Interview with Michelle Chamuel

AE: In light of Chely Wright and Jennifer Knapp coming out as queer female musicians, do you think that musicians have a responsibility as public figures to be out and increase visibility? Do you feel any pressure to assert your queerness to help to whittle away at stereotypes and homophobia?
MC:
I think each person deals with visibility in a different way. Celebrity or not, I think it’s crucial to be honest about who you are. Not accepting who you are or giving others a chance to accept you is a really hard way to live. It doesn’t help you or the world. I tend to be a more reserved person in life, so the way I deal with visibility is by being pretty low key. Who I am will always be evolving, so how I deal with injustice and visibility will evolve as well.

AE: What is your advice to young, queer female musicians/artists who are trying to make music for a living? Is there anything particularly difficult about being out in the industry?
MC:
Yeah, it’s interesting. Certain people have been given a leg up, so young queer musicians may have harder access. You really need to know yourself, and you need to figure that out, and you need to not back down and apologize for yourself. People on the outskirts, minorities, are not encouraged to do so, so that’s hard. Respect yourself and your work.

It’s the same thing when you hang out with new people. I haven’t really faced anything other than, "Should I [say I'm gay] now or later?" I haven’t been in any situations where it seems to matter, but we’ve been invited to Pride festivals, which is cool.

AE: What are your future career plans? Are you working on a new album? Any thoughts of a solo career?
MC:
My Dear Disco is my main focus, but that doesn’t rule out other things. I hope to release some solo music by the end of 2010, but My Dear Disco is my company: I gotta wake up and go to work. Still, my solo stuff all sounds kind of stripped down ’cause it’s just one person. I play keys – I studied it when I was little – but I’m terrible at reading. I studied violin for six years and play a little guitar and drums and bass. That’s definitely something I’m looking to incorporate.

AE: Who was your first crush?
MC:
Hmm. I think that would be Velma from Scooby Doo. Just kidding. I did love that show so hard though. My first crush story is going to stay in the MC vault for now.

AE: Ugh, fine. That’s for another time in Ann Arbor. Anything else you’d like to share with AE readers?
MC:
My Dear Disco has a new single out called, "It Could Be," currently available on popmatters.com. It will be on iTunes and our website soon. Also, AfterEllen is awesome. Thanks for having me on here.

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