Twenty-four-year-old Michelle Chamuel is the out frontwoman of Ann Arbor, Michigan-based band My Dear Disco. The band recently earned a spot on a stage at Lollapalooza, the largest music fest in the Midwest every year.
Michelle recently took time off of her busy life as a singer, songwriter, musician, and businesswoman to chat with AfterEllen about being out and queer in the music industry, staying true to herself and singing to Naomily.
AfterEllen: Congrats on your recent gig at Lollapalooza! What was the experience like performing at such a historic festival?
Michelle Chamuel: Lolla was awesome. This was definitely the biggest festival we’ve performed at. Playing the BMI stage felt pretty historic. Lady Gaga came on stage for the Semi Precious Weapons set right after us and referenced the BMI stage a lot. All the bands we saw there were amazing. It felt like we were participating in a part of live music history.
The crowd response was great – when we got on stage to soundcheck, people were shouting our names and sending us so much love. We were blown away and it got us even more pumped. We were so excited that we played our songs faster than usual, but people seemed to be right there with us. By the end of the set, we had a crowd of around 4000 people.
AE: Which other acts did you get a chance to see? Were there any particularly queer or memorable moments?
MC: We got to see a lot of music. Highlights include: Jamie Lidell, Arcade Fire, Erykah Badu, Mute Math, Lady Gaga, Neon Trees, Yeasayer, and Semi Precious Weapons. Lollapalooza is about a mile across, so trying to see all the bands you love takes up a lot of time. And then, there’s also press that takes up a good chunk of time.
Lady Gaga was great, she is great, and she gave it everything. I’m still learning about what it means to "give it all you got" on stage. Being the huge icon she is and putting on a gigantic show is an amazing gift that can also be a terrible burden. I have no idea how she does what she does.
Even though we didn’t go anywhere explicitly designed for a queer audience, there was plenty of love. The Gaga and Semi Precious Weapons shows had a lot of queer appreciation and celebration. Gaga dedicated "Boys Boys Boys" to her LGBTQ fans in Chicago. Celebrating music seems to bring all sorts of people together.