G-7L1BQ01JC4 google-site-verification=FcHx71H1bjVosBa3N5PbNSP0lPlz9dKW5Fnb3zbHVBI Catch-Up with Ty McKinnie on In the Key of Q - Gay Music: In the Key of Q

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Published on:

22nd Feb 2022

Catch-Up with Ty McKinnie

Welcome to In the Key of Q the weekly podcast where I chat with inspiring Queer musicians from around the world as they share stories, inspirations and of course their music.

Just one week until the launch of Season 2 with QBoy!

But until then pull up a chair and listen in on TyMcKinnie and I talking gentrification, COVID and dating, not dating, dating, not dating, definitely not dating, but sort of dating... :-)

Additional Material

Ty mentions queer artists in this episode. Take a listen to their episodes - The IZM and FURILLOSTAR.

In the Key of Q is a weekly 30-40 minute podcast publishing every Tuesday. I’m your host Dan Hall, and in each episode, I chat candidly with a gay/bi musician about their life and music. 

Access exclusive interview content and support the production of this podcast by heading over to Petreon and making a small donation.

Enjoy the music of previous guests by listening to these playlists with tracks selected by the artists themselves.

Credits

  • The podcast can be reached on email and on social media at Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The podcast’s forever home can be found here.
  • Theme tune is by Paul Leonidou.
  • Press & PR by Paul Smith.
  • Many thanks to Kaj and Moray for their continued support.
  • In the Key of Q is presented and produced by Dan Hall and made at Pup Media. Dan has recently produced the landmark BBC film, "Freddie Mercury: The Final Act" (dir. James Rogan) and is the producer of the podcast series Been There Done That. For audio or video production inquiries Dan can be reached here or at Talent Manager.

Would you like to appear on the show? Or have an artist you'd like to recommend, please tell them to get in touch via email.

Transcript

Dan

Hello there it's Dan here.. It's February the 22nd. And just one week to go until the new series of In the Key of Q begins with a fantastic British rapped, QBoy.

But until then, maybe it's time to drop in on an old friend of the show.

This is In the Key of Q featuring musicians from around the world who inspire my queer identity. Everybody is welcomed to the conversation, whatever beautiful identity pleases you. Music helps us feel connected and know that we are not alone.

This program is made possible thanks to the financial support of listeners like you over at patreon.com/inthekeyofq. And remember to subscribe to the show wherever you listen to podcasts.

I'm Dan Hall. Tune in. And be heard.

And next I welcome back onto the show a guest who first premiered in March on our very, very first day of release. It is the gorgeous, gorgeous Ty McKinnie. Ty, hello!

Ty

Hello.

Dan

And I'll tell you what, ladies and gentlemen, he's still got a smile on his face.

Ty

Oh, thanks. You know, I try, you know, smile

Dan

Will COVID make him sad. No, it won't he will always have a smile.

Ty

I will always have my smile. That is true.

Dan

So, Ty, what have you been up to since I think we last spoke when I was making the black queer America specials last summer, but we haven't properly spoken about your music for a while. So what's been happening since last year?

Ty

Um, since last year I've been, uh, recording and writing. Um, in my studio setup, uh, at home, uh, which has been writing songs, demoing songs, figuring out what's the next thing. And actually you inspired this next project.

Dan

It's not called Loud English Asshole, is it?

Ty

No it's not, it's not when we're going to have to get you on an interlude or something. Um, but, uh, no. When you asked me a question in my interview about, would a 12 year old Tyree, like the music that I'm making now, and I was like, no, frankly, he'd switch the station! And I was like, huh.

Tyree Tyree would be kind of pissed off about the music I'm making, because Tyree was a pop, pop guy. Like he loved top 40. Like he loved Christina Aguilera. He loved Brittany. He loved, um, oh he, well, he still loves Beyonce. Um, but, uh,

Dan

So would he listen to any of your songs or would he be just like, wrong station!?

Ty

He would... That's a good question. What did he actually turn the shit off? He might actually just turn the shit off!.

So the writing this year has been unrelated to my inner child, um, and sort of healing that inner child and reconnecting with him and saying things that he really wanted to hear and say when he was younger. Uh, so it's been a lot about that. Like kind of like getting back to self recentering. So I'm excited to put these songs out. child on display and kind of satisfy him, um, in a way that he's like, I've always done that with my music as far as like, oh, my dream is to be an artist and I've done that, but I feel like this project is more so like a, you know, oh no, this is like one of those, oh, I'm making a dream come true kind of a thing. Um, and saying like, oh, I know this I'm going to sing about guys and stuff. And I'm like, I'm really like, oh, wow. I'm like no holds barred. Like I'm talking about sleeping with a guy I'm talking about falling in love, like, and love, love, and having those like, you know, round clock moments.

Like I wish I had, I wish I were still alive. I wish I was over here, but I'm not like those, you know, those kinds of like dramatic kind of moments, but you know, in a black queer lens and I'm like, wow, like I'm actually humanizing my existence in a normal way. It's a weird way to explain it, but it just feels like, oh wow, like I'm actually reconnecting and talking to my inner child. And so kind of thank you for that because you inspired that you inspired the whole writing process for this next one.

Dan

And if I'm not mistaken, Ty, you have a photograph don't you. If the young Tyree in your studio is that that's to inspire you, isn't it?

Ty

And do good by him to do good by him. Yes. It was always to remind myself like this, you have, you, you do this for him. You do this for him because you didn't see anybody like yourself, singing the songs that you wanted to sing about and seeing the top sing about the topics that you wanted to, you know, hear. So you do it for you. So that's, that's, what's been going on in this last year.

Dan

And what's it been like for you reaching out to him, have you had any surprises?

Ty

Um, It was a surprise more so is that I forgot how feisty, like sassy that I was. Yeah. Like people tell me that in like interchangeable, like conversations that I've heard, like, oh, he's pretty sassy. I was like, I'm not sassy. And then like when I get on stage and like, I get, you know, more comfortable with like myself and I'm very inviting and like this, this sort of personality comes out where I'm just like very, you know, showboaty, I'm very like, you know, let's say like, you know, it's very, um, energetic and it's very, he's very, uh, Fiery.

And a lot of that, um, is in a couple songs that I wrote and I was like, oh, this is, Hmm. Okay. You had a little attitude.

Dan

That's amazing. So were you not expecting to find a slightly shy kind of closeted, wouldn't say boots boo to a goose little boy who was sort of terrified of the world and actually what you found was a little bit more as you said fiery.

Ty

Yeah. More self-assured than, and I remember when I was a kid, I was very much self-assured. I knew what I wanted. I knew who I was. I knew what I could do. Like no one could tell me anything. Um, and so reconnecting with that energy has been, uh, fun scary because now embodying that energy and as adult and, you know, being more cognizant of the world is kind of like, are you really like, are comfortable being yourself? Like all of you in this world? And the answer is yes, but it's still kind of like a relearning process of not filtering, uh, that self and not caging him up anymore. Just letting him be free.

Dan

Now we've had COVID the entire time that we've known each other and over it is still floating around. How's that been for musicians such as yourself?

Ty

It's been touch and go. Um, one minute there is, oh, everyone's doing a show and the next minute we have an outbreak and everything's canceled and everything is getting shut down and it's scary. And it was like, get a booster shot. And I'm like, oh my God, why do we have to get a booster shot? I I'm boosted by the way, but just the whole.

Dan

Just so Spotify doesn't pull your stuff!

Ty

Yeah. Oh my gosh, that stuff. Oh, wow. That, that has been kind of extreme to even just witness.

But yeah, it's just, it's just been kind of like touch and go like one minute, where everything's you feel like it's kind of getting back to a sense of normalcy and then the next minute it's like, nope we're still in this. So, you know my P's and Q's and just take it a day at a time truly.

Dan

And do we have any glimpses on the horizon of a Ty McKinnie tour to the UK is so we can hear you live here in London?

Ty

I'm doing my best. I literally was talking to the The IZM a couple of weeks ago.

Dan

You don't want to talk to that tramp! He's nothing but bad news, that boy!

Ty

I love him. I love him that is my band mate, I love him to pieces and we were talking about, you know, we just need a book, a one way flight and just come to London and never come back!

Dan

Absolutely! Come and stay in my house!

Ty

I am trying. I am trying, once I get my finances in order, I will be on your couch. Like make no mistake. I am. I have my password ready to go. I'm ready to go.

Dan

And speaking of Key of Q guests I saw on TikTok that you did something with FURILLOSTAR!

Ty

Yeah. Yeah. That was a fun thing. Um, I love FURILLOSTAR's music. Uh, I hope to collab with them one day and I love his new single DWNLD. It's so good. It's so sexy. It makes you just want to like, you know, grind a little bit. And he did this like open verse challenge on TikTok, which is like all the rage right now. And I was like, you know, this, this is a nice like song writing exercise. Cause I've done one. Excuse me. I've done one for other TikTokers and whatnot, but I was like, okay, well this is somebody I know. So like, let me just, you know, see what I can do, like tap into my sexy side a little bit. Cause I'm a little nervous that like when I'm actually sexual, like, cause it's such a uh, private thing. So to put like, something like that on display, it's kind of like, oh my God.

But I'm like, no, this is normal. You're an adult. You can talk about sex. It's okay. Like if mom watches, sorry, mom, but your son has sex and he's been having sex.

Dan

As indeed one presumes at some point, did she!

Ty

Yes, because how would I be here? Uh I'm I'm definitely old enough to talk about this now. So I was like, okay, let me talk, let me try to get into his vibe, FURILLOSTAR's vibe.. And, um, he, he really liked it. I was very surprised and pleased to hear, cause I'm like, oh my God. Like, I don't really sing about like sex, sex like that. So this is like unnerving for me. But, uh, it was a well received by not only him, but, um, my peers and stuff on social media. So it was like, Nice. Okay. I'm gonna talk about this more. Or sing about it more.

Dan

So we're going to stop to see a saucier Ty McKinnie. It's not just, it's not just Ty's cute chill, let's have ice cream and do snuggles. Now it's like, we'll do that, but could you also take your pants off?

Ty

I will be more, I would say a little sauce. There's one song in particular where I have I'm very still Ty McKinnie, like tongue in cheek. But if you pick up certain lines, you'll be like, oh, it's very much like for queer folk, like, you're like, oh, I see what you did there, you know, double entendres and stuff. So yeah, this one song in particularly that I know you're finally going to be like, oh, okay.

Dan

Oh, what's funny is usually that line, whenever you get it in queer music is the realization, oh, his versatile.

Ty

Pretty much, pretty much. Yeah! You heard it here first. Y'all exclusive.

There's a song that I'm talking about. It should be the lead single for this next project, but I have to like get the finances in order to get it properly produced. But it's called Sleeping with a Friend and it's about a long time friend of mine from school that I've known for like 12 years. And we never looked at each other that way. We thought we each other as attractive, but never like crossed the line of that, because we just, we were strictly platonic. But in the more recent years, I guess, because of loneliness and isolation, we've like he made the first move as far as like letting me know that he thought I was, you know, sexually attractive.

And I was like, I mean, I know about your ex-boyfriends and they all have been crazy. So I guess I'm curious. And then one thing led to another, we started sleeping with each other and now it's a thing.

Dan

It's a thing?

Ty

It's a thing. It's a thing. Um, yeah, it's a thing. It's not a dating thing, but it's, it's been a thing for a minute. Uh, and on and off thing, it looks like, what, what is this? I talk about that in the song. Like, what is this.

Dan

Ty, are you blushing?!

Ty

I am because I when you listen to the song. I truly did not expect this to happen, like from this person. So the fact that it happened and the fact I would still like trying to wrap my head around like, well, what is this?

Like, I just talked to him the other the other night and it was like, this is weird. It's a weird friendship. Now it's an intimate friendship, as we both sort of like claimed it. Like it's an intimate friendship. We're not dating. We're not trying to be boyfriends. Um, because I don't know if we could survive that, but you know, there's something there and we knowledge it. So we're just, we're allowing ourselves to experience it.

Dan

And how does he feel about you writing a song about this and releasing it to the world?

Ty

He does not know! He does not know. I don't know if I'm going to tell him that the song's about him because, ah, he's not the only friend that I've actually had sex with, but as far as like these feelings and this whole, like what is going on? Like he is the one that I would say he like, that's this sort of emotional territories they're like born with.

So he'll know it's about him because there'll be certain things that he'll, he'll, he'll pick apart. Um, but I made it very like, you know, descriptive where like, people won't be like, oh, so you're talking about that. Like, no, no, you don't know who this is about. ]

Dan

So it's not like the chorus is going "Well... RICHARD! RICHARD! RICHARD!"

Ty

No, there is no, no, no. Taylor Swifting thing here. No, there is no name calling no, no. I thought about it because I'm like his name would be interesting to put as a song title, but I was like, eh, nah, nah, nah.

Dan

His name isn't Dick, is it?

Ty

No, no, it would be so perfect if it was so perfect.

Dan

And you could just call you song, I Love Dick.

Ty

I Love Dick. Yeah. That'd be a great song.

n Harlem, I wrote that around:

Dan

Oh for goodness sake!

Ty

Yeah. And it got pushed back with like a lot of like, uh, bad press in, um, uh, you know, you know, locals and the neighborhood and everything. And I was like, you know, I'm just merely adopted the city only being there for like a year.. I was like, no, you are not renaming this historical neighborhood as that like, what the hell?

So that inspired me to write that song. Um, but I still felt uncomfortable kind of like putting it out because. And we were at a very sort of racially charged and we're always in a racially charged time, but within the past four or five years, it was very much like, ah, like everything was on edge.

And I was very hesitant to sort of embrace my blackness because I wasn't raised with the notion that I needed to do that. It was more so you're black, but as I became more of an adult, I was like, no, I am proud to be black. And I, it should be okay to be black. I shouldn't be living in fear to express my blackness and express my, you know, black pride and queer pride because the neighborhood of Harlem has both of those.

They both those identities in that intersection, like it has that in its history. Um, and so in the song, I shout out, you know, Langston Hughes, cause I, I visited Langston Hughes's brownstone which is on the, uh, the cover art. That's his apartment..

t there for the first time in:

Uh, and yeah, so that I was like, no, we're putting this out. I I'm just going to put it out. And, and I don't know. I don't care about any sort of negative views on it. Um, I need to do this for myself, uh, instead of withholding myself back and silencing myself, I'm allowed to express, um, my pride and to call-out, you know, racism gentrification. I have the right to do that. It affects me every day. So put it in the music.

Dan

Absolutely. And not to be apologetic about it.

Ty

Yeah. And not to be apologetic about it. So, yeah, that was a sort of a shift in the artistic direction, but also in like the mental, spiritual, um, progression as well because I say these things in my mind, but I never like truly vocalized them in my art. And so to do that now, it's like, wow. Okay. That's how I feel that felt good, I want to do that some more. So yeah.

Dan

Ty, thank you very much for coming back on In the Key of Q and updating us on your gorgeous artistry.

Ty

Thank you for having me!

Dan

Thanks for listening to this episode, you can support In the Key of Q via Patreon. The link is in the shownotes.

Theme music is by Paul Leonidou at unstoppablemonsters.com. With press and PR by Paul Smith.

Help others discover new queer musicians by rating and reviewing In the Key of Q, wherever you find podcasts.

Thanks to Kaj and Moray for their continued support and to you for subscribing.

The show was made at Pup Media. I'm Dan Hall. Go listen to some music and I'll see you next Quesday!

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About the Podcast

Gay Music: In the Key of Q
Queer chat. Queer music.
Music-loving gay podcast. The best bi and gay music from around the world featuring insightful and inspiring conversations with Queer musicians.

Episodes drop weekly and are 30-40 minutes in length, celebrating LGBTQ identity, tunes and stories.

Presented by Dan Hall (producer, BBC’s Freddie Mercury: The Final Act) and produced by Pup Media.
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