Iggy T and the Crazymakers's new bisexual anthem is a bop with a message
It's nearly summer, so that means bring on the new queer tunes. This year, the SoCal band Iggy T and the Crazymakers (Sarah Todd and David Franz) is rounding the bend with a new tune that will either make you want to get up in dance or give you some pause. Their song "Cake" plays with some stereotypes about bisexuality, with a knowing nod and a tongue very much planted in cheek. I asked lead singer Sarah Todd about the song, and why it was important to her to put her experience as a bisexual woman to music.
Queer Media Matters: So, the song is a hell of a jam but there are some elements that rattle those old bisexual stereotypes. Why did you decide to address those in this manner?
Sarah Todd: Yeah, it’s tongue in cheek. “Have your cake and eat it too…” I prefer talking about serious things with an upbeat playfulness. I’m prepared to take back the harmful slurs of bisexuality and own them with purpose, love, and advocacy in mind. Who is anyone to judge another person’s version of sexuality? Simply because it is different from their own, doesn’t give anyone permission to minimize or unqualify it. Live and let live, I say.
Besides, I do think I’m blessed to be able to find love in so many places and it does feel like I get to have my cake and eat it, too.
The song was written in the wake of a playful conversation with my partner at the time and a fellow bisexual friend. We were lamenting about the fact that where we were raised, the traditional conservative constructs of relationships felt limiting for bisexuals who don’t align with having to choose between dating men OR women. We also played with the concept of polyamory, which did not turn out to be for me, but to each their own…
My partner and I talked super openly about my sexuality and how it manifested in our relationship. It was never heavy or judgy; it felt completely normal. That was a relief compared to many many other relationships of mine that weren’t so openly communicative. The song was written from my perspective of navigating my bisexuality in a relationship with a man. I can only speak about my experience. Have others told me that the messaging resonates with them? Hell yeah! But I don’t intend to create some blanket understanding of bisexuality because of my one experience in just one of my relationships. These things are pretty nuanced. My ultimate goal is to convey our belief as a band as empowering everyone to live and love as they feel most whole in and aligned with. Love is love.
The notion of bi-erasure was also brought up in the writing of this song. Often in my experience, the B in LGBTQ feels invisible. For me, there has been a frequent sense of a lack of belonging, and I’ve heard the same from many bisexual friends. I fall in love with humans, not because of their gender. I find beautiful qualities in both women and men that make for incredible intimacy and partnership.
I asked myself that question when writing the song…”How can I communicate about this in a way that feels joyful and more lighthearted?”
All too often though what I see is people taking bisexuality personally because it threatens their own constructs of love and belonging and sexuality. I think this keeps many bisexuals closeted and afraid to come out, for fear of being judged as invalid, fake, mal-intended.
So my choice of how to handle any potential backlash from this song and how I chose to present it would be to keep leading with love and seeking understanding. My experience is not and never will be perfectly in alignment with another person’s. That old framework of “trying not to piss anyone off” doesn’t resonate with me. What is art if it’s not authentic? I’d say to someone triggered by my art that they are loved, that I support whatever version of sexuality feels good to them, and I may ask for a similar understanding and acceptance too. I would reassure anyone that my story and my artistic expression of that story is not meant to invalidate them or rattle anyone’s triggers. What are we doing in the LGBTQ community if we’re not supporting one another??? What are we saying to the rest of the world about tolerance?
QMM: Positive bisexual representation certainly lags in all forms of media. What do you hope to accomplish with "Cake"?
ST: I hope other bisexual people can feel validated by this song. I’d love it if there were a greater understanding and conversation being cultivated by people outside of the bisexual community as well.
My personal experience of being bisexual has been a heartache at times. Not feeling like I quite fit or am accepted into hetero- OR homo- perceptions of sexuality. Also not understanding why there was such an expectation or pressure to conform to an overwhelming sense of society’s expectation that I be either gay or straight. I found myself talking to my bi friends, my partners, and people in the community asking the same question. Why do I have to choose? I fall in love with humans. Gender is not a determining factor in that process. And I think more people should talk about the experience of bisexuals inside and outside of the LGBTQ communities.
I make music in an effort to connect with others authentically. I so hope for people to feel seen and heard through my art. I would also hope that this fun little bop can bring about a sense of joy and celebration and make people move their beautiful bodies. I aim to validate those who resonate with my version of sexuality and raise a bit of awareness of what the unique challenges are for bisexuals in the community. Ultimately, we might be able to cultivate a new level of gentleness toward the B’s and help them feel safer to come out as their truest selves in such a trying time for literally everyone globally. There’s no time or space for judgment of any kind right now. The community of Pride is a powerhouse for positivity and change. I see that and I hope that I can contribute to that energy through my music.
QMM: "Cake" could also be interpreted to be addressing polyamory. Was that the intention as well?
ST: There was an intention to touch on polyamory, yes. A part of bisexuality in my experience has been the challenge of “choosing” as the song suggests. From the outside looking in, polyamory seemed to me to be a way of “having my cake and eating it too,” so to speak. I didn’t find myself aligned with polyamory, but it’s certainly something I support others having the freedom to explore.
QMM: You are releasing an album during a pandemic, which can be no easy feat. How have you had to pivot from what you've been accustomed to this new and ever-changing new world for artists?
ST: I think we are in a really rare moment where a lot of people are online A LOT of the time. We’re doing our best to connect with them in a way that feels meaningful and it’s our hope that our music will resonate right now. We have a few other songs that touch on heavy topics -- “I’ll Take My Power Back” was written as an anthem for women’s empowerment. “I Don’t Know Your Pain” is my attempt at empathizing with marginalized communities, especially the Black community that is hurting so much right now. As a country, we need to do better for our underrepresented communities -- LGBTQ+, Black, Jewish, Muslim, etc. It’s my hope that “the people online” will hear these songs and find power within them, as well, and perhaps also a little bit of hope.
You can pre-order Iggy T and the Crazymakers' new LP on vinyl here.