Shea Diamond Looks Back On Her Debut EP and Performing With Cyndi Lauper: &#zero39;I&#zero39;m Still In Awe and Disbelief&#zero39;

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She tells Billboard about her private highlights from 2018

As 2018 winds down, Billboard is asking a few of the artists who helped outline the 12 months in music to look again on their accomplishments, favourite reminiscences and pop-culture obsessions from the previous 12 months. Check out different interviews with St. Vincent, Anne-Marie, Kali Uchis, Dan + Shay, Swae Lee, Lauv, Old Dominion, Mitski, Sofi Tukker, Jason Isbell and Saweetie.

Shea Diamond's music profession is simply getting began, however the singer has already discovered herself in rooms with some crucial folks in 2018: After releasing her soul-baring debut EP, Seen It All, which was executive-produced by hitmaker Justin Tranter, she carried out for former vp Joe Biden, amongst others, at a Human Rights Campaign occasion; later within the 12 months, she joined Cyndi Lauper on stage for the pop icon’s annual Home for the Holidays live performance, which raises cash to assist finish homelessness for LGBTQ youth.

As a black trans lady -- one who served a decade in males’s correctional amenities -- Diamond understands the importance of those gigs, and she or he hopes they transfer the needle for trans rights: “It's not too usually the place we're in these rooms with influencers reminiscent of politicians and A-list celebrities. In these alternatives, I take into consideration not solely my music however [also] about how we are able to move this message alongside. I feel what's been the issue for thus lengthy is that we've simply achieved every thing for the digicam. Nobody talks about what's taking place behind the digicam.”

Below, she tells Billboard about performing with Lauper (a childhood hero of hers), listening to one in all her songs in an Uber for the primary time and the way musicians can higher assist trans artists.

Your debut EP, Seen It All, got here out this 12 months. What was probably the most surreal second of that rollout?

The weirdest factor: I used to be in an Uber, and the motive force was taking part in my tune “American Pie.” It actually threw me off. I used to be like, "Wait a minute, my cellphone's not charging, so it's not my cellphone taking part in the music" -- that's occurred earlier than. But it was actually taking part in. I didn't say something to the motive force about it. I didn't wish to be like, "Oh that's me!"

What are you most happy with engaging in in 2018?

My efficiency with the Human Rights Campaign's [National Dinner]. As a trans lady, I used to be afraid of being erased due to Trump and his newest rants. Just realizing that we've got a corporation like HRC that's nonetheless there delivering the message -- that was my largest accomplishment. It simply actually inspiring and hopeful.

You sang “American Pie,” and Joe Biden was within the viewers. I noticed a photograph of you two speaking after your efficiency. What did that imply to you?

To me, it's undoubtedly a stride ahead. It's not the standard assembly I want to have. It's not the standard setup I'd wish to have, entertaining [a politician]. I want to have a really intentional dialog, a really wanted dialog.

What's the very best efficiency you noticed this 12 months?

I'd say it was performing with Cyndi Lauper! ​And not solely that, however to really meet her as a tremendous individual and wonderful activist. To not solely simply take a photograph, however to really use that second to unfold an essential message: Trans girls are stunning from a cis perspective. That was probably the most magical second -- I used to be simply so happy with Cyndi in that second for being prepared to do this. I'm a no person, you recognize what I imply?

You're hardly a no person! You sang "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" with Cyndi. Do you could have any reminiscences of that tune rising up?

It was the identical tune I sang after I was a little bit male-bodied little one. That was the tune that impressed me and gave me hope. It gave me imaginative and prescient, gave me course. I simply bear in mind being younger and utilizing my creativeness and connecting with my femininity exterior of what was being yelled or compelled down my throat. That was liberating. I related with each lyric, and I nonetheless can.

You can by no means really feel worthy within the second. You by no means really feel worthy since you're singing with the creator, the one, the signature, the one that made the tune nice. You're really performing with this individual -- I'm nonetheless in awe and disbelief.

Who is a musician that you simply'd most like to ask to a vacation dinner with your loved ones?

Oh, that's powerful. I feel it might be Janelle Monáe. She's going to be on the dinner, honey, and hopefully I'm cooking. So she may be like, "Oh, that woman can prepare dinner!" And we'll be cool. 

Her messaging and intentionality, her confidence and self-expression with popping out -- I feel it speaks loudly to girls who could also be doubting components of themselves. To have a black lady or black man who can stand and be happy with themselves, realizing how harsh our group is, realizing that you simply lose your black card -- she's so courageous and so selfless to share that story with everyone. I consider her messaging to be true, and I consider her to be who she presents herself to be. And that's a rarity.

Is there a musical pattern that you simply'd wish to see go away in 2019?

Yes. Everything sounds alike. Every artist that I'm listening to is emulating -- very strongly -- someone else. I really feel like one in all these little boppers comes out with a success, and everyone emulates it. It's handed down from era to era, and it by no means goes away.

Another factor: If these activists in Hollywood who declare to be "trans supporters" or "LGBT-friendly" can really attain out to a bitch and say, "Hey, let's do a tune” as a substitute of utilizing our narrative for consideration, [I'd like that]. If we are able to management our personal narrative, that might be wonderful. Why don't they work with us and beginning placing cash in our pockets?