The very sensual and sensitive Boy Radio discusses his youth, the authenticity of his debut album, Neon Romance, and the art of drag.
YOUTH and ROLEMODELS
Did you have a role model that inspired your decision to become an artist?
I’ve had a few role models in my life. Not all of them were artists or entertainers though. It might sound cheesy, but my Dad used to pretend he was a radio Dj. When I was a kid, I found a tape of him “hosting” a radio show…Mostly with introductions and jokes, no music. In a way, I think hearing that inspired me to find my own voice when I was younger.
Was there a formative experience growing up that influenced your coming out?
I watched a lot of TV. Like, a lot. So when the stories on TV started becoming more about queer lives and coming out, I started to think that my experience would be similar. It took me some time and I’ll be honest, I didn’t come out to my mom until I was 27 years old. I couldn’t before. When I did, it was for me and I got to a point in my life where I didn’t care what she or anybody thought about it. I felt like I wasn’t being 100% myself and that was starting to weigh me down.
As a kid were you a trouble maker?
Yes, next question. Lol.
What advice would you give to your adolescent self?
Just that you are actually right about a lot of the things you feel and it is important to trust those feelings. A lot of times adults can only treat you in the way they’ve been taught and if they don’t understand you, they’ll try to change you. As a young person, you’re voice will be silenced many times but you will learn what it means to nurture through nurturing others, and by nurturing and caring for yourself.
“As a young person, you’re voice will be silenced many times but you will learn what it means to nurture through nurturing others, and by nurturing and caring for yourself.”
As a creative or entrepreneur there’s a lot of highs and lows throughout your career, what drives you everyday to wake up and pursue your artistic goals?
The highs feel so amazing. The successes are what make the lows worth the struggle because there is a part of me that believes that I will make or be apart of something that will bring to life another success. As someone creating content it does get hard though since I have to be my biggest supporter. But I’ve been fortunate to meet and become life long friends with other artists and it helps to go through those highs and lows with them too.
Some artists explore emotional personal experiences when creating new music and use escapism as a therapeutic process to confront these experiences. Do you have a similar creative relationship with your music?
More now than ever. My songs used to be very mainstream oriented, inspired by commercial sounds but I needed to take a moment to be vulnerable as an exercise and to introduce myself to an audience that would see through that “Ooh girl” and “Drink this, smoke that” Bs. Ive been so guarded my whole life so my authenticity is important in my story.
You’ve described your debut album, Neon Romance, as very ‘unconventional‘ and that only certain listeners will organically connect with your music. Would you say you embracedvulnerability in order to make this album?
Yes. “Neon Romance” is my first official self release. I stand by it, I support it and each of the songs on it. I have favorites and my not so favorites, but I still support all of them and the experience of making it.
Beyonce, Rihanna or Nikki?
That’s like saying New York, Tokyo, or Berlin! I can’t answer that…
“I’ve learned that.. I. Am. Very. Sensitive. To. People’s. Words. And. Energies.”
In New York especially, there’s a lot of positive energy celebrating individuality as well as resistance towards anti LGBTQ legislations. As a queer artist living in New York do you feel somewhat responsible to be an advocate if you will for LGBTQ rights?
Absolutely. There are a lot of conversations that I will not engage in because I don’t think everyone has the range to talk about some of these issues. There are levels to our community and not everyone understands or knows how to listen when it isn’t about them.
In a recent interview you mentioned that your drag name would be Terror Banks. Firstly we love that name. Secondly how important do you think the art of drag is in contemporary culture today?
I have two girls in front of me, but only one photo…
Drag is nothing new. GOOD DRAG is new. Well, not in NYC. Not to sound anti, but drag queens in NYC have been working their padded asses off to make names for themselves here and not just to be famous, but to live. So yeah, I think the world is starting to latch on because Drag is getting better everywhere you go now. And as far as lip syncing goes, some of my favorite drag queens have been selling out stadiums for years.
Your sultry style has been cited as drawing parallels to Prince, Grace Jones and David Bowie. Are you naturally a very sensual person or is it something that you switch on when you perform?
I’m pretty sensual 24/7. But I’m also super nerdy off stage and very sensitive.
Do you have much time alone, if so what do you enjoy doing?
I usually work best by myself or in smaller groups but I’m a huge loner. I love going to movies alone, and to bars. There’s no greater thing to me than leaving a place without having to worry about rounding up someone else. Just a good ol’ fashioned grab my sh** and go…
“There are levels to our community and not everyone understands or knows how to listen when it isn’t about them.”
What have you learnt about yourself this year?
I’ve learned that.. I. Am. Very. Sensitive. To. People’s. Words. And. Energies.
Do you have any future projects that you’re currently working on?
Yes but I’ll share them as I create them via boyradio.net and my Instagram @boy.radio
What would you graffiti on the back of a toilet door?
A bad drawing of Bart Simpson with his pants down, butt, D***, and balls showing…and the words “Hey” “Looking?”
Take a peak at Boy Radio’s latest video release, Champagne Wishes