Lucy & La Mer’s Lucy, On Being A Bi Artist and a Rebel Babe

9/20/2018

Photo by Myke Wilken

Singer and songwriter Lucy LaForge originally intended her delightfully queer single ‘Rebel Babe‘ to be a pop message of empowerment, the video was her gentle and unofficial outing. The introverted musician surprised herself this May when she came out on the eve of the video’s release—in Billboard magazine. I spoke with the frontperson of Lucy & La Mer about knocking down binaries, directing the video for ‘Rebel Babe,’ and what life’s been like since she took the leap and came out as bi.

SB Swartz: How did you come to identify as bisexual?

Lucy LaForge: Someone asked me if I was bisexual, and I said yes. I heard myself and I was like, where did that come from? On some unconscious level, everything clicked, all the awkward moments growing up and excuses for things, like “girl crushes.” It’s like, “Oh no, this is a legit sexuality.” And I think especially for women we do, “I’m attracted to men so I must be straight.” There’s all this binary thinking in society. So once you realize, “Oh, I can be anywhere on the spectrum of sexuality,” it’s pretty crazy. It just took someone asking for me to say it out loud, for the light bulb.

Photo by Ben Abkaryan

So you had the light bulb and then you were out with your close friends for a little while—how long from light bulb to Billboard magazine?

Five years. It wasn’t even until the Billboard magazine interview that I came out to the rest of my family. I only told my parents about a year ago. I was seeing someone for quite some time and just felt like, okay, I can’t hide this forever. But I was still really quiet about it and then came out and it was scary, but it was really nice.

I’m glad to hear that you had such a positive experience with that. How did coming out in Billboard come about?

That came about the day before the song [Rebel Babe] was dropped, I get an email that says I will be receiving a call from Billboard for the premiere. And it was going to be an interview. I wrote the video and directed it. It’s all about not accepting the binary way, the masculine/feminine straight/gay butch/femme, and just recognizing all the awesome things in between. And it does have me with a girlfriend in this bisexual setting. But I hadn’t planned on making any kind of statement or talking about coming out because I still was not comfortable speaking about it. It was easy to make the video, my plan was to drop it ever so lightly and be like, “Here, enjoy!” I mean if you’ve seen it, it’s like Super Gay. I love it.

Yea there’s roller skating and holding hands!

It’s the most honest and direct I’ve been in a video, which is really wonderful, so that felt really good. I was focused on the song and it’s an empowering female song anyways, so [Billboard] called and I just didn’t censor myself. It was scary, I was really nervous. But it was good. And this whole community just comes forth when you put yourself out there like that, too.

What has the response been like?

Positive overall. Being on social media, you’re always going to get negative people and negative feedback. But overall there were so many people that were just like “good for you.” Especially people in my community in Los Angeles, who know me and know my dating history. For them to just be like, yes, finally, your art gets to match your real life; it was a really, really cool thing to recognize.

How has it been being out as a queer artist and as a bi artist?

As a bi artist, unfortunately everyone thinks being bi or queer is a trend. And you hear that from music blogs, you hear that from managers, publicists. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t come out as bi, as well. That doesn’t feel good, to have that exploited. Especially as a bisexual [person], when your sexuality is already being exploited. The second you come out, you’re more likely to be sexually harassed. A lot of acquaintances don’t understand bisexuality, tend to be judgy about it at first, at least in my experience. Hopefully not for everyone’s experience, but I know a lot of people who have felt the same way.

It’s just mis-seen. It’s not quite understood. So in the industry, on one hand they think it’s really cool and edgy to be bi. But they also don’t actually believe in bisexuality to the full extent that it is who you are as a person, it’s its own sexuality. I think it’s more seen as a phase. Which is unfortunate even with so many new movements coming out, and all these awesome supportive bi groups.

In the behind the scenes video for ‘Rebel Babe,’ the video producer was talking about you after you were bit by a dog and kept filming. And they were like, “She’s soft spoken but don’t fuck with her.” How do you see yourself?

I think I would identify as soft spoken. I don’t project or talk over anyone. I’ve always been more of an introvert, but I’m very friendly. I still definitely have conversations with everyone I meet. Lately, I’ve really realized I really want my opinion out there. I don’t necessarily want to keep it in anymore. In the past I’ve always been, “I know who I am, so why do I need to tell everyone?” And then especially with coming out, it’s like, oh no, people don’t pick up on these kinds of subtleties. People don’t know what you’re thinking unless you tell them. So it’s been kind of a change to speak up more, but it’s been really nice, especially in the LGBT community, to find like-minded people, start creating more things and more events.

Is there anything that you would like people to know about you or your music that maybe isn’t a part of your public persona?

Songwriting has always been a very wonderful place for me to escape. And I’ve spoken to fans about all the anxiety and all the depression that comes and goes with a lot of people, myself included. I think some people think, oh, she’s super happy all the time and then she writes these really happy pop songs. So I try and say this as much as I can: everybody’s going through something and you’re not alone. Know that I’ve been there too and it gets better.

Lucy & La Mer’s latest release is an ode to online dating—Got That Thing is currently featured on a worldwide Dove campaign. This interview has been condensed and edited.

SB Swartz
SB Swartz is an author covering inclusive wellness, queer family, and reflections of our world as seen on tv. As a contributing writer for bi.org, SB created the Step Bi Step series for bi parents and originated the This Bi Life series showcasing bi community stories.

SB would very much like to talk to you about your pets, her pets, and the way you view the world. She's her favorite somebody's mama. And yes, she's #StillBisexual.

Find SB Swartz @sbswrites on Twitter and read more of her latest @sbswartz on Medium.