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Queer Visibility: Here I Am (Tegan and Sara Cover)

This cover of Here I Am by Tegan and Sara is something I’m very excited about and I want to share with you why that is.

How do I choose which songs to cover? While I want to focus more on my original music and release an EP soon, covers are still a big thing for me. And I’ve realised there are two reasons why I cover a song: It either is a completely different genre and I feel like I want to give it a different spin/perspective so I can contribute something to it or it is by my favourite artists and I can connect to it so deeply that I wish I would have written the song myself. This song is both.

Tegan and Sara have stuck with me throughout my own journey with music and they were one of the first bands I discovered on YouTube alongside Lauren O’Connell and Julia Nunes. While my fascination with them was solely focused on their music at that point, I didn’t know how much I would identify with them in regards to other aspects later in life. Spoiler alert: All of these talented artists happen to be queer. Yet, except for Tegan and Sara, none of them was publicly out. And neither was I.

When I read Tegan and Sara’s memoir High School, I was overwhelmed by how much I could relate to what they experienced in their teenage years. Not only the way they started their career without any theoretical training or background and just out of curiosity and the love for other bands (like Nirvana), but also the stories about how they figured out their sexuality. Reading their stories felt like reliving a coming out I never had when I was younger.

Art is always an echo. And that is how this piece of art inspired me to create another one.

I said that this song was both very meaningful and different to my genre. Tegan and Sara went through a lot of style changes throughout their career, every new album sounds different from the last one. I discovered them when they were more alternative/rock but fell in love with their acoustic stuff, especially their The Con album. Here I Am was on their very first tape (yes, an actual tape, really 90s) The Yellow Demo.

So you could say this is not a real genre switch, but for my version of this song, I decided to completely relinquish my acoustic guitar (except for some drumming sounds) and create some tapestry of sound with chords played on electric guitar and a plus pedal combined with electronic and organic beats to make a more spheric and laid back, yet suspenseful version (did I succeed? Let me know).

How does that relate to my interpretation of this song? Well, this is basically my musical translation of how I slowly but surely realised that I wasn’t straight. And even though I had no idea that Tegan and Sara were queer when I first discovered their music, (just like I had no idea that I was as well), and tbh didn’t care, maybe my subconscious led me to them and all of the other wonderful queer artists that are such a huge inspiration to me today.

Why is this such a big thing? Why am I even writing this?

I think it’s important to be vocal about LGBTQIA+ topics and to be open about your sexuality to create queer visibility in society and help people who might be struggling with their sexuality or gender to appreciate themselves.

And maybe, just like me, inspire them to create.

Anyways, I really hope you like my cover and video. Also huge thank you to Simon for playing bass on this. If you like it, please consider sharing it around, that would mean the world to me!

Stay safe and healthy.

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