From demos to debut albums, SoundCloud is often the first stop for any artist looking to get their music into the world. Now home to more than 20 million creators, the platform has helped empower a new generation of DIY artists to reach an audience without having to compromise who they are. To celebrate Pride, PAPER teamed up with SoundCloud to spotlight rising LGBTQ+ musicians all month long. We're already obsessed, and you will be too.
When it comes to California duo, Closegood, the personal is political and the political is personal. As two trans artists, (producer Amada identifies as transfemme, and singer Nyfe as non-binary) issues of identity as it relates to race, gender, mental health, and sexuality are constant battlegrounds that they must negotiate every day of their lives. It's only natural that it would work its way into their chosen form of creative expression. Despite only having released a handful of tracks, Closegood has already garnered support from artists like Lion Babe, whom they recently opened for in LA, and G.O.O.D. Music collaborator Anthony Killhoffer, whom helped with their debut.
Their debut EP, Graven, is a mix of hip-hop, R&B, and rap that floats through sub-genres like cloud rap and trip-hop with an ethereal like grace. But don't let Closegood's dream-like sonics lull you into a false sense of security, lyrics like "White boy look at Black girl with tight curl like 'Hoe I know you was not invited,'" off the scalding "PAPERBAG," snap the listener back to reality with bitter pills that demand to be swallowed. The duo shows an incredible amount of promise for being so early in their career, odds are you'll be seeing them pop up in quite a few curated playlists down the line. Might as well hop on board now.
PAPER caught up with Closegood to help you get to know the dynamic duo a little better. Follow them on SoundCloud, here.
How would you best describe your sound?
Amada: Trap-inspired sad rap pop?
Nyfe: Enchanted Hip Pop
What was the most insane show you've ever played?
Amada: Probably the most recent one at the Great American Music Hall, we opened for Lion Babe and the whole venue had a great energy.
Nyfe: I knew it was the most insane because my knees hurt so much afterwards
Amada: Pride means celebrating our true selves, working towards a world where all members of the LGBTQIA+ community can have the opportunity to live safe and happy lives, and remembering the Black trans women who did the work to get us where we are now.
Nyfe: Pride means fearlessly investing in, advocating for, and celebrating the excellence of myself and my LGBTQIA community.
As a queer artist, what challenges have you faced?
Amada: As queer artists, I think it can be difficult to connect with new listeners who don't relate to our experience.
Nyfe: There is always an unclaimed pressure to be less loud about queerness in spaces that aren't accustomed to holding or caring for us, so I think every entrance can be a challenge sometimes.
How would you like to see the industry be more inclusive of LGBTQ+ voices?
Both: We would like to see queer artists, specifically queer artists of color, being featured year round, not just during pride month, and not just tucked away in obscure playlists.
Why do you think SoundCloud important to creators in the LBGTQ+ community?
Amada: I think SoundCloud is important to LGBTQIA creators because it gives them a space to experiment with their voice and their sound without the same pressures or requirements as other streaming services. People can find their niche or get inspired to push the boundaries more the more freedom the platform has.
Nyfe: Any platform that heavily supports independent artists is supporting LGBTQIA artists. Making streaming services more accessible for artists looking to upload and find an audience has done nothing but build platform for the voices among us most marginalized by the larger music industry.
What other queer creators have you discovered while on SoundCloud?
Nyfe: I remember hearing serpentwithfeet for the first time on SoundCloud and that experience gave me so much joy as a queer Black artist.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Both: More music, more live shows and performance art of different kinds, and probably some more weird trippy visuals.