva. I just got such a kick out of it and it just has stuck for a very long time and has become part of it all the intros and part of every time I perform. I think it's really cool the word dyke is such a strong, harsh word and to be able to paint a prettier picture around that, and just make it a little bit more hot, a little bit more fierce and fabulous, I think it's really cool.
It would be a great album title, but I don't think you're going that direction really.
LM: No, not right now, but "Living My Life Out Loud" is a little bit more appropriate.
Is the song "The Right" about gay marriage?
LM: For me it is, and I hope for many people. When Curtis King first played me that song at the studio, I cried, I had goose bumps and the tears were coming down, and I said I have to have that song on my album, I have to perform that song, because it truly is the story, it tells the story for a lot a gay people out there, who legitimately don't have the right to be who they are and to marry the person that they love unconditionally.
Lori Michaels - The Right (2008)
And, just in time to include in this show, Lori just sent me two brand new songs. These are not on the album "Living My Life Out Loud," but are available digitally on mp3 websites. So, I'm very pleased to share them, "Rebound" and "Wild Ride"
Michaels - Rebound (2010)
Thanks to Lori for sending me her new songs "Rebound" and "Wild Ride," and thanks to you for joining me on this segment. This is JD Doyle for OutRadio and don't forget, there's one more segment this month, packed full of music and including some songs I'm pretty sure you've never heard before. Again, the latest full length album by Lori Michaels is called "Living My Life Out Loud," and I saved for last the very fun song "Meet Me At the Partay." Find out more at, now pay attention, www.LoriMichaelsProductions.com. You'll see why I stressed that, as I had to tease her a bit about her website address.
And I guess it's unfortunate there's a website lorimichaels.com
LM: Oh, yeah, I realized years ago I shared the name with a porn star and also with a folk singer, but I think it is also part of a great story, because people say, "hey, I looked you up, and you're not the porn star, you're not the folk singer." I think that we're all getting a lot more attention than we would have if only one of us had the name so I know for a fact I'm the only Dyke Diva, darling.
I've got to hear you talk about "Meet Me at the Partay"
LM: Oh, I love that song. Sasha A Mess and I wrote that song and we were in the studio and that was such a fun one to do. I wish I had all the outtakes and all the tracks of really piecing that song together, because we had such a good time in the studio and it was truly a party for us. When we finally came out with that finished version that song, "Meet Me at the Partay" is really such a fun track for me. I love the lines of just putting out there, I am the Queen, the Diva, honey don't you know it's very Dyke Diva-ish, it's party girl, it's join the party, cause I think gay people in general just really know how to have a good time, and to be gay for a day, I think everybody should do it.
Who is Sasha A Mess?
Christopher Livsey, aka Sasha A Mess
LM: Sasha A Mess is a very, very good friend of mine. His real name is Christopher Livsey. We're just really good friends, on stage and off, and it was truly a pleasure to be able to share this album with him.
Lori Michaels - Meet Me at the Partay (2008)
Miss Money - Miracles (2010)
This is JD Doyle and welcome to Part 3 of OutRadio for May. You just heard a Houston treasure, Miss Money, She's a recording artist, DJ, producer and radio host, and I love her new track called "Miracles." That's featured on a new various artists compilation called "Houston Hearts Haiti," a brand new fundraising CD to benefit Haiti relief efforts. The CD was produced by Houston music journalist Joey Guerra and covers all kinds of genres, including this track by the very striking artist Cassidy Haley. It's called "Fly" and this remix was made available only for this project.
Haley - Fly (remix, 2010)
Now, why can't I live in that neighborhood? Following Cassidy Haley was Patrick Hutchison, and a fun track called "Trashy Little White Boys." That's from his 2006 CD "What Hit Me." Here's how I found Patrick. I was looking at my CD of the musical "The Harvey Milk Show," and noticed he wrote the music for it, so did a search on him and found he's also a solo artist.
Up next is an artist who rocketed to fame in the early 80s on the TV show "Star Search," doing a version of "Over the Rainbow" that would make Patti LaBelle proud. He's Sam Harris and has done a lot of music, television and Broadway since then. I named his latest album, "Free," as one of the best albums of 2008. He's become a bit more political lately and has just released a song inspired by the Prop 8 disaster in California. It's called "My Reclamation" and before you hear it, I've taken a clip from his video blog where he talks about the song.
Harris - My Reclamation (with intro) (2010)
Sam Harris and "My Reclamation" and after Sam was Mark Payne and "Blizzard of Lies." And I picked that song from his only CD, a kind of rare one from 1997 called "Standards for a New Generation." I picked it because I wanted to plug his new DVD, which I think is terrific. It's a documentary of his life called "Get Happy," and I think he's amazing. It shows clips of him, at around ages 12 and 13, doing incredible impressions of Judy, Liza, Barbra and Diana, all flawless. He went on to open shows in Las Vegas for celebrities including Bob Hope and Milton Berle, and he also became an acclaimed makeup artist. Again, his name is Mark Payne.
And you know I love to give exposure to new artists. These next four fit into that category and do not yet have full-length releases. I thank all of them for sending me mp3s for my show. First up is Long Island, New York artist Ryan Cassata. He's already gotten quite a bit of attention appearing on the Larry King and Tyra Banks Shows, talking about transgender issues. Here's his song "Distraction."
Cassata - Distraction (2009)
After Ryan Cassata you heard a quartet from Ireland calling themselves VAG, which stands for Very Angry Girls, and the song was "Safety Pin Grin." And after that was a short little song by a German duo, going by the name Elcassette. Their song was called "Bi."
And keeping this a very international show is Terry Guy, from London. I've played him before on my show and he's getting close to releasing his first CD. I'm very ready for it, as his music is very out of the closet, with songs like "My Straight Lover."
Guy - My Straight Lover (2010)
That was New York artist Pete Sturman and "Romance in Brooklyn" comes from his new EP "True Stories." He's more known for his work as part of the duo Pistol Pete & Popgun Paul, and they began releasing music in 1997, with their first one telling you right where their heads were. It was called "Superfag."
This next artist has been at it a while. Starting in the 80s she released several albums with John Fuzek as a duo, Fuzek Rossoni, and now has released her third solo album, just as by Mary Ann Rossoni. From the CD "Timber & Nails" is "Only a Lady."
Ann Rossoni - Only a Lady (2007)
That was Mary Wheelan, and "Old Fashioned Girl" is from her brand new and debut album "Shining Bright." And I was very pleased when I heard this next album. It's by a new band, a duo calling themselves Mama's Black Sheep and the album is "Unmarked Highway." I already knew one of the members, Laura Cerulli, as I've seen her doing great work for years as part of the act Sonia & Disappear Fear. For Sonia, Laura does fearless drums and backing vocals, and she still tours with Sonia. But on her own with Ashland Miller is the new album, and I'm sharing two tracks from it.
Black Sheep - Landmarks of a Fool (2010)
Again, that was Mama's Black Sheep and "Landmarks of a Fool" and "Think About You." These next two are just for fun. I've been a fan for a while of Canadian artist Kate Reid, and named her latest album as one of the best of 2009. From it I love a track called "The Only Dyke at the Open Mic." That song is mentioned in this duet she does with Vancouver folk artist Tim Readman. Now I would not normally be playing a straight artist, but she sings on this, so it's okay, and I can identify with what he says, as I've often been in that situation. They sing one called "Only Man with the Lesbians."
Readman & Kate Reid - Only Man with the Lesbians (2010)
Of course that was Little Richard, doing "Rubber Duckie," from a 1993 appearance on "Sesame Street." This is JD Doyle and it's time to close OutRadio for this month. I thank you for listening, hey, I do it all for you. Ending the show is Melissa Etheridge and the title track from her new album, "Fearless Love."
Etheridge - Fearless Love (2010)