Life is made up of interesting people and when you meet new people that present art you have seen before in new ways, you are impressed, and are even more impressed when they have not seen the original. They’ve just creatively delivered a collage of wonderful things you might recognize, but in a way, you have never seen it before. The Los Angeles based Michigan native diva Cyn does that in a very frightening, enlightening, touching, and very sassy way. Cyn (Cynthia Lovely) is a livewire of creativity, a creativity that you can grab onto some aspects immediately and just hope the rest will someday click and it will be as fulfilling. You gotta get into this girl. She’s getting many public shout outs and was picked up by Katy Perry. Her music has been featured in Pride compilations. Her EP “Moodswing” covered enough in sounds to keep your mind busy with enjoyment, but her use in visuals to tell a story are even more powerful. Having released the “Mixed Drinks” collection of her single “Drinks”, yes it’s worth saying that word over and over in the song. She has been selected on the GLSEN Pride artists compilation, she has been a favorite with the up and rising artists within the community. I also am proud I did not tell a single Michigan joke in the entire interview.
Jeremy Hinks: Thank you for taking the time, I had planned on doing this interview at your scheduled show in Salt Lake City, but I’m not sure if you heard about this thing called “The End of The World” that might have happened. I’m at least glad we get to talk here. So, you just released “Drinks”. I got a great kick out of the video, quite a storyteller.
C: Well thanks.
JH: Well, it’s great, you are there, totally poker-faced walking around and like all your videos, telling a great story. I need to know, did Alexa see you? Cause it looked almost like you weren’t there. OR at least half the time you were the imaginary friend.
C: Actually, I think it was just that she was pretending to look at him, that’s what the look with disgust was about. The reason why Alexa is in the video is cause of the line “Alexa knows the bartender”, but she is not the real Alexa but its always good to have one. And yes the real Alexa did know the bartender, so all the drinks were free that night. She even told me this recently, that this is the ONLY bartender she knows in all of Los Angeles. It was a funny line, doesn’t rhyme with anything, it a cool slogan, everyone has an “Alexa” right, who has that hookup and gets you free drinks. I’m glad it got into the song, shout out to my best friend.
JH: Well you kept it so stoic, a fun song, and you are dressed really suave and sophisticated, and then Alexa in her overalls, you are arm wrestling the biker and some girl in casual blue jeans gets up and walks out. Nothing in that video fit with anything else, so there was no real “motif” just this story to tell. So, what is the “IT” that you have out in the open?
C: For me, it meant as soon as I let everyone know that I can let everybody know that I’m not into this guy, that is the “IT” when you can say “Ok everyone I’m over him” you know when you are finally free from a relationship, and you finally feel secure in being out of that relationship. And that’s the truth, I had broken up with this guy shortly after that so, I am feeling closer to myself.
JH: Well, the song is great, loved the video, not trashing on it, but the “NERVO Remix”, a total winner, that was just over the top. The only thing that made the song better was that mix. Just, that remix was not to be enjoyed like, or even with the video.
C: Oh I’m fine with that, I value your opinion, I like the song no matter what, but tell me the truth, I can handle it (laughing).
JH: Oh, well, the dance remix is soooo fun, my daughters and I are bee bopping and singing along to it in the car, its a new family fave.
C: Well, wait till you hear the rest of the remix collection. That “NERVO” mix was the vibe that you hear in a “Berlin Club” and you are underground. Then I have a remix that is very “Greek Island” and I have another mix that’s “Fashion Runway”, and then there is another one that is when you are “X” and yet another that is a bit “EMO” so, something for every moment.
JH: So, have you been to Berlin and the Greek Islands?
C: Yeah, actually I have, I did some study abroad, have you been?
JH: Yeah, I spent most of the ’90s in Europe, I lived in Germany, France, and The Netherlands, but yes, it does have the Europe underground vibe, at least still has what I was used to hearing.
C: Well, good to know people caught the vibe, I’m excited for it to get out there for everyone.
JH: So, I got the “Moodswing” EP which is fantastic, and it comes on my shuffle while I’m driving or doing yard-work. Your earlier stuff, you swayed in a lot of directions, didn’t want to have just one sound. When you did, “I’ll Still Have Me”, have you ever watched the TV show in the ’90s called “Twin Peaks”? That whole song, video, all of it was pulled straight out of that show.
C: No I never have seen that show.
JH: Well, the show was very “timeless” and caught several frozen in time moments, and imagery and your video, the images, and even the backdrop of the stage were pulled straight from the show. The décor of the hall, they had these bar scenes with Julee Cruise as the bar singer, and it all had these amazing visuals, and your video could have been played right in the pilot episode, it was fantastic. Watching it, I was wondering “Does she know she is in a Twin Peaks episode right now?”
C: No, I’m really picky about the TV I watch, I’m usually just watching “Star Wars” and National Geographic.
JH: Good to know you are a Star Wars fan, you need to get into Dune, that is who Star Wars stole everything. So, you have to watch “Twin Peaks” and you were at that moment in time. And the video was telling this story, of the celebrating of love for each other, then the mention of the one who was not with them anymore with the use of the photograph. It was a great capturing of the idea, what was it behind that.
C: We were working with the label, and event management, my publicists Jamie and Alexandra were coming up with ways to have an impact. We came up with the idea of the old folks home, and then we had the art director that came up with the backdrop, and how we set up the set. That video was eight different people’s input and ideas. I wanted to wear jeans, but the art director said “Girl you gotta wear a skirt” so, it was all these ideas. I wrote the song about my experiences, but they all came up with their ideas on how to deliver it. It is about life, but then the aspect of death in there as well.
JH: Well you got an A+ on that one, the message delivered.
C: You know what, I LOVE that video, and I have to beat that video. “Drinks” was a great song and video, but “I’ll Still Have Me” was just a heavy song, and when you have a song as powerful and speaking about something timeless, speaking about the truth of life, you need a video like that. It doesn’t matter what’s trendy. I have other songs that will make you sob, that are incredibly deep, so I’m glad to know that you liked the video and that it delivered those feelings.
JH: Well, the outfit you were wearing, you were straight out of “TWIN PEAKS” even your hair in that video was perfect.
C: I am looking at some of that on google images, and I am seeing that, the lighting and the themes. I am always referencing things from the nineties images, and feelings. I love that era.
JH: There was the part of the video that memory you got when you saw the woman go and just touch the photo of the person she had lost. That was so powerful, I had a moment like that recently actually, I found a photo and I realized I was the only person in this picture still alive. I remembered all of them, and how powerful a photograph can be. And your visuals are wonderful they tell a great story, people can really grasp that from your work.
C: Thank you, it is important for me to do that, I was born in 93, I am constantly referencing nineties images and styles.
JH: Well, when you roll through Salt Lake lets talk more about Twin Peaks and Dune. I have to say, I was hoping to see you play here, the venue you were scheduled at has bad lighting, but the sound is wonderful, the worst sounding band in the world would sound fantastic there. So I was looking forward to that.
C: I was looking forward to the tour, yes everybody had to just put life on hold.
JH: So you were selected for an LGBTQ favorite artist compilation, did the Bonnaroo circuit, and like everyone else, you were hoping to play Pride before the world came to an end.
C: You know, I was planning on it, I wanted to yes, I love the community, and want to support the LGBTQ Community in any way that I can. And yes, Pride is on my bucket list, it will happen. If I never get to play a Pride festival before I retire, I would consider my career as a failure. Interestingly, I am not seeking it out, but so many of my friends are gay, and my fans are gay. We are not seeking each other out, but my gay friends and fans, we just “get” each other. I have this joke with my fans that I am two percent gay because I think women are beautiful, but I will probably marry a man. But these conversations are always happening with my gay fans, and yes, maybe everyone is a little bit gay. And they love it when I say things like that, they are all just super open and wonderful. I want people to be their authentic selves. I can’t understand why who someone wants to love or find attractive should be considered a detriment to society or anyone else’s life. I don’t understand why anyone would care. If the world could have more love in it, why would we fight that?
JH: Well, I know that a considerable amount of your fan base is younger gay men.
C: AND, since I wore that suit in the “Drinks” video, I now suddenly have developed a large following among lesbians, too. I hadn’t even thought of it, but then all of a sudden, tweets of “A woman in a suit, I’ll die for that”, and I was just feeling the suit vibe.
JH: Well, I’m half Scottish, and I wear kilts all the time, so I am unable to comment on clothing that people wear regarding gender. But do you have a large presence of the gay community at your shows? I shot Iyla a few months back, and her fan base in Salt Lake is I think for the most part gay men. I told her “I think I was THE OTHER straight guy at your show”. She insisted there were at least three or maybe even four of us. I think you would have a similar crowd.
C: Well, when I write songs, I keep in mind that anyone could like them. But when writing, I don’t try to directly cater to them, but I will know “Ok, my gay fans are going to just LOVE this one” and they do, more than the straight guys. I love my demographic, and I am happy that they find comfort in my music, and that they flock to my shows, and they welcome me so warmly. I mean, I sometimes think I write my music for the gays and the girls. That’s not true I write for everyone, but it sure feels that way, especially with the turn out at my shows, and how they respond.
JH: So, you’re the kind of girl with the solid gay following in the DIVA followers. But I’m glad you can reach everyone. Now I don’t know if you have seen “The Big Lebowski”?
C: No I haven’t but yes it was a nineties movie I know that much.
JH: Well, for all things artistic, like you were with “Twin Peaks”, your song “Holy Roller” is so wild how you mixed everything. You are at the bowling alley, you had this “Handmaid’s Tale” imagery, you had this whole hardcore Catholic confessional in the photo booth. And I don’t know if you have ever been to a French funeral?
C: No, but WOW.
JH: Well, there you are, in the glass box, with all the flowers around your stilled body, and the candles. It looked just like in French wake, right before the funeral. The flowers while beautiful, the images were very very unsettling, borderline morbid. So, French wake, Handmaid’s tale, and the photo booth confessional, and then you have this “Big Lebowski” montage in the Bowling alley. I had to watch that one so many times to take it all in.
C: Wow, thank you. It’s also another big collaboration with Matias (matiasmora.com), he was the one playing the guitar in the “I’ll Still Have Me” video, and we worked together on the “Moodswing” EP. He is my right-hand collaborator, I work with him a lot. When we wrote “Holy Roller” a month or so after that, he was at a local bowling alley, and he sent me a picture of a bowling team jacket that said “Holy Rollers” and I thought ok, what if we did a video of some nuns bowling. But, a friend of mine had just been through a bad situation with some nuns, so we thought probably shouldn’t go there. So we took it back, and I thought how can we have some bowling with a religious theme. So I thought I would have some Catholic girls and some “cult” vibe. But I have not seen much of “Handmaid’s Tale”, but that burgundy stands for Catholicism in general, so I think that “Handmaid’s Tale” is referencing Catholicism, and so am I, but I totally see it with the bonnets and that little neck thing I wear. It was just standard Catholic in general, I grew up Catholic, and this is even a political statement, and there are a lot of lyrics and phrases, in general, downplay “The Man”. I love the lyrics “I can’t repent for something I mean”, that is saying “I am not going to repent for who I am”, I mean it’s another thing if you are evil and murderous, but if you love someone who is the same sex as you? Don’t repent for that, that was fully a shout out to my friends who need some encouragement in that department. I am downplaying themes of religion because I think that some of those themes make life impossible for some people. It was intentional and I am not trying to offend anyone, I just want people to step back and think these things over.
JH: Well, I’m not Catholic, but I lived in France, and I have seen a bunch of nuns out bowling, habits, and all.
C: THAT IS AWESOME, YES!!! (Laughing)
JH: In “Lebowski”, there was all this stuff happening around a bowling alley. The lead character was named “The Dude”, and there is an entire religion built around this idea, and its called “Dudeism” and it is practiced in “The Church of The Latter-Day Dude”, and all these jokes about this religion happen around a bowling alley, they even have weddings there, it’s awesome.
C: WOW, YES, I love this.
JH: So you are pulling all this magic and imagery out of thin air, and you never even saw the movie. There was this dream sequence in the film, of him going to heaven, to war in Iraq, Vikings, women with bowling pin hats, and Saddam Hussein handing over the bowling shoes. I see your videos, and you haven’t seen “Twin Peaks” or “Lebowski”, but you are getting the visuals and the vibes straight from them, it’s the universe channeling these ideas to you, that has to be it. (both of us laughing)
C: DUDE!!! THANK YOU, you know, when you are making creative decisions from an authentic place, you touch on the authenticity of everything. If you are working within yourself and being totally honest you accidentally hit a certain thing in someone else. I know I’m all out there, but you know what I mean.
JH: Well, a church in a bowling alley, it was there and you managed to do it. But there is unsettling imagery with the flowers, I mean, it made me uncomfortable with a French wake, and then the violence and ritual suggestion of the girls dancing with the bowling balls. Your visuals are powerful and tell a great story.
C: Thank you, I am going to have to keep exploring.
JH: Now here is my final question, and I ask everyone this. What would your message be to that young gay kid, who is in the closet, afraid, maybe suicidal, and in a vulnerable state?
C: If your truth is to be queer, that can never be wrong, your truth is never wrong. That is how to live fully is to live by the truth, never ever deny yourself, and if I was talking to a kid in the closet, I would say it with a little more sugar. If the people in your life, if they can’t let you live your truth, then you don’t need them in your life, never be afraid of who you are. That is how you succeed in life is being authentic.
Home page: cynsings.com