With almost a decade in the industry under their belt, Mykki Blanco has truly cemented a place as a trailblazer, innovator and one of the most exciting queer artists in music.
In the past few years, they’ve collaborated with everyone from Charli XCX and Shea Coulée to Pussy Riot and Dev Hynes – not to mention being handpicked by Madonna for a starring role in one of her most recent music videos.
Now, Mykki is back with their first official release in five years, Broken Hearts & Beauty Sleep, which has already become their most acclaimed offering to date and shown off a different side to both their personality and musicianship.
This Pride month, we spoke to Mykki for our Over The Rainbow series about why right now is such an exciting time for LGBTQ artists and why The Golden Girls will always have a special place in their heart...
What is your favourite Pride memory?
I think one of my favourite Pride memories is when I had first moved to New York City. I was probably around 20 years old, and I’d never experienced what it was to be at a true Pride in the way in which New York City does Pride.
That feeling of “wait a minute, it’s OK to be unabashedly sexual and sex positive, and we can be free with our bodies, women are topless and it’s not through this cishetero male gaze”, all of those elements for the first time, it really culminated in me being like “oh, this is what it is to be queer!”.
When you attend a Pride like that on that scale for the first time, it’s like, “wow”. And as a queer body, most of the time we feel very much a minority in the every day, so when there’s Pride, you’re like, “oh there are hundreds of thousands of us convening all at once, I wish it were like this all the time, every day!”.
Who is your LGBTQ hero?
I love Big Freedia. Freedia is a gender non-confirming artist that has risen to the levels of someone with millions of followers – she has the trajectory of a popstar, from putting in the work and persevering. And that’s rock and roll.
That kind of, “I’m going to be me, and I’m going to authentically tell my story and make my music and bring it to people all over the world”, that is, to me, what a star is. And that’s very much the trajectory that I hope to be following.
What is your go-to Pride anthem?
It’s so cheesy but I think It’s Raining Men! There’s just something so cheesy about it that symbolises Pride to me, when it comes on, and everybody starts pretending it’s storming, and people start popping bottles or spilling their drinks or sprinkling you with their ice.
What is your favourite LGBTQ film?
When it came out, I was really into Call Me By Your Name, just because of how nuanced it was. Also because, I’d been living in New York for so long, it resonated with me in a different way.
But also, when I was younger, I really loved the film The Outsiders, which isn’t a “queer film” but it’s about a gang of kind of, like, hot boys who have to look out for each other. And as a teenager, the homoeroticism of the gang wasn’t lost on me, you know?
Oh! And I love The Talented Mr Ripley just because Jude Law is so fucking hot in that movie! There’s also a homoerotic theme to that, too – but good god Jude Law is hot in that movie.
What was an LGBTQ TV show or TV moment that made you feel represented?
Oh, I am Dorothy and Blanche from The Golden Girls. Anyone who knows me truly will tell you,I fit that queer cliché, The Golden Girls is my comfort show, I have seen every single episode, and I don’t care, I’ll watch every single one again. I love that show. That is my queer television, for sure.
Who would be your ultimate queer icon?
I kind of want to go with someone a bit younger. Let’s name a few because I want to give props to some of these contemporary young queers. The girls are really turning it right now, and I just love this moment. I just think it’s a really amazing time to be a queer person making art.
I loved Sophie’s work, I think Arka is amazing, I love MNEK, I love that Lil Nas X is our brown-skinned queer pop star. I thought [Lil Nas X’s SNL performance] was true to who they are, and that’s what people need to see. And if people think that’s subversive… well, they haven’t lived enough.
What is your message for young LGBTQ people this Pride month?
Take care of each other. This pandemic, we’ve had to mourn so much, and we’ve had to lose so much. So just… soften, you know? I think the pandemic has softened a lot of people. But, let’s look after each other.
Mykki Blanco’s latest album Broken Hearts & Beauty Sleep is available to download and stream now. Watch the music video for their song Free Ride below: