“I’m releasing a song in August called “Secret Getaway,” dedicated to the joys of gay sex. I think my parents would love this song—minus the part about “fucking in the Taj Mahal,” says DaddyPrincess (aka singer-producer Uliya).
That one line says so much about this South Asian, gender-nonconforming queer musician who now calls Houston home. Prior to arriving in the Bayou City about five years ago to be closer to family, DaddyPrincess lived in the Bay Area and then Brooklyn, New York. However, their roots are Midwestern, having grown up in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Their mother and step dad, who immigrated from India, played a large role in DaddyPrincess’ early musical influences, which included everything from disco to Bollywood.
“My parents used to throw these big parties at our house. They played lots of music, but all I remember is ‘Dancing Queen’ on repeat,” DaddyPrincess recalls. “My mom and I used to listen to Sade a lot in the car, and my bio dad and I would listen to Lenny Kravitz full-blast, windows down. My first cassette was probably Diwaale Dulhania Le Jayenge (we lovingly called it DDLJ), which my cousin brought when she moved in with us from India. My first American cassette was Ace of Base. As a child, I’d love to dance to Bollywood music and perform in plays, but I think I discovered I could sing in high school.”
DaddyPrincess is a self-taught musician who started posting their early works on YouTube around 2012. Their talent evolved, and they eventually graduated from guitar-only songs to more polished mixes using a proper condenser mic and Logic Pro X.
“I took mixing and sound design a bit more seriously. I began to get feedback from fellow songwriters, producers, and poets. I started to collaborate more and build community with musicians I admired, even if I felt a little awestruck by their talent. ‘DaddyPrincess’ is a recent invention of mine. Before that, I was releasing music under Uliya from 2012 to 2022.”
The artist produces practically every element of their work, from the music to the cover art and visuals. “I love being a self-taught musician. I’m very proud of it! [But I also] admire my friends who’ve been to, let’s say, Berklee—I learn so much from them, as well. We all have our place.”
DaddyPrincess now describes their current music as sensual, effervescent, melancholic alt-pop. “Usually when I say ‘alt-pop,’ people catch the vibes. But everyone has their own thoughts on it. It’s a fun convo,” they say with a wry smile.
Although their music is intended for everyone to enjoy, DaddyPrincess wants to use their platform to champion trans, GNC (gender-noncomforming), and queer people—in particular those who also identify as BIPOC. This is especially important now, given the attacks on trans and GNC people.
“I see music as a way to bring people together into spaces where we can create community and grow closer,” DaddyPrincess explains. “Through these spaces, we can form bonds where we can uplift one another, despite the BS. I’m not alone in this—there are so many trans, GNC, and queer musicians, DJs, and performers in Houston. Artists like Coy, Jotan, and Amarji are doing this same thing. So many!”
DaddyPrincess just wrapped up a single called “deep space broadcast (origin unknown)” and four extraordinary remixes done by other QTBIPOC artists. Another DaddyPrincess single, “Secret Getaway,” is a “shimmery, easy-breezy tune for those sultry, humid Houston summer evenings,” according to the musician.
“I consider my music and work as a performer a gift for my listeners and my community. Literally, listen wherever you feel called to—wherever you get music.”
The future for this inventive artist looks bright. In addition to their new music, DaddyPrincess is planning “more music videos, more bandmates, more stages, more community love, and more music collabs with amazing artists—including other queer Houston artists like Attxla, Nate Drop, and Isaac Niaz.”
Follow DaddyPrincess on social media and at daddyprincess.gay.