Home Indie Music “All My Mates Are Queer”: A Satisfaction Month Essay by CLAY

“All My Mates Are Queer”: A Satisfaction Month Essay by CLAY

“All My Mates Are Queer”: A Satisfaction Month Essay by CLAY


In honor of Satisfaction Month, Atwood Journal has invited artists to take part in a sequence of essays reflecting on identification, music, tradition, inclusion, and extra.
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At this time, San Francisco-based neurodivergent pop star CLAY shares her essay, “All My Mates Are Queer,” a narrative of her journey along with her queerness and self liberation, as part of Atwood Journal’s Satisfaction Month sequence!
CLAY (she/they) is a San Francisco born-and-bred artist crafting songs for the soul. She has the sleek, wealthy form of voice that melts tensions away with a single be aware. An ideal mix of R&B and pop, CLAY’s affinity for catchy melodies matched along with her seductively smoky vocal tone make her a should pay attention. Eager to make music that strikes folks and makes waves, CLAY’s work is vividly related and in addition overwhelmingly private.
Born and raised within the flower-child metropolis of San Francisco, in addition to a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ neighborhood, her various and politically potent upbringing has guided her work as a multidisciplinary artist into highly effective new realms. The historic social justice actions of the Bay Space laid the groundwork for the work she does as we speak to create liberation by way of music. Unafraid to get political in songwriting, her previous work has seen her tackle Trump on the top of his crippling energy (“Orange”), and extra. CLAY cares deeply about advocacy, neighborhood, integrity, and unity and you’ll at all times hear that in her artwork.
From the very starting, she knew that utilizing her voice was her true calling in life. At seven years outdated, CLAY joined the San Francisco Women Refrain. Lengthy feeling like an outsider, it was the primary place she made associates and at last slot in. She was within the touring ensemble of the refrain till age 16 – acting at former President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration and profitable three GRAMMYs alongside the way in which. As a younger grownup, she cultivated her songwriting abilities at a up to date music college and commenced making music of her personal. Calling herself a “neurodivergent pop star,” she approaches songwriting with deep reverence for storytelling and views it as a religious expertise. She typically isolates to drag from inside, listening intently for the whispers of reality longing to flee her within the type of a music.
For some artists, the problem of constructing your self from the bottom up while sustaining your authenticity and independence may be close to unattainable. CLAY is proving that she’s obtained what it takes to depart her mark on this sometimes-ugly world. Adamant to retain her sense of self and skill to enchantment to the plenty by way of her heartfelt lyrics and experimental fashion, there’s little question that extra treats are in retailer for listeners, each new and outdated.
CLAY launched the primary installment of a 3-part EP sequence referred to as ‘Respiratory into Bloom’ in 2022, which featured collaborators together with the likes of Alessia Cara, Stint, and Yakob. Extra not too long ago, she launched the second installment, ‘holy silence ‘fore the spring,’ with an prolonged model. She additionally has collaborated with the likes of mayé and Duckwrth. She has amassed over 20m+ streams throughout platforms. Whereas Respiratory into Bloom was optimistic about accepting that therapeutic is a course of, ‘holy silence ‘fore the spring’ delves deeper into extra melancholy themes that got here to her throughout reflection, when the air was brisk and the grey clouds sagged, heavy with rain.
This yr, she was featured in a worldwide model partnership marketing campaign with Tinder that highlighted queer love. CLAY’s songs have additionally been featured in exhibits like The L Phrase and The Chi and she or he’s gearing up for her headline tour within the states.

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holy silence 'fore the spring - CLAY


set off warning: sexual assault

One day, years in the past, I awoke and I spotted that everybody who I maintain dearest to my coronary heart is queer.

The buddies who I name for recommendation or simply to chortle, to verify in, to vent, to mourn and to heal with, are queer. How did this occur? Most of my closest associates are ones that I met in my teenage years, from totally different elements of my life. I didn’t actively or deliberately search out queer associates at the moment. I wasn’t even out. After I say I wasn’t “out” I imply I wasn’t even out to myself. Frankly, as a result of the tradition of my highschool was so traumatizingly heterosexual, I didn’t even have any inclination that I used to be homosexual. The primary time I slept with a lady I used to be sixteen. Maybe that ought to have been a sign of my overt homosexuality, however apparently, it wasn’t. I used to be so consumed with navigating the complicated and treacherous waters of my tumultuous adolescence that I hardly had time for any actual self inquiry or discovery. I used to be too busy making an attempt to outlive. Particularly as a younger undiagnosed autistic girl, I used to be simply making an attempt to make it by way of the noise of the day with out a meltdown.

Within the top of this time I got here throughout a couple of individuals who made my day a little bit extra quiet. Individuals with whom I felt I may lastly exhale and calm down my shoulders. They’d later grow to be my sibling associates, my comrades in arms, the individuals who I do know I may be wholly myself round. They held me with mild endurance and style as I fumbled into myself, stumbling clumsily sooner or later into the conclusion of my very own sexuality.

CLAY © Kanya Iwana
CLAY © Kanya Iwana

I feel it took me so lengthy to return to phrases with my being queer, to even entertain the thought I could possibly be something apart from straight, as a result of I used to be sexualized lengthy earlier than I truly felt sexual. I realized at a younger age that the way in which that I appeared was a form of social capital, a forex. To place it merely on this explicit context: boys wished me so ladies wished to be my good friend. (It sounds crude as a result of it was). It took me a very long time to comprehend the harmful root of each of those wishes and the way neither of them prioritized my very own. Due to this fact my early experiences with intercourse and sexuality have been by no means pleasure-centered. As an alternative they have been traumatic, complicated and contributed to the rising worry in my stomach that I might by no means actually know love.

Individuals at all times ask me about my popping out story and I not often inform it, as a result of even to this present day it feels foolish, virtually surreal. It’s like a photograph that has been stained by the solar, the reminiscence is light and unclear however the define stays. I had been residing alone in LA, having simply moved there and realizing nobody aside from the roommate I met on Craigslist and her 2 cats. I made a decision to go residence (to San Francisco) for the weekend and walked from my dad’s home to my favourite park. I used to be mendacity within the grass after I dosed off in heat rays of a (uncommon) sunny day. I woke as much as a flash mob occurring some methods away from me and I swear to you, pricey reader, I’m not making this up, the concept like all of my greatest concepts merely popped into my head. “Possibly I’m homosexual???” or one thing alongside these traces. (I generally marvel what, if something, the flash mob needed to do with this revelation, very unclear however thought it a enjoyable element). From that day ahead the seed was planted and I slowly started to water it. It wasn’t one thing I used to be able to shout from the rooftops, the truth is, very removed from it. The rising worry that I held in my stomach and now chest like a grimy secret, the worry of being unlovable was as soon as once more a distinguished power in my life. I bear in mind becoming a member of a queer girl relationship app and sneaking onto it at 3am as if my roommate would burst in any second, rip my telephone from my fingers, reprimand me and kick me out on the curb. Possibly if I went on the app within the quietest hours of the evening, it wouldn’t rely.

Quick ahead to after I lastly informed my greatest good friend (who by the way in which got here out after they have been within the seventh grade). They effortlessly rubbed a soothing balm over the burning disgrace in my chest. They informed me that my sexuality was MINE and that no matter I recognized as as we speak, I didn’t must tomorrow. They assured me nothing was everlasting, that I wasn’t contractually certain to meet the imaginary obligations of no matter my chosen identification phrase “meant.” That I used to be free to be whoever I wished, each time I wished. That I had full autonomy over myself. I cried and cried that evening.

CLAY © Jamie-Lee B.
CLAY © Jamie-Lee B.

It was solely a yr or two later through the “me too” motion that I confronted the total horror of my early sexual experiences.

That I took on one other identification: “survivor.” Within the context of this new deepened understanding of myself, I notice how transformative that dialog actually was. It was the primary time somebody gave me specific permission to determine for myself. Gave me the liberty of selection, one which in my teenage years I didn’t really feel I typically had. That freedom, that fluidity, the sensation of having the ability to determine for myself who I wished to be on any given day, and know that whoever and no matter I select isn’t fastened, was my salvation.

I might describe queerness as liberation. Actively resisting and current exterior of the confines of the chokehold of a heteronormative, patriarchal tradition that retains us all in a cycle of hurt and violence. My queerness was the sunshine in me after I was residing in such darkness that I couldn’t even see my very own hand in entrance of my face. I’m so grateful for fingers of my associates, my neighborhood, who reached out to me. They appeared to know me earlier than I did, and invited me to bask within the heat of their gentle when mine was dim. I’m so deeply grateful to be part of a bigger neighborhood of people that traditionally (and nonetheless to this present day) have been on the forefront of each single motion in the direction of justice and liberation. Due to them, as we speak, I can say with none hesitation, I’m so proud to be queer. – CLAY

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holy silence 'fore the spring - CLAY

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