The up and comer doesn't shy away from detailing the painful and tragic truth of late nights.
"Don't trust thoughts at 3 a.m. It's your life you spend," singer and songwriter Carolyn Marie alerts the listener. The sizzle and throwback '80s funk of her new single "Wanna Be Cool" misleads you into thinking you are witnessing a feel good anthem about being young and reckless. But when you dig deeper into the narrative, you find a much darker, harrowing story throbbing underneath. "I look right and I see a 35 sign. We are speeding. No where to go so she puts on a show. Air bags inflated. Judgement jaded," Marie whispers, as the images are ghostly mirages of fantasy which could become fact at break-neck speed. The song--which premieres exclusively today--speaks to the heedless decisions we often make in the wee hours of the morning. "[It] is a song I wrote about the need that we have to fit in, and how that need can sometimes cloud our judgment. I was very inspired by the music," Marie shares with Popdust about writing song, containing a heavy horn section and sweeping guitar licks.
"As soon as I got the instrumental I ran up into my room and wrote the entire song in an hour. This is probably the fastest song I wrote on the album. The moody track gave me so much inspiration," she continues. "I closed my eyes and envisioned driving late at night with my friend and getting into a car accident. I meditated on this for a while. All my life I've had many more bad experiences than good staying out past two or three AM. It's an anthem that reflects on all the dumb things we do just because we wanna fit in and be cool. Some that even jeopardize our life like drunk driving, drugs."
"I can hardly breathe. We hit again, thrown back into her seat," Marie later sculpts on the song's second verse. "She hears a click from the passenger's side. My eyes welling...Opens the door, shots of glass on the floor."
Originally from New Jersey, Marie released her debut EP Backstage Pass in 2015. Her otherworldly charm and wisdom is not only evident in her music, but in the way she conducts her life. When she was younger, she graduated from high school early and sought out life in the bright lights of New York City. "I'm not going to lie; high school wasn't really my thing. Neither was college, but I'm getting ahead of myself as usual. I do a lot of that. Anyway, I graduated early because I just could not wait to get out of high school," she says. "I didn't even walk at graduation. It wasn't the academics, because I'm actually kind of smart. I was a bit of a nerdy honor roll student who actually paid attention in class. I wasn't hung over like some... because I never got invited to those parties."
"Wanna Be Cool" samples Marie's forthcoming, yet-untitled, new project.
Take a listen below:
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Plus celebrities react to Nigerian protests.
Young people across Nigeria have been pouring into the streets for the last two weeks to protest police brutality, specifically the controversial special police force known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Tension came to a head on Tuesday when armed forces fired on protestors in Lagos, the biggest city in Nigeria, who were out past the state-mandated curfew. According to AP News, "Police also fired tear gas at one point, and smoke could be seen billowing from several areas in the city's center. Two private TV stations were forced off the air at least temporarily as their offices were burned."
Not all non-binary people prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
October 21, 2020 marks the third annual International Pronouns Day.
Created by an independent board and first observed in 2018, it's one of those small commemorative holidays that trends on Twitter in hopes of drawing attention to a pressing social issue, like International Women's Day (March 8th) or the ever so serious National Taco Day (October 4).
But Pronouns Day in particular "seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace." The organization's website further describes, "Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people's multiple, intersecting identities."
But in the words of nonbinary activist and Trevor Project's Head of Advocacy and Government Afairs, Sam Brenton, "Pronouns are hard." Never before have pronouns been scrutinized as closely as they are in 2019 for their power to (in)validate or accurately describe something as fluid as gender identity. In fact, it was only this year that the Merriam-Webster Dictionary expanded the definition of "they" "to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary" (thus codifying a long history in English language of using "they" to refer to a singular non-gendered entity).
‘Everyone has the responsibility to be respectful.’ — The @TrevorProject’s Sam Brinton is explaining why pronouns a… https://t.co/pMMO8KRvBR— NowThis (@NowThis)1571253180.0
But throwing an additional wrench in the works is the fact that not all non-binary people prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
Take me, for instance: Despite having female biology, I couldn't pass a lie detector test saying I'm a "woman." But my pragmatic, Puritan family is still endearingly confused by the idea of "liberal arts," let alone the notion of gender fluidity. And I'd rather share a communal language with them than do the emotional and mental labor of re-orienting their worldview for them. Plus, I have the privilege of passing as female without feeling too, too, terribly dysphoric (which non-binary people can definitely suffer from, despite not identifying as trans).
But enough about me, look at Queer Eye's beloved Jonathan Van Ness. While he's been outspoken about being genderqueer, gay, and HIV positive, he prefers he/him pronouns. "The older I get, the more I think that I'm nonbinary," Van Ness said. "I'm gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman." As he told Out magazine, he doesn't identify as a man, but he does prefer "he/him/his" pronouns. In his view, those pronouns don't detract from or contradict his non-binary identity, because gender is not about simple binaries between masculine and feminine identifiers. "Any opportunity I have to break down stereotypes of the binary, I am down for it, I'm here for it," he said. "I think that a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide. It's this social construct that I don't really feel like I fit into the way I used to."
On the other hand, last month non-binary singer Sam Smith announced that their preferred pronouns are "they/them." Smith posted to Instagram, "I've decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM ❤ after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I've decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out." People like Smith and Trevor Project's Sam Brenton simply feel more validated, seen, heard, and true to themselves with gender-neutral pronouns. Smith wrote, "I'm so excited and privileged to be surrounded by people that support me in this decision but I've been very nervous about announcing this because I care too much about what people think but f*ck it!"
Most importantly, as pretty much every non-binary person and activist is aware, changing cultural norms is hard. While LGBTQ+ activism is inspired and passionate and dedicated to expanding human rights to all gender identities, we all know that changing society's entire understanding of gender and pronoun usage is about slowly opening minds. As Smith wrote, "I understand there will be many mistakes and mis gendering but all I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me like I see myself now. Thank you." Happy Pronouns Day to you/him/her/they/(f)aer/zim.