Photos Courtesy of Artists
TRANScendent Sounds Returns In June For LGBTQIA+ Pride Month 2022 Featuring Performances From Mila Jam, Lucia Lucas, And Ryan Cassata & Hello Noon
An online music festival putting the spotlight on a diverse roster of transgender music artists, the third annual TRANScendent Sounds returns as a three-week performance showcase featuring exclusive performances.
TRANScendent Sounds is returning to once again celebrate transgender artists and their contributions to music and culture.
Launching Wednesday, June 15, at 10am PT / 1pm ET and airing on GRAMMY.com as well as on the Recording Academy's YouTube channel, Facebook page and Instagram page, TRANScendent Sounds 2022 will feature a thrilling array of exclusive performances by Mila Jam, Lucia Lucas, and Ryan Cassata and Hello Noon.
Presented and produced by GRAMMY.com, TRANScendent Sounds is meant to serve as a celebration while also bringing awareness to the ever-present social hurdles of the global transgender community. On top of that, it aims to highlight the disproportionate levels of violence that specifically harm Black trans women and transgender women of color.
For the 2022 edition, which marks the third annual installment of this initiative, TRANScendent Sounds is expanding from a one-day online festival to a multi-day online showcase featuring exclusive performances across three weeks during this year’s LGBTQIA+ Pride Month celebrations.
The TRANScendent Sounds 2022 schedule is as follows; all performances go live online at 10am PT / 1pm ET:
Wednesday, June 15: Mila Jam
Wednesday, June 22: Lucia Lucas
Wednesday, June 29: Ryan Cassata and Hello Noon
Premiered in July 2020, TRANScendent Sounds has featured performances and appearances by GRAMMY winner Billy Porter, Emmy-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actress and singer MJ Rodriguez (FX's "Pose"), Angelica Ross, Nomi Ruiz, Bob the Drag Queen, Monét X Change, and many others.
Tune in to TRANScendent Sounds 2022 to learn more about and support an important cause and to celebrate the artistry of transgender people worldwide.
Photo by Maddy Talias
TRANScendent Sounds Fest To Feature MJ Rodriguez, Abigail Pereira, Ryan Cassata & More
The online music festival is set to stream on Saturday, July 25 at 3P ET / 12P PT via YouTube
TRANScendent Sounds Fest, a new online music festival that is putting the spotlight on a diverse roster of Transgender music artists, is set to stream on Saturday, July 25 at 3P ET / 12P PT via YouTube.
While the event is meant to serve as a celebration of the talented performer lineup, it will also meant to bring awareness to the ever present social hurdles of the community at large and the disproportionate levels of violence that specifically harm Black Trans women.
Watch the inaugural TRANScendent Sounds Fest in full as well as the individual performances below.
The fest will also feature special appearances from the following:
Bob the Drag Queen – Singer | Activist and Winner of "RuPaul’s Drag Race" (Season 8)
Monét X Change – Singer and Drag Queen
MJ Rodriguez – Actress/Singer and star of FX’s "Pose"
DJ Lina Bradford
Gizzle – Rapper | Songwriter
Neverending Nina – Singer
Raquel Willis – Writer | Activist | Director of Communications – Ms. Foundation
Devin-Norelle – Writer | Advocate | Model
TS Madison – Entertainer
Jason Carter – TV Personality
Alina Vission – Producer, Recording Academy
Justin Dwayne Joseph – Editor in Chief, GRAMMY.com
“It’s an honor for me to help elevate and amplify the voices of the Trans community with this music fest," said fest producer Alina Vission. "We have such a talented and diverse group artists from every genre and I’m excited not only to showcase their talent, but also to raise awareness for the struggles the community faces."
"I created this festival as a much needed platform for Transgender musicians and artists to feel seen, to feel heard, and feel celebrated," said GRAMMY.com Editor-in-Chief Justin Dwayne Joseph. "I have personally grown to understand how Trans women and men feel neglected by the world at large and even by those within the LGBTQIA community. As Editor-in-Chief of GRAMMY.com, it was important for me to find a way to shift that narrative through music—which throughout history has always been a bridge. I am hoping that this festival will move people in the music community and beyond to learn, respect, support and champion Trans artists.”
Photo: Asher Phoenix
TRANScendent Sounds: Ryan Cassata & Hello Noon Perform "Hold On, You Belong (People Like Us)" And Send A Powerful Message To Trans Youth
With "Hold On, You Belong (People Like Us)," Ryan Cassata and Hello Noon share support to young trans people who are struggling to find acceptance.
Earlier this year, indie rocker Ryan Cassata teamed up with alt-folk group Hello Noon to deliver an important message for young trans people: hold on, you belong.
In the final episode of TRANScendent Sounds — GRAMMY.com's three-part series celebrating trans artists while also putting a spotlight on the continuing social roadblocks faced by the trans community — watch an intimate rendition of their collaboration "Hold On, You Belong (People Like Us)," performed in front of a live audience.
The song's lyrics extend a hand to trans youth who are facing a lack of support from their loved ones, families or communities. Cassata brings his own journey to the forefront, as a message to those who may be earlier on in the process of coming out or transitioning.
"Hold on, hold on, you belong, you belong/ I once was scared like you," he sings, backed by soaring strings. "And I held on so tightly, I told them off politely/ And the going, it gets easier the longer you push through."
That message is front and center in this performance, which fits in to both Cassata and Hello Noon's artistic identities. In addition to his career as an artist, Cassata is an activist, filmmaker and public speaker, and he visits high schools and universities to discuss gender dysphoria, bullying and his own personal story.
Meanwhile, Hello Noon — whose Facebook bio explains their mission statement of combatting negativity and furthering social change — frequently works in the fields of mental health, sexual identity and more. They regularly volunteer at homeless shelters and perform at correctional facilities, and have worked with organizations like the SoCal Special Olympics, the Best Buddies Foundation and Mattel Children's Hospital.
Press play above to watch the full performance of "Hold On, You Belong (People Like Us)," and check out more TRANScendent Sounds performances — including 2022 performers Lucia Lucas and Mila Jam — on GRAMMY.com.
Photo: Josh New
TRANScendent Sounds: Opera Star Lucia Lucas Spotlights Her Shimmering Baritone In A Pride Month Performance Of "Demeter"
In this episode of TRANScendent Sounds, opera singer Lucia Lucas performs "Demeter" — from the Tom W. Green opera 'The World's Wife' — a cappella, creating a world of sound with just her voice.
Openly transgender opera performers are scarce, and in a recent conversation with The Georgia Voice, Germany-based baritone Lucia Lucas admitted that she was initially nervous about how coming out would affect her career. But soon, she realized that not only was she helping to carve out a space for other trans artists to enter the world of opera, but she was presenting herself as a voice and identity that is largely underrepresented in the canon.
"There were some trans instrumentalists. I knew when I came out, if people had problems with people in the pits or behind the scenes, someone on the stage would be even more of a thing," Lucas recounted. "By coming out, I was ready to give up my career. But I said, 'I am going to fight for this — I am not going to roll over.'"
One of the first opera stars to come out as trans, Lucas soon embraced her identity as a part of her roles, playing the lead character, Hannah in the trans-focused production As One and and performing songs from operas that focus on uplifting society's minorities and enacting change.
In this episode of TRANScendent Sounds — GRAMMY.com's virtual series celebrating trans artists, while also bringing awareness to the ongoing social roadblocks faced by the trans community — Lucas performs "Demeter," a selection from The World's Wife, an opera by Tom W. Green.
The World's Wife borrows text from the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy, which tells the stories of forgotten women throughout history. According to classical music review site Planet Hugill, the composer — who has a background in electronic music and jazz — introduced loop pedals as a riff on the theme of amplifying the voices of unheard women.
In her performance of "Demeter," Lucas uses these loop pedals in order to amplify her powerful, crystalline baritone, and also to make it self-sufficient. With the use of the pedals, Lucas' voice serves as melody and accompaniment simultaneously, creating a layered world of sound through her vocals alone, with mesmerizing results.
Press play on the video above to get lost in Lucas' shimmering performance, and check back to GRAMMY.com next Wednesday, June 29 for another installment of TRANScendent Sounds.
Photo: Steven Simione
TRANScendent Sounds: Mila Jam Embraces The Historic Gravity Of Stonewall, And Finds Joy With A Bubbly "Eye On You" Performance
To kick off the 2022 installment of TRANScendent Sounds, Mila Jam celebrates LGBTQIA+ Pride Month with a bubbly, '80s-inspired performance of "Eye on You," and delivers a powerful speech at Stonewall.
This month marks the return of GRAMMY.com's annual TRANScendent Sounds performance series, a virtual showcase that celebrates artists while also bringing awareness to the ongoing social roadblocks faced by the global transgender community.
In particular, the series aims to highlight the violence that disproportionately affects Black trans women and trans women of color. With that in mind, there's no better place to start than with Mila Jam's powerful, reverent speech at Stonewall from June 1, 2020.
Jam, an Illinois-born singer/songwriter who rose to fame as a YouTube star and has continued to make a name for herself as a pop singer-songwriter, often braids her passions for music and activism. In 2019, she participated in the #StopKillingUs campaign, posing on a subway train in New York City.
Her June 2020 speech also takes place in NYC at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, venue and national historic landmark that stands on the site of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. In the clip, Jam leads a back-and-forth with an attentive crowd. "Remember this moment because we are loved. Because we shine bright and we belong here," Jam tells the crowd, emotion on her face, as the onlookers chant each phrase back to her.
Afterwards, Jam reflected on the event, which honored the trans and queer people who have lost their lives to police violence. "It was a historic moment. It was a moment of unity and community I will never forget," she said. "As we continue to fight for Black lives, trans lives and queer people of color everywhere, let us not forget that this is a marathon, not a sprint."
Even as she underscores the gravity of the moment, Jam makes sure to leave room for joy. She ends her video with a performance of her synth-soaked "Eye on You," a giddy, flirtatious ode to the euphoria of love.
After she put out the music video for the song in 2019, Jam told Billboard that her inspiration for the visual was the "untouchable, influential" image of Beyoncé and Jay-Z posing at the Louvre for their music video, "Apeshit." "The relationship onscreen is all about beauty and support, exactly what every trans woman deserves, what everyone in the community deserves," she explained. "I think it gives people hope."