From pop culture to politics, an increasing number of trans people are breaking into the mainstream. Macy Rodman is a young transgender woman and a recording artist whose music speaks to queer coming of age experiences. Her work playfully confronts heavy issues around identity, mental health, and American culture. Rodman's own self-realization occurred in a career in New York nightlife, finding community within the city's music, drag, and trans subcultures. Her latest single, Lazy Girl, is a trans anthem to millennial lethargy amidst the comforts and confines of capitalism.
The song is part of Rodman's collaboration with producer JX Cannon, together they'll release an EP this winter called HELP. Lazy Girl features Rodman at home, work-shy in a variety of comfort costumes. She wakes up exhausted, "Stressin' out when I start the day, gotta pop a fuckin xani just to make some eggs." Her nasal, 'over-it' drawl narrating a universally understood desire to stay in bed forever, get high, and have sex. "I'm a lazy whore so baby you can come and fuck me but you gotta shut the door." If she's going anywhere, it's straight to the mall.
Rodman enlisted other trans artists for the video to Lazy Girl, amplifying the song's vibe as a trans anthem, portraying the messy, fun, and challenging trials that face young trans artists. I caught up with Rodman to discuss her music and transitioning in your twenties in 2015. This interview has been edited and condensed.
Broadly: What is being a Lazy Girl about, really?
Macy Rodman: Lazy Girl's core message is about not wanting to face the outside world, which is something a lot of people can relate to. When I wrote it, I was trying to describe this very specific kind of depression that sets in when you're a trans woman starting hormones, but the song really battles the bleak theme with humor and danceable beats.
That idea of being so spent emotionally, physically, spiritually that you can't get out of bed, or need to "pop a fuckin' xani just to make some eggs," feels universal. How does that need for quiet isolation relate to being young (and queer) today?
That agoraphobic response to leaving your house is something a lot of people can relate to in our current state of technology. Leaving the house means not being fully available to watch Netflix, listen to Spotify, order Seamless, shop Amazon, etc. for however long you're gone, and we get so used to all those comforts that it's super stressful not to have them in one place. For a queer person, and especially a trans person, the internet is really comforting because you have infinite choices when it comes to the image you can present to the world. When you leave the house, however, those choices become limited, and the people you run into are out of your control, and that's a different kind of stress that can often be dangerous. It takes a lot of effort to get ready to go out even on the simplest errand if you don't want to be harassed or misgendered by passersby, and on top of that, getting used to a regimen of hormones can really drain your energy. Everything combined can make you want to just lay down and take a nap rather than put in the effort, which I think is a valid emotional state that I had to address if I was gonna get past it.
The music video for Lazy Girl features several other queer/transgender people, who are they and why did you include this group of individuals in the video?
The people in the video are a mix of people I knew already and people I didn't know but wanted to meet because of their personal work (GoGo Graham's all trans fashion label or Serena Jara's photographs for example). I wanted the video to feel like a trans version of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" but in a less gimmicky way (no shade, Taylor). Trans people tend not to be included in pop imagery unless it's a montage of "outcasts" like in Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" video. In my video, everybody's doing kind of silly, banal stuff, but we're the stars of the video. I wanted to show trans girls as part of the action, not just a window into a sob story.
Note: Lazy Girl stars Charlene (performance artist), GoGo Graham (fashion designer), Serena Jara (Photographer), Guang (Photographer), Leah James (writer/artist), Raul De Nieves (performance artist), Third Fernandez (fashion designer), Lao (fashion designer), Beni Hajj, Jake Dibeler (performance artist), and JX Cannon (Producer).
Pop music appeals to groups. Music idols can inspire a generation of youth, did you have a role model or an icon in music growing up?
I have always been obsessed with pop music. The music I make sounds like Gwen Stefani if she was a depressed trans woman. My favorite artists growing up were the girls who had great beats and innovative production like Britney, Mariah, Destiny's Child, Janet Jackson, etc. My favorite was always Gwen Stefani though. No Doubt was so cool and she was so pretty but so outrageous looking, and that seemed unattainable but I wanted to be her friend hahaha. Looking back I can see that the influence her music has on my own work is definitely the solo stuff she did with Pharrell. I was obsessed with The Neptunes before I even knew I was obsessed with The Neptunes through the songs they were producing for other artists, and when Love.Angel.Music.Baby. came out, it really blew me away. It had this irreverent mix of sounds and melodies from so many different styles with really sharp production, and it effected how I listened to music after that.
Is Lazy Girl is an anthem for transgender girls?
I hope so! And if not an anthem then just a silly little moment of solidarity between me and the listener. I think humor can be really useful in finding common ground with somebody, so even if people find the song funny and relate to each other that way, then that's a cool thing..
What's your favorite song?
My favorite song changes a lot but my all time steadfast is "Love Will Never Do Without You" by Janet Jackson. It's so industrial and sweet at the same time and her voice is fucking perfect, it just always moves me.