“Many of us would be lying if we said that we [weren’t] concerned that we weren’t going to be able to fit into a box to get a record, have a hit song, or whatever that is,” singer-songwriter Lily Rose says. “But for me, it’s all about kinda just serving the song.” Rose, who went viral last winter when she posted a clip of “Villain” on TikTok, speaks candidly about using she/her pronouns in her songwriting.
“A lot of times when it has to do with a rhyme or when it has to just do with the storytelling, like ‘Remind Me of You,’ we’re going to serve it,” she says in a new episode of Proud Radio with Hunter Kelly. “But then you have songs like ‘Villain’ that, if we, I think, across the board whether you’re straight, gay, anything, if you can avoid pronouns, it makes it just so universal that it kinda has the feelings of a hit… But I mean, if we serve the song, then you bet that I’m gonna be using she and her because it’s authentic, you know?”
Amythyst Kiah, known for both her solo work and as part of Our Native Daughters, took a moment to reflect upon the very personal story behind her song “Wild Turkey,” off her new record Fancy Drones (Fracture Me). “I transferred to a high school that was better, well integrated, and everybody was a weird—it was an art school, so everybody was a weirdo. I felt even more comfortable in my own skin in most instances,” she reflects, “but I had already still built up that anxiety, and on top of that, being introverted and spending a lot of time to myself, and being able to be around people in larger settings has always been something that I’ve had to deal with anxiety about.
“So I already had a lot of this mental stuff that I had to work through. So, then when that [her mother’s suicide] happened, it was just, like, ‘Well, if my own mom won’t stick around for me, then why would, why should I ever count on anybody else to stick around?'” she continues. “From that way, I further withdrew, and we don’t really know what all my mom was doing, because we were surprised about the fifth of ‘Wild Turkey’ in the car. It’s like, ‘Well, if a person drinks that, then they’ve been drinking.’ Nobody can just do that.”
Kiah’s father, now clean for 11 years, also severely struggled with substance abuse. “And that stemmed from when his dad died, and he had kind of been on again, off again, you know, using substances,” she shares. “And then at one point he just started… it started to go off the rails, and so, once my mom [died]… I mean, obviously none of us saw any of this coming. My dad is now, he’s dealing, struggling with his own substance abuse, and then also, having to still raise and take care of me, because there’s a lot of things at stake that we both had to eventually work through.
“He’s been my number one fan and supporter of my music — helping me get to shows and all that, and traveling with me, so I wouldn’t be alone in the beginning,” she adds. “I was still a naïve, scared kid. In my late 20’s, when I decided, ‘Okay, I’m gonna try to have personal relationships. I’m gonna want to start dating,’ I was just ready to do all those things, that I wasn’t really ready to do in my 20’s. And then all that anxiety came back again, and I started drinking because I’m like, ‘Well, if I drink, I’ll be more interesting, and I’ll open up more.'”
In the lengthy conversation, Kiah and Rose open up further about being queer in country music, family acceptance, and finding healing in their songwriting. Listen here.