Meet some of Lancs’ LGBTQ+ musicians
Ukuleles, a capella and debut EPs
With Pride month well under way, we decided to speak to a few of Lancaster University’s LGBTQ+ musicians about their music. We covered everything from the LGBTQ+ community at Lancaster Uni through to where we can support their music. During Pride month, it is important to listen to the voices of LGBTQ+ creators to educate ourselves and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.
Ella Karen Music
First up is Ella, a 22 year old singer-songwriter. Her matching hair and guitar is a big vibe. Ella’s songs tend to focus on mental health, feminism and relationships. We asked Ella all about her music and what it is like to be a musician within the LBGTQ+ community.
“I normally song-write during periods of heightened emotions as a form of therapy and catharsis. Before I came-out I would write songs about women and would conveniently change the pronouns when I performed them in front of people but as I became more accepting of my sexuality I stopped bothering hiding who the songs were about!”
“Occasionally I feel uncomfortable performing songs that have overtly queer and feminist themes just because you don’t always know how an audience will react to your material and whether they will reject/fetishise your sexual orientation. The LGBTQIA+ community on campus has been incredibly positive for me in finding likeminded people, although as a white cisgender woman, I realise that I receive privileges my QTBIPOC (Queer, Transgender, Black, People of Colour) friends do not, who too often are cast out both by society and by the LGBTQIA+ community itself.”
Alicia is an Alto singer in Sing&Tonic, one of Lancaster’s a capella groups. Having sung in a capella groups for around five years, she was thrilled to find Lancaster had its own a capella society.
“Once I joined Sing&Tonic, then ‘La Killer Queens’, I was so happy to find out that there were other LGBTQ+ singers in the group. I can be myself, and it has also helped to meet people in the community.”
Sing&Tonic sing a range of different styles of music; from musicals, rock, pop and once even a traditional Bulgarian piece featured in the game The Witcher. Being the Media and Communications Officer for Sing&Tonic, Alicia is responsible for their social media presence.
“It has been great fun to work with graphic design tools to create posts for our Instagram and Facebook pages and to share useful information and advice during the events of the past weeks.
“We are all waiting and hoping that lockdown will end soon so we can start singing again. In the meantime, we are working on choosing and arranging songs for the next year!”
Belle is a pansexual singer and musician who has been playing music her entire life, from piano lessons, to singing and playing the clarinet, among other instruments.
“I am not in a position where I am able to be open about my sexuality with many people in my life. At the age of 16 I was sure I was bisexual but it was something I had been grappling with since the age of 13. I now identify as pansexual and being at university has helped me to properly accept this identity.”
“However, I don’t think I ever would have been able to without music being a part of my life. My music department at school was the only place I felt my sexuality would be accepted as many people at the school were very conservative.”
“My music teacher let me take a cheap ukulele home one night and it lead to me now owning 3 of my own. I discovered a whole world of LGBTQ+ artists, with one of the first songs I ever learnt on that little ukulele being ‘I’m bisexual – a coming out song’. I never sang it to anyone but I would sing it to myself over and over in the music practice rooms where I would spend a lot of my time. It helped me to accept how I knew I felt when in the rest of my life I was working so hard to reject it.”
“Since coming to university I have met so many other LGBTQ+ musicians and it has been an incredible help in finally truly accepting myself. I don’t think I could have ever truly accepted my pansexuality without being surrouded by such incredibly talented and accepting people.”