‘You are enough’, says the interpreter Kimmortal
Artist and rapper Kimmortal rose to fierce and sudden fame earlier this year, when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez posted a TikTok video lip-syncing to their song, “Sad Femme Club.”
Cortez did so in response to confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson. The song’s chorus expresses the degrading and often public double standard of emotional expression still so prevalent in mainstream society today.
Kimmortal is a queer, non-binary Filipino artist and rapper who uses the pronouns they/them, and is known for his powerful stage presence and multifaceted approach to music.
They paved the way to loving justice and getting groovy to the sounds of dissent with this hit, giving voice to the many non-binary, queer, LGBTQIA, and women people who are currently dealing with outdated social norms.
Kimmortal described the experience as follows: “I went to see her IG story (AOC) and she was laughing and singing like she knew the actual lyrics! I sang this song so many times, but she sang it as much as I I would! That was so cool. I was like “wow” – because I followed AOC – she’s such a badass – and I forget she’s younger than me, but she represents the landscape current American public and politics, and is one of the few women of color who is so outspoken. My publicist messaged me and said “I hope you’re sleeping tonight, there’s going to be a few share on this one.”
But that was an understatement.
“It just exploded! For much of my community, this felt like a huge win. The fact that ‘Sad Femme Club’ was an anthem for AOC seeing a congressional candidate dealing with such disrespect in Congress – and that it gave him strength – was so powerful. And that really fit the reason why I wrote this song. I wrote SFC while watching a friend of mine deal with similar dynamics in a university setting while trying to graduate and navigate art school bureaucracy.
“It was a moment, that moment when I realized that my art moves and does its own thing – that as an artist you put your work out into the world and it pushes its hands and feet and walks. You don’t know where it’s going, it just reaches people, crosses borders, and it’s tight. It’s really supported me too.
Kimmortal is based in Vancouver, but since AOC’s post in early March 2022, most fans are now based in the United States.
“I don’t even have that many fans in so-called Canada anymore!” They’re all in California and Chicago, and just in the United States.
Kimmortal will release a new album in November and are planning a tour in the coming months.
“I’m just really excited for my music to land with radical people. It’s who I was nurtured by, who I am and who I want to achieve.
“The challenges that present themselves today through the global movements of political liberation are accompanied by the expression of deeply held truths – and, often, go hand in hand with deeply felt emotions. But leaving room for the reality of the anger, sadness, confusion and frustration is a necessary part of healing and transformation, both collective and personal.
“I’m most empowered when I remember, when I’m part of this collective liberation as a musician and performer – when I remember that this music comes from reconnecting with my ancestors, and how my ancestors speak in my music, and the process of embodying in my art and performing is part of something bigger.
“I spent five and a half years in academia as a visual arts student, learned a lot and became more political as a student, connecting with local Filipino organizations in Vancouver that aimed to educate, organize, mobilize and speak out about issues in the Filipino community. And the education is huge! I like to learn. But there are still these big gaps in the music industry and community, and the ability to talk about these topics through lyricism – integrating some of these big issues into four bars of music – is where I drew a lot of my inspiration.
“This next album is different, because I’m sitting more with my feelings, and I have no doubt that my feelings – and where I am – are important. And so this album feels more personal, and it feels more interpersonal.
“In my last album I talked, in general, about the wider movement, or the liberation movement in general, and this next album is more like love songs – and I have no doubt that the songs of love are a powerful thing.
“A big part of my identity as a musician is being outspoken and speaking out about oppressive states, but realizing that I have limitations, that I was neglecting my health, and that wasn’t that way. what it was all about to begin with. We’re not supposed to bully ourselves at the expense of art.
Start to feel happiness
The artist’s last release – “K, I’m Mortal” – was “written in a one-room shoebox – where the oven was at the foot of my bed, and I was so unhealthy – sorting out the whirlwind of so-called successes in my music career – interviews about interviews, music video projects, album recording, more intentions. But I was so unwell and my relationships fell apart, then the pandemic took hold. happened and I actually learned to slow down. And, I mean, we’re all saying this – “learning to slow down”, but the impact on my heart, and rearranging my heart, and being like “OK, what did that just happen?” and healing through that – and realizing that this isn’t what it’s supposed to be – like in, feeling like, as an artist, I needed ‘to be the tip of the flame. I now lean in to understand that I’m human too, and just because you (the listener) can’t see me doesn’t mean I don’t exist.
“I’m really leaning into it, and I’m starting to feel happiness – and that’s so important, you know? I connect with happiness, and that’s a huge part of healing – just like, being okay with this ordinary-extraordinary, and my mortality, and life and death – and every moment – so, I I feel like I’ve grown up a bit, and at the same time I still feel like a kid, and that’s a good thing too.