When it comes to LGBTQ allies, this year we have lost too many to count. It’s been especially devastating with the loss of so many gender-bending musical inspirations such as David Bowie and Prince.
As we head into 2017, there are several new up and coming musical talents who will bring us so much life — Kalypxo being one of them.
An LGBTQ ally who embraced her androgynous style and voice through discovering music, Kalypxo’s genderqueer collaborations with out rapper HYM went viral, and now she’s poised to release another video on New Year’s Eve.
GO talked with Kalypxo about her music, style and how societal norms have kept down women and LGBTQs with gender expectations.
GO Magazine: What is your love story with music?
Kalypxo: Music is something that has been a part of me ever since I was old enough to sing in the choir of my grand daddy’s church. I sang with my cousins as my aunts, and my mother played the piano by ear, and the rest of my family played in the band. Music is truly something that runs in my family and through my veins.
GO: When did you decide to go full force after a career as a musician?
K: Music was always something I knew I wanted to pursue. I wrote poetry and those poems later became songs. I thought, “I’ll be a singer!”—then one day I realized I couldn’t sing, at least the way I had always wanted to. So instead I quietly became interested in rap, after all to me rap always stood for “rhythm and poetry.” But it wasn’t until I met my brother HYM that I found the confidence to really explore this side of my creativity. We teamed up, and the rest is history.
GO: What do you hope people gain from an experience when listening to your songs?
K: When people listen to my music I want them to hear me. I want them to feel the passion behind my words. I want them to connect to what I’m saying. I want the weak and the overlooked to feel embraced and empowered. I want you to feel confident and sexy. I want them to feel hip hop, real raw and unfiltered hip-hop.
GO: Your video collaborations with HYM have been very genderqueer. Do you hope to carry that idea of messing with gender norms into your solo projects?
K: I never quite fit in with all the pretty girls, and the guys never wanted to come within five feet of me, so naturally I found myself befriending members of the LGBTQ community. You know, those kids that fell in-between. The people who never quite had a place to fit in, so they would create their own. I admired that. Society told girls to be pretty and demure, men to be strong and powerful. I never fit into either of those.
GO: How has the LGBTQ community influenced your music?
K: I always saw myself crossing those boundaries the same way that artists like Grace Jones, Prince and David Bowie did. That’s why I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of androgyny in music and in society. I think it’s a beautiful thing. I hope that my music crosses boundaries too. I want men to bump my music without having to give the “She’s cool for a female rapper” disclaimer, and I want women to feel empowered when they listen to me, not feel taken advantage of or objectified.
GO: What can we look for from the future of your solo projects?
K: My music gains a lot of influence from artists from the ’90s. People like Lil Kim, Tupac and Biggie. When it comes to my future projects, be prepared to see a deeper and more poetic side to Kalypxo.
My latest video is a remix to J. Cole’s “No Role Modelz,” one of my favorite songs. I put my own twist on it. I call it “Don’t Save Her, ” and I hope my girls can vibe with it.