Ally X. A pop star with a mission. His latest album, Cape God, Using big hooks and surreal songs to take on the look of high ideas about being exotic. While she’s not making music, the Los Angeles-based singer is using her platform on behalf of the LGBTQ + community.
Spotify for Artists: What has inspired you to raise awareness about gender and the LGBTQ + community?
Ally X: I mean, it’s definitely in the culture. This is now a topic of discussion for good reason. It’s just coming into the conversation, and it’s great. Another big reason is that I have always been more concerned with the queer community. Its people have been my friends throughout my adolescence and college years, as well as in my adult life. And now they are my listeners too. Befriending them has educated me a lot and I like to be community champions and allies wherever I can.
How did you start doing it and how would you incorporate it into your work and public personality?
It’s kind of where it comes from. If I ever get a chance to talk about it, I do it. If we are celebrating a transgender right or a queer right one day, I will always post about it.
A lot of times my fans share their experiences with me, not in public. If it’s universal and they’re comfortable, I’ll always re-post to give them a voice. I’m always proud, and I went to meetings and lunches during the Pride Weeks to discuss these things. I try to stay active wherever I can. In situations where no one is educated, I will always try to educate them and try not to embarrass them, just that people are being respected when they do not realize that they are being disrespected, this is the kind of thing we will be.
I know you have a good relationship with your fans. Would you say that the learning process is a two-way street?
Well, most of my fans are really young compared to me. It’s a different time to grow up to have such a young fan, in yourself and very instructive. Nowadays it is much safer to go to high school in many places [for the young LGBTQ+ community] When I was in high school though it is still very dangerous in many places, there is still a general education and openness in matters of acceptance and gender identity, sexual preference and identity. And I think that’s really great.
Since I spend a lot of time interacting with my fans, I think I probably have a better perspective on current issues of my tone and culture.
What impact have you seen from this use of your platform to raise awareness?
It certainly brings me closer to the people who follow me. Nowadays, there’s a lot of music out there – which is really great, and I’m very grateful for the ways in which the streaming and music industry has changed. But I think maybe my history of being a voice ally and community supporter gives fans a glimpse into the person behind the song and gives the feeling that they are doing more than just taking music. It’s someone they can relate to who can help them and I hope, will support them. This is a safe place. I’m arrogant, but I hope my fans feel the same way.
How has this work affected your music?
It’s hard to say. The music I make is a lot of self-expression – but since I have such a vocal and supportive fanbase, I can’t help but always think, “How will they relate to it? How will they feel?” Lots of my music, especially Cape God, Being an outsider and trying to find my place. I think if you’re part of the LGBTQ + community, you’re going to be related to it one way or another. Even if you have a supportive family, or if you go to a very generous high school or college, I think you will naturally understand what it means to not have your people right now, or what it feels like to be isolated or alienated.
What would you say to other artists who want to incorporate awareness and even activism into their public lives?
There are many ways to help. The best thing to do is to educate yourself. You have a platform and people are going to pay attention to what you say, you have a platform of 5,000 monthly listeners or 5,000,000 monthly listeners. People are paying attention to what you are creating and what you are saying, so make sure what you are talking about.
Get educated even if you don’t plan to become an employee. Be educated so that in your daily life when you end up in a situation or conversation, you know what you are talking about and you know how to protect human rights and show respect.
I think it’s great to use your platform to highlight talent and highlight other artists in the community [you’re helping]. Something I try to do is highlight fans who have experiences and stories that are worth listening to and watching.
– Maura Johnston