For this weeks "We're Here, We're Queer, Get Used To It" I' absolutely thrilled to have had a chat with one of the most uber talented artists in the UK right now Grace Savage. She's a four time UK Beat Boxing Champion, a film maker, an actor and she also creates some incredible music.
Grace has some excellent advice for anyone considering coming out and to those who encounter prejudice.
If you were describing your music to someone who hadn’t heard you, how would you describe it?
Alternative contemporary sometimes dark sometimes upbeat rhythmic electronic pop vibes….with great lyrics ;)
Who were your musical heroes growing up?
Pink, Missy Elliot, Spice Girls, Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse, Destiny’s Child….
This feature for Dreaminisfree is highlighting LGBTQIA+ artists to help inspire people in our community that their sexuality or gender identity doesn’t need to prevent them from being successful. As a trans female I understand all too well the lack of representation we have as a community. Do you think that it’s important to highlight these experiences and identities and if so why?
Yes it’s extremely important. Representation is undeniably one of the most important factors in not only being accepted by society but accepting ourselves too. I don’t think it can ever be underestimated how crucial it is to the well being of society to highlight and share more diverse stories in the media. But if we are asking real people (not characters in a show) to share, then it’s important that they are comfortable and ready to. Everyone finds their voice and identity at different times, some take longer than others to feel totally comfortable with who they are and be happy to shout about it from the roof tops; for some people it can take a life time and others may not ever want to share their experiences and that’s okay. I used to feel a pressure to speak out about my sexuality when I was younger and in hindsight, I wasn’t sure who I was yet or what I really wanted to say. It took me a long time to get to where I am now and I’m glad I waited. I understand deeply the power of role models and am happy to take on the role of being an openly gay artist now but it wasn’t always that way. I’ve been releasing music for 4 years now and my next single “Tracy” is the first song I’ve released that is explicitly about another woman. All the others have been suggestive but it’s taken me this long to really and unashamedly say it in my work.
Mainstream media seems intent (as well as some authors who shall not be named) as making trans people’s lives as difficult as possible. Has any of this impacted any of you at all? Can you share how you’ve overcome any challenges you’ve faced due to your identity?
Contrary to popular belief that it’s “All okay” now and “no one cares if you’re LGBTQIA+”…it’s not true. People still struggle every day to be accepted - by others and themselves. Internalised homophobia was a real issue for me for a long time and it’s an ongoing process. Only recently, I was kissing my girlfriend and heard two teenage girls making gagging sounds at us, as if, what we were doing was not an act of love but something disgusting to be mocked. I walked right up to them and gave it to them, in front of their parents….they all looked completely shell shocked but I hope in a few years time, they look back and realise how hurtful their behaviour was, it may take some time to truly sink in. That’s just one small and recent example…there have been plenty more deeper, more complex, more offensive situations….some that are still ongoing now and I’ve learnt that the best way to overcome the shame and pain it can cause…is to live unashamedly and unapologetically as myself, to surround myself with people who love me for me and also confront/educate those who openly disapprove.
Events in the last 18 months in Hungary, Ukraine and Poland have seen rights for LGBTQIA+ people reversed. We’ve also seen an increase in homophobic attacks and the anti-trans rhetoric here in the UK in the last 18 months. Its as if trans and queer peoples identities are becoming weaponised in an attempt to prevent any progress for our community. What’s your views on this?
I know it seems like a lot of the world is going backwards and we aren’t making any progress but I really do think it is the minority who are anti gay and anti trans - they are just being given big platforms. It’s not a true reflection of the society we live in, which, in my experience has a loving and accepting majority. Sadly, we live in a society where the loudest, most outrageous people get the most air time - Piers Morgan and Katie Hopkins types. We live in a click bait culture - you say the most extreme thing and the algorithm works in your favour so you get more views and that’s how extreme views spread and get pushed to the forefront more. These people do exist and it is a serious problem - they are are afraid of change, afraid of what they don’t know and the internet is preying on and exacerbating this fear. It is dangerous but it’s a double edged sword. The internet is a great place for the LGBTQIA+ community voice to grow stronger and create positive change but it’s also a place for vicious ideas and hate speech to spread. But we must remember that all this hate is a push back - it’s the result of us having more visibility and a stronger collective voice than ever before. We are not hiding in the shadows anymore, we have more visibility than ever (but we need more) and a minority of people don’t like it. The internet needs better policing or controlling…I have no idea how we fix that as a society but if we keep pushing out positivity and love…that’s the only way we will progress. Love wins.
It’s been a strange 18 months or so for most of us how have you coped with lockdown and the lack of being able to play live?
I’ve been very lucky. I had some voice over work that kept me afloat financially. I kept releasing music, made a short film with my partner for the BBC and have managed to secure some Arts Council Funding to develop my creative practice. I’ve really missed live but it was a good opportunity to focus in on other things. I’ve been mega busy these past couple months since everything has opened up and it feels great to get in front of audiences again!
Whilst it has been a strange 18 months, your film Her & Her won “Best Score” at Swindon Film Festival - Independent International. Massive congratulations! It’s an incredibly moving and positive short film. Are we going to see you doing any more films?
If my acting agent keeps getting me the auditions! Fingers crossed, one day :)
What’s been your proudest moment since coming out?
I can’t pinpoint it down to a moment but there have been lots of little victories. Whether it’s confronting homophobes, receiving messages online from someone who has felt inspired or more seen as a result of following me or just simply growing a little taller and a little prouder every time I hold my girlfriends hand in public, every time I write about an experience or share a story…knowing that might help someone out there.
If you had a message for any of your LGBTQIA+ fans what would it be?
Take your time. Self acceptance can be a long journey but you will get there. Surround yourself with people who support you, follow people who inspire you and don’t wait for the world to love you…..love yourself and good things will follow. Remember - most people in the world are good and loving people, don’t watch the news too much! Live your best life and know that your JOY will drown out the hate. Let the haters poison themselves, don’t let them diminish your existence. You are too FABULOUS for that.
Grace's new single Tracy is out on all platforms tomorrow. She's also playing a headline show on 15 October at Queen of Hoxton EC2A you can grab a ticket here
Dreaminisfree always has and always will be free - Any artists looking to collaborate in this feature then please email using the subject We're Here, We're Queer, Get Used To It to email@example.com