Hi FLAVIA, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Hi! I’m actually doing pretty great, considering the apocalyptic state we’re all living in. I feel very lucky to be a creative in a time like this. I’ve been spending this time creating a lot of new music, poetry, digesting books, and looking inward working on my mind, body, and soul. It was so exciting to have such a positive, uplifting release like “Them” during such an uncertain and scary time. I hope that it brought some light and love to peoples day/week/life!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Them”?
I released “Them” in support of trans rights on Trans Day of Visibility. I wanted to use my voice and my platform as a creative person in the LGBTQ+ community to be a better ally. But as a cisgender female, it was important that I was sensitive not to speak for a community that I myself am not a part of, but instead made my goal through the video to let the trans/GNC/NB community shine and represent themselves. The T in LGBTQ+ is so often wildly under/mis-represented in media, therefore I wanted to shed light and help raise awareness for the trans community specifically. It is so important that cis allies support and help lift up the gender nonconforming communities that haven’t been afforded the same opportunities as binary folks. It’s with strength in numbers, and using our own resources to help others, that we can truly make a change.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
“Them” was inspired by a specific romance I had with a trans-masculine person, but the video’s intentions were to be inclusive of the entire trans/gender nonconforming/non-binary community. Through my relationship with this person, my eyes were opened up to how little I knew about the trans community beyond the surface. I became so much more aware of how underrepresented they were in popular media and that I wanted to help change that. I’m very grateful for my time and experiences with this person, as I learned through their openness and my own now seeing how powerful language truly is, and how impactful a word choice can be for someone. Whether it’s delineating between the use of ‘chest’ instead of ‘breasts’, or using someone’s correct pronouns, it can be the tiniest shift in our language that makes someone feel seen, validated and respected.
How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
Wow. My entire life for over 3 weeks went into producing this video. Given that we were only a small team producing this (myself, Basil Mironer, and Kai Wes – a trans/NB producer, actor and trans activist), we had our work cut out for us. Bringing almost 50 of the most diverse, beautiful humans together into a room and creating a safe space and sense of community was a magical feeling, and shooting the day of was an incredibly profound experience for me. I am truly grateful for all the people that came together to make this video possible.
How was the recording and writing process?
I couldn’t shake this feeling that I wanted to make an art piece in honor and support of the trans/GNC community. But being a cisgender woman, I wanted to do it respectfully. I wrote the song with some pals of mine: Katie Hargrove, Aaron Berton and Matt Crawford. After that I finished producing it over time with Matt and Aaron, who I co-produce a lot of my music with. The song kept coming to life more and more until it was finished. We knew we had something special.
Was it easy for you to translate your vision into the video?
After finished the song, I brought it to my creative visual partner, Basil Mironer, who directed the music video. Having been creative collaborators for the last 5 years on everything from music videos and single covers, to visual projections during my live show, there’s definitely an artistic magic between us. He is incredibly brilliant and talented, and after hearing his initial concept for the “Them” video, I was immediately stunned and on board. I am so lucky to have had his brain and talents to collaborate with once again, this time for our most important project together to date. Given that I’m an independent artist with small budgets to execute our big ideas, I feel so grateful for our wildly talented artist community. We all come through for each other’s projects and pool resources to make the near-impossible happen and somehow bring our very ambitious ideas to life every time. I’m always impressed.
What would you call the most challenging aspect of shooting the video?
Definitely casting this video was a beast of a task. I did most of my casting through social media, and asking friends of friends of friends, word of mouth. But also LA-based Transgender Talent Agency and the Los Angeles LGBTQ center were extremely helpful in connecting me with additional talent. It was incredible to see how many people were willing to help, and donate their time and expertise to a cause like this.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
Yes! I’ll be releasing a Pride EP in June featuring entirely queer content and have already been set to perform at various prides around the country. Hopefully we’ll be out of quarantine just in time for us all to emerge as beautiful butterflies and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community together!
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
Both are still up in the air…I’ll take title submissions though. 😉
Any plans to hit the road?
I had many plans to hit the road and unfortunately it’s all had to be cancelled due to the world’s current affairs. Hoping to still get some touring in as soon as we’re allowed out! I’m playing Wonderstruck Festival in Cleveland as well as various Pride Festivals!
What else is happening next in FLAVIA’s world?
Other than the EP, I’m also finishing up an album set to release in the Fall! I think music has the power to change the world. When I create music, it’s really important for me to make art that positively impacts people, that can bring us all closer together, even from a distance. All my songs have a cause behind them that is important to me, bottled into a fun, relatable pop song. My first single, “Hateful”, was accompanied by an anti-bullying, #BeKind campaign, “Gotta Let You Go” was in support of addiction and mental health awareness, “Til I Die” was my coming out publicly as Queer on Billboard Pride, “Does She Like It Rough?” was addressing my being polyamorous and talking about alternative relationship lifestyles, and of course “Them” is in support of trans rights and the GNC community. You may or may not be able to expect another new single next month. 😉