Phoebe Bridgers and Claud discuss identity and representation in music
This week, Phoebe Bridgers and Claud sat down with Proud Radio’s Hattie Collins to openly talk about identity and the importance of representation in music. Both artists also discussed their own experiences with discovering their identity and how their journeys impacted who they are today.
Each episode of Proud Radio features progressive LGBTQIA+ artists and talented individuals throughout the modern entertainment landscape. In the past, Tegan And Sara, MUNA, Hayley Kiyoko, Rina Sawayama and CHIKA are just a few of the artists to appear on the Apple Music program.
Back in October, nonbinary and queer artist Claud became the first act to sign to Bridgers’ label Saddest Factory Records. Since then, the musician went on to release their debut album Super Monster earlier this year.
For the Proud Radio interview, both Claud and Bridgers opened up about their own identity journey over the years. In particular, Bridgers discussed how coming out as queer in high school led to misconceptions from both her peers and parents.
“It was important to me because I've had some very, very strange experiences coming out, which was like, I was a lot more conventionally queer-looking in high school,” Bridgers says during the Proud Radio interview. “So a lot of people didn't believe that I am attracted to everybody. It was just very strange. And even my parents weren't super open and not in a homophobic way, just in a didn't believe me way, literally.”
Bridgers went on to say that her transition from a teenager into a young adult brought a new wave of obstacles. For her, she’s found that her privilege as a white woman makes it harder to navigate representation in a way that doesn’t feel exploitative.
“Now, as I've came into my 20s, I started to look a lot more straight passing and started to have the opposite problem, where I'm benefiting from the privilege of being straight passing and identifying as queer,” Bridgers tells Collins. “I don't think there's anything that revolutionary about a white woman, so it's just been hard to navigate. When people want to highlight that about me, does it feel exploitative? Does it feel like I am allowed to take up that space? It's just been a hard place to navigate as an adult, I think. That's a really long way of saying that, but yeah, it's just hard to find a space for myself that feels true.”
As a queer individual, Bridgers is always looking for ways in which the community is being represented. Ultimately, she believes that as individuals continue to come out as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, it will encourage even more people to express their own true identities.
“I think that part of being queer is constantly looking for it and finding it in places you don't expect,” Bridgers tells Collins. “But I also think that the more representation that there is, the more straight passing people come out as queer, I as a little kid would have been like, ‘Oh, you can do that?’ And I think that's really important.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Claud talked about getting in touch with Sam Smith after they came out as nonbinary in 2019. For Claud, Smith expressing their true identity is widely important for not only the LGBTQIA+ community but also the music industry as a whole.
“Sam is really interesting. I actually DM-ed them, when they came out as nonbinary, and I was like, ‘Whoa, I just wanted to say hi, and I want you to know that I exist. And I want you to know that I am so appreciative of you,’” Claud says on Proud Radio. “Because there's so much that comes with that. Sam can tweet about a huge award show and be like, ‘Hey, this sucks.’ I could say the same thing, but it won't reach the masses in the same way. Now, you have a nonbinary musician on Top 40 radio. And most people won't even know that they're nonbinary, but it's just so sick. And it means so much to me.”
Claud also discussed the gender norms that are commonplace in the music industry. While MTV has eliminated gender-specific categories at the Movie & TV Awards and Video Music Awards, other award shows exclude an array of artists who do not self-identify in binary terms.
“It’s so frustrating because I see certain award shows, pretty much all of them, and most of the categories are gendered,” Claud tells Collins. “And I wonder, if I ever got to that point where I was going to be nominated it's like, where would they put me or would they just not? That's a really good question.”
Claud is among the groundbreaking artists featured in Alternative Press Issue 393 with cover stars Architects. Along with Claud, the issue also features the legendary Kathleen Hanna and Zoe Wees among others. You can order Alternative Press Issue 393 below or here.
What are your thoughts on Phoebe Bridgers and Claud’s interview with Proud Radio? Let us know in the comments below.