This is JD Doyle for OutRadio and you'll want to pay attention the lyrics of this opening song, as they are so, so clever.
Shane McAnally - Hurt You Like Me (2007)
That was Shane McAnally, and I've been following him for years, after discovering his myspace page, and I grabbed a lot of his songs from there, which is good as they were not released, like that opening one called "Hurt You Like Me." That was from around 2007 and he's finally come into his due, not as a singer but as a songwriter coming up with #1 country hits, for folks including Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert and a new artist making some noise, Kacey Musgraves, with her Top 20 album "Same Trailer, Different Park." Many of the tracks were co-written by Shane McAnally, along with openly lesbian songwriter Brandy Clark, and Musgraves says that for her song "Follow Your Arrow," it was definitely Shane's influence that got included into the song the line, "make lots of noise, kiss lots of boys, or kiss lots of girls, if that's what you're into." Now that's something you don't expect in a mainstream country song. Here's a clip from that song. And I'm following it with a song by Shane's co-writer Brandy Clark, called "Stripes."
Kacey Musgraves -
Follow Your Arrow (clip, 2013, straight artist)
I don't think it was possible to be on Facebook in early July without hearing about the new song, and eye-catching video, by Steve Grand. The hype was crazy and the irresponsible headline of the Buzzfeed article, that Grand was the first openly gay country star, was ridiculous. First, that one song a week old does not make a star, and he missed being the first openly gay country artist by about forty years, and further, the song isn't really all that country. Anyway, you can't buy the publicity he lucked into, and I wish him success, so here's his song "All American Boy."
Steve Grand - All American Boy (2013)
This month on OutRadio it seems I went interview crazy, as I've got four of them, and also on my Queer Music Heritage show I have two segments, with in-depth talks with Kate Reid and Eric Himan. Anyway, for OutRadio this month we'll hear from Tom Goss, Samuel Damewood of the Nashville band called Fuzz Face, pop singer Josh Duffy and hip hop artist Mélange Lavonne. First up is Tom, and I've been a fan for years so I was really pleased that his new song and video, called "Bears," was getting some attention.
Tom Goss Interview (2013)
Tom, first congrats on your coverage in Huffington Post on your new video. That's such great exposure.
Tom Goss: Yeah, thank you, I'm really excited about it.
JD: While the song and the video are lots of fun, knowing you there's more behind it. Tell me about the inspiration for the song.
TG: Well, I mean, I don't think it's a secret that my husband's a bear and that I like bears, so it's interesting, I go to bear happy hour a lot in Washington DC when I'm at home, and I was actually performing at their happy hour and thinking that I should write a song that is really kind of representative of the bear community, and uplifting and embracing and all those kind of really good things. And so the day of the show I essentially sat down after lunch and just had a song and it just kind of came out. It was a real fun song to write and you know, the whole time just trying to keep it positive and uplifting so I'm glad that came through. I wrote it about a year ago and I've been not really sure what to do with it. I knew that I loved it. I knew that I wanted to get it produced, but I didn't really know how, and so linking up with Rich Morel was just so much fun. It was a pleasure and an honor to work with him. So I'm just glad that the joy that I have for bears and the bear community and my husband really shines through both in the song and in the production of the song.
JD: Do you think that the appreciation of the bear community has increased recently?
TG: Definitely, I mean, I think in the gay community, yeah, they're just becoming more and more known, I mean, bear happy hour in DC is every single Friday and every Friday between a thousand and twelve hundred bears. I know that's not the norm across the country necessarily but I think it speaks to kind of the idea of embracing who you are and loving yourself and one another for that and in spite of that.
JD: I know it's only been a short time, but what has been the reaction to the song and the video so far?
TG: It's been overwhelmingly positive, it's been really exciting. There's always going to be a couple people that are haters, you know, but I can't really control that. For the most part everybody's been really excited about it and really loving it...bears and non-bears alike, I think the great thing about this video is it is just so much fun. We really set out to create something that was fun and that was inclusive. And not everybody in the bear is a video...(laughs)...I mean, not everybody in the video is a bear, and that's really intentional, because we wanted to show that bears are really fun and sexy and boisterous, but those that love them are as well, and all of us are sexy and fun and boisterous and we're all as gay men we should be embracing what we all look like and who we are, personality wise, so I'm really happy that people are getting that. I'm really happy that people are seeing beyond kind of the campiness of the production to what's deeper.
JD: I'm just about to play the song, would you care to introduce it?
TG: Yeah, hey folks, this is my new fun summertime single, produced by Rich Morel..."Bears."
Tom Goss - Bears (2013)
JD: Tom, one of your songs I've liked for a while is called "I Do" and now there's a remix of it which is even better, could you talk about that?
TG: Yeah, I'm really excited that this if finally out. My friend Liz Deroche, who is an amazing musician in a band called The Pushovers, remixed this for me about a year ago, and I just love it, and love all the stuff she did with it, but I didn't really know how to put it out there. I didn't really feel that I had an avenue for releasing this song, which I felt like should be showcased, cause it holds on its own. So when the video came out we were looking for a song for the end credit...I was like oh my gosh, because "Bears" has such a dance feel it would be great to showcase the song as a real laid back dance groove as well. And so I'm really excited that we were able to showcase it in a way that people can see how beautiful a remix can be, and how you can take a really personal folk love song, and turn it into a gorgeous, gorgeous kind of ambient, electronic remix. So I'm very excited about it.
Tom Goss - I Do (2013 remix)
JD: And you've got a new single out, actually it's a duet with Joey Salinas.
TG: Yeah, Joey's a good friend of mine. We've been friends for years and he's a musician and singer as well, just very different music than I, but I think we've both been admirers of each other for a while. You know, it's interesting, I think that 2013, or the end of 2012-2013 has been about doing things that I wanted to do, and not really thinking as much about how people are going to perceive it. And I think that's been really freeing. So Joey and I had talked for years about doing a song together, and finally I said, well, I don't know why we're still talking, let's just set up a studio time. So we came in the studio and we just started constructing a song and working on a song together, and I'm really excited about how it...again, it's very different than what I do regularly, or even with "Bears." Joey's got a gorgeous voice, and we did some interesting things with harmonies, yeah, I'm really excited about all the new things that I'm trying, and hopefully people are coming along with me for the ride.
JD: So, you're not trying to worry about where it fits in a puzzle, just...if I feel creative I'm going to do it.
TG: Well, kind of, you know, it's interesting, I felt like just going back in my history a little bit, "Back to Love" did really well, and that was really early in my career, and I was very excited about it, and I felt like I kind of tapped into something, into a sound and into an audience, or something like that. And I worked really hard and wrote a lot of songs for "Turn It Around" and produced what I still believe to be a really rocking and well-produced and well-constructed and well-written record. I spent a lot of time thinking about how people, and more specifically, people in the industry were going to react to it, and how I should construct it...you know, for their ears. And I spent a lot of money on a publicist to get it to their ears, and all that kind of stuff, and...I'm not sure if people didn't listen or people didn't get it, or what, but it just didn't do what I wanted it to do.
So I was a little disheartened about that, and I think I had to think a lot about why am I creating music and what is it about being an artist and why we create art. And I think I came back and had to do something completely on my own to re-establish and have the confidence to believe in my artistic worth. And that was "Love Songs and Underdogs." It was a very different record for me in its tone and emotions, and so I think doing that and feeling again that I had done something that was beautiful and was successful artistically really gave me the freedom to say, I'm going to do what I want to do because I think that it's beautiful, and when I do things that are beautiful people will connect with it, and not really worry about, you know, what somebody from some newspaper that I don't read, and what they're going to say about it. It's silly to be beholding to critics but I think often as an artist, especially an artist in the public sphere, you can fall into that trap.
JD: Well, it's easy, cause there's YouTube comments, and there's comments all over, and there's people writing remarks for who knows what reason, and you can't help but...you're human, you can't help but think about it.
TG: Yeah, you want to connect with people. You want to reach people. You want to bring joy to people, and when you get some really hateful comments on YouTube or a bad review, it's hard not to take that personally. But again you have to grow and mature as an artist and an individual and connect to your art and understand the goodness and the value of your art, first and foremost, and if you're doing that, then those things don't mean as much to you.
JD: I think we do the same thing, in a way, when I post a playlist sometime on Facebook, and there's like, two people comment, and that's like, two people! Two people? But then, hey, who am I doing this for. I'm doing it because I want to do it, and for the music.
TG: Yeah, you're doing it because you're creating something bigger than you, and the only way to truly do that is to be really authentic, and I think, that's one of the things I really appreciate about you, JD, is that you are totally authentic, and you will always be that, and I really value that about you.
JD: I wasn't fishing for compliments, but thank you.
TG: No problem.
Okay, we got side-tracked a bit in our talking about the new duet by Tom and Joey Salinas, here is "Waiting for Your Call."
Tom Goss & Joey Salinas - Waiting for your Call (2013)
And that was Tom Goss and Joey Salinas and the brand new song "Waiting for Your Call."
Samuel Damewood (of Fuzz Face) Interview (2013)
Next up is an interview I kind of stumbled into, and I'm quite pleased it happened. I got an email on Facebook from Samuel Damewood, in Nashville, who wanted to know if we could talk about a project he's considering. I said sure and then looked up his profile, which led me to a page for the band he's in, called Fuzz Face. That page immediately got my attention, as how often do you find a band in Nashville that says its music is "queer alt-folk rock unabashed." I listened to clips from their brand new EP, and was just blown away, so quickly wrote back and asked if we could also do a quick interview about the band, and we did. The band Fuzz Face is a side project for Samuel, who mainly plays in the act Drake White & the Big Fire, which has a top 40 country hit at the moment, so Samuel's been doing a lot of National touring with that band. Anyway, I'll ease into our interview with a teaser from the EP, the ending of the song "Old Man."
JD: Tell me about the band Fuzz Face.
Samuel Damewood: Well, the band Fuzz Face is something that's very close to my heart and everybody else and everybody else involved in it. It kind of was a thing that started out of a question. And that question was, where is the good, the written well music, be it no gay or whatever that's out there that is not afraid to be who it is, if it is gay, but also had the standards of any other kind of music...of being well written, of being well produced, of being well performed. So it was basically kind of a brain child of, hey, let's fill this void, we feel like there's not enough real, tangible, accessible, quote unquote gay music. However, many of our fans aren't gay, and that was a big point of it...was making music good enough to where it transcended that...the not afraid of being who we are, not afraid to sing about it.
JD: I like that these are adult gay themes.
SD: They are...that's one of the things when Matt and myself were writing these things was just about...not forcing a song, just writing about the experiences that we had, and that we knew. And if you're an adult, you're going to experience adult things, and I think that being completely open and honest in your music really sends out a message that people can access, and can understand, and can connect with.
JD: Which song has been getting the most reaction?
SD: Ah, it's real funny, that's a tough question, because "Button Up Boy" was one of my favorites, one of my personal favorites, and to me it's the most commercial, but when you try to figure out what the sound is, it's so hard to figure out, like, is it is pop, is it Mumford & Sons...what is it? And I particularly like that song because of all the layers, and people when they hear that song say, that's a hit, or, I want to remix that...we get that a lot, people wanting to remix that song, because of the commercialibility.
JD: What is the song about?
SD: "Button Up Boy" is about a one-night stand, and possibly two one-night stands, or a string, and kind of this struggle we have when we have a one-night stand with somebody that we like. And that person's playing for fun, and you're playing for keeps, but none of that's being discussed. So inside we kind of have to be a superhero and put on our armor, and not show our feelings, so we can keep going back and seeing this person. So yeah, it was basically this fun idea that Matt and I had to see if we can write a song about a one-night stand and throw in some of our comic book geekness in with it as well, you know, and that's the name, "Button Up Boy"...means many different things.
Fuzz Face - Button Up Boy
JD: I could tell you wanted to talk about another song, which one was that?
SD: Ah, "Furry Belly." "Furry Belly" gets a lot of attention, which as a band we are personally okay with, cause kind of as a group we are not afraid to admit our affinity for hair.
JD: Your bearclivities...
SD: Yes, exactly, that was kind of a fun song. We wanted to do something tongue in cheek but still clever enough to not be far removed from everything else we wanted to do. That one...we actually played that song at a bear run...that song is probably the reason we got on the bear run. It was great because we talked all these guys into coming up front, just taking their shirts off, and it was fantastic, but a lot of people in the bear community latch onto that song. It's a very appropriate song for the bear community. So yeah, we get a lot of attention for "Furry Belly."
Fuzz Face - Furry Belly (2013)
JD: How would you describe the band's music style?
SD: Such a tough thing, you know, I do a lot of the kind of forming of the music, cause that's what I've done in my past, that's been my job. I love working with what we've got, and so I'm kind of like, okay, you can play this (instrument) and you can play this and you can play that. So how do we form a song out of what we all can play? And we all came from such different backgrounds and I think that's one of the cool parts for me with the band...it's hard to pick what kind of genre it is and what kind of music it is, cause to me it's not about figuring out a genre, it's about working with what you've got and figuring out what sounds best. We want this raw feeling, with the band.
JD: My first thought was, this is cool country and then I listened more and said, no, it isn't really, it isn't really country.
SD: Yeah, it's funny, we get people say "I'm not really a country music fan but we love your music," or "I'm not really a folk fan, but I love your music" or whatever..."I'm not really a bluegrass fan, but I love your music" and as someone who's in the industry it's hard for me to even put a finger on it. I'm proud of that personally, because to me music is music and just play what sounds good.
JD: Well, you've got a very interesting blend of the instrumentation, the violin, the harmonies, but it's harmonies once in a while and since it's not all the time it kind of makes the harmonies stand out more, like "oh, that was cool" and it's so well produced.
SD: Well, thank you, yeah, John Hill produced it, a friend of mine here in Nashville. He actually was nominated for two Grammys last year, for his work with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.
JD: How'd you pick the name for the band?
SD: Interestingly enough, Fuzz Face...Matthew, plays the guitar, Matthew Woodruff, I call him Moustache Matt. There was a guy who had kind of a crush on him, and they would eye each other at the Y, on a regular basis, and they started emailing back and forth, and he would call him Mr Fuzz Face, so that kind of stuck with Matt, and Matt really liked that and I really liked it too, because I also felt like it encompassed a lot more of the band, the rawness of it...the rawness and the realness of it, and I liked that, we all liked it and, and who doesn't like some good alliteration.
JD: Let's get back to another song. Tell me about "Came Out Hard."
SD: "Came Out Hard" is probably another one that people come up often and say, "that's a hit, that's a hit," which...side note, when we did this EP that was the goal. We wanted to make every song we do sound like it could be a hit. That's to make the best CD possible, but what's interesting is to be such a slow song, kind of a tango, and have people say that's a hit is so interesting to me. "Came Out Hard"...the idea for that song was for it to be kind of sultry and creepy and ominous at the same time.
JD: I think the song kind of sneaks up on you, where you start listening and you're not quite sure about it, and you listen again and you realize there are different layers to it and you think, wow, this is really good.
SD: Yeah, that's a big thing for us, we really wanted lyrics that could reach everywhere, but not just lyrics but music too. I always view that song as kind of an all encompassing coming out story.
Fuzz Face - Came Out Hard (2013)
JD: The first song I heard by y'all, well, let me back up...Samuel sent me a Facebook request to be a friend, and I said yes, and went to his Reverbnation page for the band, and the song there was "Cowboy," so that's the first one I heard, and I wrote him that "I am grinning, this is such a cool song, talk about "Cowboy."
SD: It is, that's our country song. That was one of the first songs we ever really did as a group, and it's a very literal story about a cowboy and a city boy meet, but it's also kind of about the band coming together and meeting. And there's a lot of tongue-in-cheek innuendos in that song, too, which is also fun and enjoyable. Yeah, that's kind of like our fun song in a number of ways, different kind of fun and not as campy, but, you know, manly fun, I guess. That's how I see it, that's our country song, and that was a fun one to do, and it is, it's country but it's not and I enjoy when you can't figure it out.
JD: To close out this segment would you introduce the song "Cowboy."
SD: This is Samuel Damewood from Fuzz Face, and that's also the name of our EP, and you're about to listen to "Cowboy."
Fuzz Face - Cowboy (2013)
Welcome to Part 2 of OutRadio and I'm JD Doyle, and I just love that song. Of course it's "Same Love" by Macklemore & Lewis, one of the very few straight acts you will hear on this show, but then its message is a powerful one, and the fact that they got that message song about homosexuality up to #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts is amazing. I think it's one of the most important LGBT songs in recent years. The female singer adding the wonderful chorus is openly lesbian, and named Mary Lambert. Of course this has been great exposure for her and a couple new songs by her are available. First you'll hear the full version of her "She Keeps Me Warm" chorus, and then one addressing body image, called "I Know Girls (Bodylove)"
Mary Lambert - She
Keeps Me Warm / I Know Girls (Bodylove) (2012)
Those last two were by Jenny Owens Youngs, from her 2012 album, "An Unwavering Band of Light." And coming up are two from the new CD by Texas artist Amy Coffman. The CD is called "The More Things Change," and the songs are "Fifteen Minutes" and "My Parallel Tracks."
Amy Coffman - Fifteen
Minutes / My Parallel Tracks (2013)
After Amy Coffman you heard Rachel Garlin from a 2008 CD I found called "Bound To Be Mountains," and I chose the song "Love Her a Lot." Then from Australia Nicolette Forte gave us a brand new song called "Hold Your Hand."
Next is Michael Harren, who used to live in Houston, and I knew him then, but he now is in Brooklyn, working on his music, and his first single is called "Go."
Michael Harren - Go
I love his voice. That's David Sereda, and his first release was in 1981. He had others in 1985 and 1994, and he's definitely been taking his time, but he's close to another CD, and he sent me the first track from it, "Beyond the Shadow."
Another CD that's brand new is by a band I much respect, named the Shondes. I interviewed them on my January show and covered a lot of territory there, so have been waiting for the new one. The CD is called "The Garden" and will be out in September. I thank them for sending me a preview, and the first track off it is "Nothing More Whole."
Shondes - Nothing
More Whole (2013)
After the Shondes
was Rachel Sage and a track from her 2012 CD "Haunted by You."
The song "Invisible Light" is actually on the CD twice,
with different arrangements. I chose the one that has Dar Williams
singing backups. A while back Rachel Sage signed to her label, MPress
Records, Melissa Ferrick, and that's resulted so far in two excellent
This is JD Doyle and I'm closing down Part 2, but please check out my interviews in Part 3 with Josh Duffy and Mélange Lavonne. Taking us out is a New York City artist I like quite a bit, named Eli Lieb. He's working toward a new full CD, and the first track from it will be "Young Love."
Eli Lieb - Young Love (2013)
Duffy Interview (2013)
Josh Duffy - Artificial (2007)
This is JD Doyle and you just heard a little of the song "Artificial," the title track from the last CD by Josh Duffy. We had Josh on the show right after his debut album was released a few years ago and now he has a new single that just debuted on July 4th. It's called "Our Love." He let me hear the song ahead of time, and I was so impressed with it I asked him if I could do the Houston premier for it, and he said yes, so I've got Josh here to talk about it.
JD: Josh, welcome to Queer Voices.
Josh: Hey, JD, how are you doing?
JD: Good, this is kind of cool for me, as I've known you for years and it's more like visiting with a friend than doing an interview.
Josh: Ah, that's nice, I feel the same way. It's been a while since I've seen your face.
JD: Too long, too long. Now I've got to tell the folks listening right away that I'm saving the song's Houston premier for the end of the segment. That's the way we do things, but let's start off by talking about the opening song, and, Josh, tell me about the song "Artificial," and what inspired it?
Josh: Oh, cool, yeah, "Artificial" was the very first song I released, my debut release. And it was just a fun song. Actually it was written around the extreme make-over TV show, and basically I just wanted to have a fun song that was kind of flirting with the plastic surgery and everything. So one day...I was a summer camp counselor when I wrote this song...and next to me was the camp director, and at night, he was a drag queen. I'm not too sure if he is a drag queen anymore, but I just looked at him and I looked at my can of Coke and I read 'artificially flavored' and I looked over at him and went, oh, artificial...got a song. And so it's kind of like a merge between plastic surgery and drag queens, which it has become somewhat of an anthem for the drag queens. Whenever I perform it if there's any nearby I like to pull them up on stage and just rock it out, and they love it. But yeah, "Artificial" was just a very fun debut release for me.
JD: How did that do as far as like airplay?
Josh: "Artificial" was played on XM, Sirius, FM stations in Canada and the U.S. Yeah, it did its thing. It charted on the top 20 on Jeremy Hovie's show on OutQ, when he had his show there, and it was just a nice surprise to see the reception that it did receive. And when I saw it chart on the top 20 I was like, okay, we got something here. Let's move forward and see what we can do.
JD: Well, it's been several years now, so tell us what did you learn from the experience of releasing the album.
Josh: Well, to be honest when I first recorded this album I just wanted to prove to the world that I'm a singer/songwriter. You know, you can't just go and say, "I'm a singer-songwriter" and not back it up with an actual recording. And so my intention was just to release an album to promote myself as a songwriter, and it took off and did its thing. And then before you know it you have to start following through with performances and touring and promoting, and there's just so much. And pretty much the first year within its release it's just a huge learning curve. You have to make the connections, network, which venues are right for you, discovering your fan base and holding on to them, and continuing to encourage growth as an artist, within yourself. And that alone is just so much to...like, you cannot read a manual, when it comes to the music industry, you just have to do it. And so within five or six years that it's been since its release I've learned so much that I did not expect to learn, and I'm continuing to learn, going into this release for "Our Love."
JD: Was it hard to get the attention of radio?
Josh: Was it hard to get the attention of radio? Ah, I would say honestly for me I don't think so. I'm sure it can be difficult for certain genres of music and artists. Did I conquer everything I want with "Artificial" that I hoped for? No, and that's why I'm really excited about "Our Love" and what it's capable of doing as far as radio.
JD: Well, let's go back a little, where did you grow up?
Josh: Okay, well I was born in New Orleans. I've lived all over the place. I'm not an Army brat, but New Orleans, La Place, Louisiana, and this is in order, Bainbridge, Georgia, Shreveport, Louisiana, Monroe, Baton Rouge, there's a little town called White Castle, Lake Charles, and then I went to Grapevine High School in Dallas, Texas, for my senior year, and then I went to L.S.U., back to Baton Rouge, Austin, Houston, and now I'm back in New Orleans for five or six years now.
JD: How long did you live in Houston?
Josh: For three years, I want to say three years, on and off, yeah.
JD: And I know you performed at Houston Pride then.
Josh: Yeah, Houston Pride, I did actually two years...I want to say '08 and '09, yeah, I think that's right. I had a great time in Houston and it's been while since I've performed in Houston, let's say 2011 was the last time I was there, since I was taking my hiatus opening up Bourbon Pride.
JD: Well, let's talk about that. You've got a store now, in the French Quarter.
Josh: Yeah, it's Bourbon Pride and it's my little baby right now I've been working on since taking my hiatus from music...opened it up in October 2011, and it's just been crazy. I never would have imagined owning a retain shop ten years ago, but we're rocking it out and we're having a good time with it. We have great customers. We get to meet so many people from all over the world, and at the same time get our Pride on, you know, make sure everybody is having a place to go to get their Pride.
JD: So, what kind of merchandise?
Josh: Oh, gosh, we sell anything rainbow, anything rainbow, and we design our own t-shirts, which is a fun outlet for me too, been doing that since, yeah, since we opened up the shop. It's on Bourbon Street so of course there's that Bourbon Street feel to it, and everybody that comes in has a great time.
JD: I want to share with you another song from Josh's CD "Artificial," and it's both powerful and beautiful, and is called "Safe."
Josh Duffy - Safe (2007)
JD: As an artist and performer you were out of the closet from the get-go, any thoughts about that now?
Josh: It's still my ambition to just remain who I am, you don't want to change yourself, and at first you kind of put yourself in a corner as an out artist, but at the end of the day people are going to appreciate that about your honesty. And I have no regrets or anything other to say that's who I am, and that's what I'm going to continue to do, and I'm not going to shove it in your face. That's not my personality, that's never who I have been. But it's just part of me and I don't think your sexual preferences have anything to do with what your message in your music is, unless you choose to.
JD: Well, you've had some movie work I want to get briefly into, could you talk about that?
Josh: Well, okay, yeah, between music and everything that I do I find time to do...if I'm getting a call-back or audition...I landed a little role on the "Dallas Buyers Club," which is coming out with Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto...that should be out later this year, and it was really cool to land that part, and I had a nice little speaking part opposite John Goodman on HBO's "Treme." And New Orleans is becoming the Hollywood South, in case you didn't know. There's so many films being filmed here at this moment, but yean, everybody in New Orleans is just doing what they can in the film industry and I've been fortunate enough to have been selected and chosen to play a role in these films.
JD: And you did a lottery tv commercial...
Josh: (laughs) yeah, yeah, it was a Louisiana scratch-off lottery commercial. Good one, JD. That was fun, we were imitating the Troggs and the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. That was a few years ago but it was fun to see on TV during the commercial break, yeah, it was fun.
JD: It was to the tune of "Wild Thing"
Josh: Yes, "Wild Thing," but it was "Wild Ten," cause that's the name of the scratch-off ticket. But it was cute and I was happy with the commercial and it was fun to see.
JD: Well, I personally have seen you most recently on TV on a kind of surreal television game show experience.
Josh: Are you talking about that game show where you have to call out letters...(laughs)...yeah, that was so awesome, you're right, it's surreal. In case you couldn't guess it was the Wheel of Fortune, and I was fortunate enough to be selected as a contestant, and win the show. It's crazy, it's funny to think back that I actually was a contestant on Wheel of Fortune, it's been a couple years and it kind of feels like it's not real, yeah, so it was just craziness, I couldn't believe it and I'm so happy and it was just a wild, wild event that I'll remember forever.
JD: Let's get back to some music. I want to ask about a track from a couple years ago that I really liked, and you did it with another artist I love, Mélange Lavonne. What prompted you asking her to do a guest vocal on your song "Truth."
Josh: Yeah, shout out to Lavonne. Okay, yeah. Mélange is such a great artist. I love to tell everybody that I meet about Mélange, and she comes from a great point of view lyrically, and whether it's political or about same-sex relationships, or just anything, she just nails it. She executes it so well, and I had discovered her right around the time of the release of my first album "Artificial," and I just reached out to her, and "Truth" just had this one little break down section in the song where it wouldn't hurt to put a vocal in there, cause it had a more urban feel to the song. I definitely wanted to reach out to Mélange. And, I tell you, in like 24 hours she threw back her lyric to me and I was like, yup, you got it, that's why I contacted you, cause I knew you could do it.
JD: Did you know her ahead of time?
Josh: No, honestly I've not met Mélange in person. We've talked about it. Whenever I get a chance to go out to California, we'll meet up.
JD: I did a phone interview with her once, and I had no previous experience with her, and we started talking and it was like, she was magic. I wanted to jump through the phone and hug her.
Josh: Ah, that's nice, that's a good little thing for her, yeah, she's really cool, you can't deny that.
JD: And let's hear that song. It's called "Truth."
Josh Duffy & Mélange Lavonne - Truth (2009)
JD: That was "Truth" with Josh doing his song from his debut album, but kind of a remix of it, with Mélange Lavonne. You did another song since then that I really like. I love your video for "I Will Love You," and it was very out of the closet...and what was the reaction to that song and video?
Josh: I'm so happy and proud of that video, and Julie Weinber did an amazing job, and everybody involved with the music video, they just took it and ran with it. The video for me is like a timeless video, that's fortunately recorded and people can go back to ten years from now and say, look there was an artist back then who wasn't afraid to show a gay love story in a music video.
Josh Duffy - I Will Love You (2010)
JD: Other than the new song, are there any other future music plans you'd like to talk about?
Josh: Well, I'm definitely going to release either an EP or an album. It's just a matter of time and getting to it. I've written songs since I took my hiatus. "Our Love" is definitely the one that stood out to me that I had to get to the studio and record, and actually I wrote it two years ago. So it's been so much a part of my everyday life, listening to it it's crazy how it hasn't burnt out yet, so to me that just shows that there's so much potential to have a song do so well.
JD: Lyrically talk about the song.
Josh: Lyrically, okay, "Our Love" just popped into my head, that just happens a lot with me, and happens a lot when you're in the shower, for whatever reasons, and the melody came to me and within a shower's time...the melody was there, the lyrics were there for the chorus, and I was like, okay, I have to hurry up and get to the computer and start working on this. When it's there, and it comes to you, it's like a lightning bolt. And with "Our Love" I'm sure that the song was written in two hours, the beat, the music, the lyrics, and it just came to me so quickly, and when I was writing "Our Love" of course I pulled inspiration from my partner Joseph...what do we have that I'm so proud of? And we have our own thing. Putting that into other people's perspectives with what they have, and how universal love is, but at the same time it's something that's so true to you personal.
JD: Well, one thing I particularly liked about it was...with many dance songs I hear it takes thirty seconds to get to the vocals, yours grabs you right away.
Josh: Hey, cool, yeah, thank you, and writing the song I wanted to kind of deceive people at first...like you said, you get right to the lyrics first, but at the same time it's...oh, maybe this is like a slow song, singy singer song, what kind of song is this going to be, and then bam, it hits you, and it goes right into it. It was a fun process writing the song and hearing it.
JD: Well, we'll let people listen for those parts when they it in just a moment. Before we go out, where can people find your music?
Josh: Well, JoshDuffy.com is my official artist website, you can find me on facebook.com/jossduffy music, and on iTunes, just search me on there...google me. Hey, it's Josh Duffy and you're listening to OurRadio.
Josh Duffy - Our Love (2013)
Josh Duffy and his new single, "Our Love," and during that segment you heard a song by Josh called "Truth," and the featured guest on it was a hip hop artist named Mélange Lavonne. She has a new project herself, so I thought it would be a special treat to interview her.
Mélange Lavonne Interview (2013)
JD: Mélange, welcome to OutRadio
ML: Thank you. Well, "A Walk in My Shoes" is a bit more relaxed, more addressing entertainment, a party atmosphere. My last CD was more on the activist level, as far as addressing gay marriage, gay bashing, domestic violence in same-sex relationships. I do have some very serious issues on this CD, but I have a lot of fun and party songs on this CD as well.
JD: I tend to gravitate toward the political stuff, so those are the ones I'm mostly going to ask you about and I love how very political and out of the closet your songs are. How did you arrive at that style?
ML: Thank you, well for me first I was told to have a, maintain a certain image, basically dress a certain way, rap about certain things that really didn't pertain to me. It didn't fit in with my life style and how I was living my life, so I made a decision at that point in my career that it was time for me to be openly gay, be myself and not be afraid of being myself. And my songs just pretty much took off from there as far as addressing the issues in our society that a lot of people are afraid to address in music, especially in hip hop. Hip hop is a genre that's really homophobic, so there are a slew of artists that are trying to change that.
JD: So do you think it's getting better?
ML: I think it is. A lot of artists are coming out, are being more acceptable towards our life style, standing up for us. We have a lot of allies, so I do think people are more accepting, they're more open.
JD: Well, I'm sure you've heard the song by Macklemore, "Same Love," that just knocks me out.
ML: Yeah, it's a pretty powerful song for it to be on the radio, on mainstream at that, is pretty amazing, and I think that it will open some doors for openly gay artists, I'm hoping.
JD: Well, let's talk about the opening track of your new CD, "Thanks, But No Thanks."
ML: Well, that track, a lot of people are wondering who I'm addressing. Basically for me it was to make a song about people who are supportive about our lifestyle, but, you know, there were kids struggling and so many kids have...I was one of them, who went through a depression for not being accepted, and even kids committing suicide over their sexuality and being bullied. I was addressing that song to the President, basically him accepting our lifestyle, and being supportive, but for me it was just, okay, that's fine that you're supportive and you're for gay rights, but it's a little bit too late for the kids who committed suicide, and who were bullied, and well, it's a little bit too late, you should have supported us earlier, from the jump, basically. So that's my anger song, me venting my frustration.
JD: And it's called "Thanks, But No Thanks."
Mélange Lavonne - Thanks But No Thanks (2013)
JD: Tell us about the song "Freedom Writer."
ML: Well, "Freedom Writer," I wrote that song for my fans out there thanking them for supporting me all these years and basically telling them, I want to be a voice for you in music, in hip hop, so basically the song was directed toward my fans and written for my fans, knowing that, I'm there for you guys...if you guys need me to speak out, have subjects you want me to address, I could just lay it down, and I'm there, I'm there for my fans, and try to be the best artist I can be, just for them, they motivate me.
Mélange Lavonne - Freedom Writer (2013)
JD: And you just heard "Freedom Writer." Mélange, I already said I love the political stuff, talk about "One of a Kind (Suicide)."
ML: "One of a Kind" is...you know, on Facebook I would get emails from a lot of high school teens and they would write me really amazing letters that would affect me to a point that I believe I really had to write something for them, and basically the song was addressing depression, being bullied, suicide...I've dealt with all those things, so for me to come out with a song and say, hey, look, it's not worth it, we need you here, you're loved, there's someone on your side, there's someone who loves you, you know, no one can replace you, hey look, you guys, you're one of a kind.
Mélange Lavonne - One of a Kind Suicide (2013)
JD: Were there any LGBT hip hop artists who were influential to you?
ML: Ah, there's so many, but the artists I went on tour with, Deadlee, he definitely paved the way, he wasn't afraid to be himself, he wasn't afraid to rap about basically being gay, as a gay male I know it's a little bit harder, so he definitely influenced me. Foxx Jazell, who's a transgender artist, I thought it was just amazing for her to just to be on her own path and come out as a transgender artist. She raps really good, she's pretty amazing.
JD: She's getting better and better.
ML: She is, she is. There's so many artists out there, I can't really name in one session, but we're here, we can stand up for ourselves as well, and we need that recognition. We need that platform to make music. You know, a lot of these artists, like Kanye West, and other people in the industry are like, oh, you should accept gays...well, fine, sign us, sign us to your record labels, sign us...you're accepting but be really accepting, give us a platform to get out there.
JD: How do you think being so lyrically gay in your songs has affected your music career?
ML: I think it's actually catapulted it to a level where I don't think I would have been. Just for me being out has given me a huge fan base. If I wasn't out, or if I was just rapping about...whatever, the main stream stuff I don't think people would perceive me as a talented artist who could have that longevity. I can't say all my fans are gay, but the majority of them can relate to me, and I have that longevity with them. This is my second album, it took me four to five years to put out, and I still have the same fans and to me that means a lot, so I'm sticking with what I know.
JD: The new album has two or three bonus tracks?
ML: Yes, the bonus tracks are from my last album, and for me it was important for me to put those on there, "Gay Marriage," "Gay Parenting," and "Gay Bash," because those songs were so important for me, and they still are. And every album I make I probably will put those as bonus tracks. There's always someone who hasn't heard those songs.
JD: Exactly, they need to be heard. Those are the ones I picked last time we talked.
ML: Yes, and I appreciate your support, JD, for you to give us a platform to play our music.
JD: What song from the new CD is attracting the most attention?
ML: I think "After Party," a lot of people like that song, cause it's fun and it's playful, and it's not talking about gay or straight, it's just about having fun, and I think people really want to experience that. You know, after all the stresses in your life I had to make a song where it was just let's party, let's have fun, let's not worry about our troubles, and just have a good time.
JD: There are two versions on the CD, and frankly I'm usually not drawn to remixes, but I loved the remix.
ML: I do, too, you know, I made the original version a few months ago, before the remix, and my producer, King Beats, was in the studio and I wasn't there for it and he just emailed me the remix, like, hey, take a listen, and I just fell in love with it. To me that's one of the best songs I think on the album, as far as me having that lighter side.
JD: Right, it's like, oh, here's Mélange, she's going to lecture us again...no, she can have fun.
ML: (laughs) Exactly, JD, I agree, exactly.
And from "A Walk in My Shoes," the new CD by Mélange Lavonne here's "After Party, the Remix."
Mélange Lavonne - After Party Remix (2013)
And There's More...
And I've talked with Tom Goss several times