How did you get drawn into the music game?
When I was thirteen my brother was always playing guitar and I wanted to be just like him so I picked one up and learned to play. With that I just started writing little songs and kind of used it as a therapy method throughout high school to get through my angst. When i was 17 I got hit with the Crohn’s shit really bad, so I would write songs about dealing with that because they would let me bring my guitar into the hospital.
What was it like trying to make music in the hospital?
I remember they let me bring my guitar when I hospitalized for about a month and a half or so in high school. I wrote a lot of songs, I remember I wrote one called “Voodoo Doll” about being poked with a bunch of needles and stuff – like that’s how I felt. All I had to do in there was write, there was no internet or anything like that.
How does your illness affect the topics you write about?
I always put it in there, just blatantly. I have a song called Dirty Girl Problems because Crohn’s disease deals with poop and bowels and stuff. I try to speak on that in a funny classy way, like I call myself “The Queen of Crohn’s from the Porcelain Throne.” The throne is a toilet, but it sounds nice when you put it like that. Themes of being scarred up also crop up in my songs usually organically. I always have something about my disease in my songs, it’s something for other people with chronic illnesses to identify with. It always helps me deal with my own problems.
Are there any famous musicians with chronic illnesses that you admire?
There’s not a lot. Well I know Mike McCready from Pearl Jam has Crohn’s and Missy Elliott has Grave’s Disease. She was so weak at point she couldn’t even pick up a pen, she couldn’t write – she’s a huge inspiration of mine. Of course there’s Dilla but there’s not a lot. I guess K. Flay has a lot of work based around mental illnesses (depression and anxiety) that I can relate to.
How did you find your place in the community of musicians you surround yourself with?
Well I was in the rap scene and that was very discouraging because it’s like a popularity contest kind of. I mean I’m cool (laughs) but I don’t care about being popular. When I met the people that were in the Fly Honeys show with me, I met all these different types of people, trans, bigger women, smaller women, gender fluid people, just a lot of open-minded individuals and ever since then they have been so supportive of me. That’s how I got involved with Queer, Ill, and OK.
Tell us a little about Queer, Ill, and OK.
It’s a show mostly about people living with HIV within the queer community but they also focus on other people with other chronic illness and mental illness (like me) and it’s just kind of a variety show of people displaying their talents while dealing with these issues. It focuses on the body and how people live in theirs and deal with the way the world views them. The show opens December 9th and it will take place at Oracle Productions, you can RSVP for free tickets and more information online and find more information on Facebook. Shows take place December 9, 10, 16, and 17.
Location: Oracle Productions, 1802 W Berenice Ave. in Chicago
Dates: Opening Night (December 9)
Curtain Times: 8pm
Free tickets at https://oracle.yapsody.com/
event/index/54684/queer-ill- okay/245927Two-week run: December 9+10+16+17