Queer musicians are financially viable to record labels, according to gender-fluid artist Dorian Electra.
“The idea that we don’t have a wide enough appeal, or that we are too niche, is incorrect,” Electra says. “There are so many fans who have come out of the woodwork to support emerging queer artists—including some who never cared to support artists until openly queer ones came along. We make a huge impact.”
Electra, a Houston native and an independent artist who uses the pronouns they/them/theirs, is thriving, packing venues with heavily LGBTQ audiences. In 2017, their collaboration with singer Charli XCX (who’s tour Electra is opening for at select venues) in the song “Femmebot” put them on the map.
After self-releasing Flamboyant—a highly anticipated debut album—in July, Electra kicked off a headlining U.S. tour. They return to Space City for a performance at Satellite Bar on September 24.
“I’m really excited to return to my hometown—it’s going to be an amazing time,” Electra says. “Every time I visit Houston, I see more queer people coming out and being themselves. It’s so great to see the city I grew up in change so much.”
Raised in The Heights by parents who supported their child’s gender expression from a young age, Electra began making music as a freshman in high school. Now a professional artist living and working in Los Angeles, many of their tracks discuss gender, sexuality, and other LGBTQ topics.
Many songs on Flamboyant, such as “Career Boy,” “Daddy Like,” and “Man to Man” explore different chlichés surrounding masculinity. “I wanted to play with those tropes, take them down, and make them queer,” Electra says. “I do it slightly tongue-and-cheek way, but it’s deeply sincere.”
While Electra rejects toxic masculinity, the artist says there are certain masculine visuals that they enjoy showcasing with their music. “Some imagery that is typically associated with masculinity and violence, like medieval swords, are cool for imagery. I allow myself to indulge in these visuals while I critique them.”
The sounds of Flamboyant match its lyrics and look. Electra wanted the record to blend together all of their favorite types of music—from heavy rock, to Baroque, to Gregorian Monk chants, to pop. “I still wanted it to sound dancy and clubby,” Electra admits. “That’s just something I’ve always been drawn to.”
“Adam and Steve,” one of Electra’s favorite songs, explores LGBTQ issues such as religion and queerphobia. “There aren’t many queer narratives in pop music,” Electra says. “Thankfully, this is slowly changing. We’re living in an important time to be loud about our issues.”
To queer fans, “I say thank you for supporting me, sharing my music, and spreading the word about me, because I am an independent artist,” Electra says. “No big label is helping me. It’s important that you guys show up and stream my work so that we can show industry people that queer artists are deserving of their support.”
In the future, Electra sees themself signed to an indie record label trusts their creative vision. For now, they’re happy making and releasing that they enjoy for fans who relate.
“I appreciate the amount of flexibility I’m allowed to have as an artist,” Electra says. “I won’t rush into signing anything until it feels like the right fit.”
For more information about Dorian Electra, visit dorianelectra.com.
What: Flamboyant Tour featuring Dorian Electra
When: Tuesday, September 24
Where: Satellite Bar, 6922 Harrisburg Blvd