It’s Friday, which means it’s time for another artist profile at GR!M. Here’s what Jelena (Frontwoman of Outright) has to say about her involvement within the music scene and why she does what she does:
“I got into music because it dragged me in, it slapped me across the face, it woke me up, opened my eyes, injected me with life and lifted me up to a world it inspired me to contribute to and change. It all started when I began singing my sister's favourite music in my sleep at the age of 3. I stole her records and mix tapes, then she took me to my first gig a few years later and it was like someone had lifted a veil off my entire world and given me a soundtrack with which to navigate it. All of a sudden, I found hundreds of people like me underneath it, sharing energy, creativity, laughter, community and ideas. Music gave me a way of understanding my life, a vehicle for expressing it and a place to celebrate it. I ended up working in the industry for over 10 years, started a band and a record label for fun, booked and photographed shows, contributed to zines, books, documentaries, radio, mentoring programs and community-based charity initiatives, and I'm now learning to play a new instrument!
Music also represented a microcosm of the challenges I would face in the wider community. By being an active member in this scene, I've been objectified and groped while performing on stage, I've had to work twice as hard to make things happen for half the credit and I often felt the pressure of having to negotiate how I was perceived to make sure I was understood and treated seriously as a woman in a heteronormative masculine space. Thankfully, it is through my community's DIY ethic, the example, support and visibility of women, queers and non-binary members, and the empowerment and catharsis of the music we make that helps me overcome these challenges. I am what I am and I love what I love because of bands like these:
G.L.O.S.S. - "G.L.O.S.S. (We're From The Future)"
Oathbreaker - "No Rest for the Weary"
Most Precious Blood - "Heroes and Conspiracies"
RVIVR - "LMD"
Infinite Void - "Creeping Symmetry"
and a bonus extra for my band's namesake:
Arms Reach - "Outright"