DIY in NY.
Ryan Natsis (they/them) is the nonbinary queer songwriter, composer, & producer behind the electro pop project LovelyBoy. Based in the queer DIY culture of NYC, LovelyBoy works with the goal to raise marginalized voices & support their community. Their debut EP ‘Buzzkill’ is slated to be released by the end of 2019.
Ryan, you lovely boy! You are a multi-talented and multifaceted creative. What particular role does sound play in your universe?
Thanks so much for having me! Sound is everything, especially for where I am in my life right now. When I’m not writing and performing my personal music, I do sound design, score film, and DJ, so it’s always about sound for me. I also love the visual arts, but I just find that sound affects me so acutely, whether it’s in a emotional way, a sensory way, a spiritual way.
What kind of character is New York right now in your story?
New York definitely acts as a catalyst for my art. Everything I do really happens in this city, so whether it’s intentional or not, everything I do is influenced by my surroundings.
What are you proudest of, as an artist?
I’m honestly just proud of being vocal about my experiences, I think that there’s a lot of industry pressure that I could have succumbed to, but I wasn’t interested in being brainwashed into thinking that my art had to look a certain way to be acceptable to a straight, cis audience. I realized a long time ago that that wasn’t my market, and that I need to make music for my community, and the prioritize people who support me and see me.
As a post-human queer alien, what message would you like to communicate to humans here on earth?
Haha, I guess it would just be ‘Join us’!
Can you describe a moment when a song changed your life?
Dorian Electra’s collab piece about the history of drag [“Drag”] features like 6 different performers all doing their own amazing verses about drag performance during a specific time period. London Jade’s verse just opened my eyes, talking about the trans experience in relation to Stonewall and of course really tearing it up while doing it! That whole song just really reaffirmed so much of how I felt about gender, and assured me that there are other people out there thinking and feeling these same frustrations with the binary.
“Been a minute, lately I've been feeling pissed off
Tell the cops they could really get flipped off
I'm not the girl you should ever try to criss-cross
Can't arrest me for the clothes I got stitched on
Catch this, I was chilling with my drag sis
Trans girl so you know I look mad fish
I don't cross-dress, what's with the madness?
Real woman, bet you really wanna tap this
Sassy, please do not touch or grab me
Unless you wanna see some bottle smashing
It's my body, my choice, my hobby, my voice
What's the big deal if I got a sugar daddy?
Trans power, dance louder
Clap your hands, don't stop, don't miss
Start a riot, bop your fists
I hit the club, who stoppin' this?”
We LGBTQIA+ artists tend to stan each other. (How) is queer community showing up for you?
There’s literally no better feeling than getting ready to do a show and you start seeing people you know start popping in the door! The internet allows us to support each other really well online, but I always feel like it’s very personal and heartwarming when people physically leave their houses to see me perform. I definitely have introverted tendencies, I know how hard it is to get out and do things — so when I see people braving the city for me it means so much.
How can we do better?
I love when people interact with my music, come out to shows and talk to me! I’m a social caterpillar.
What advice do you have for other artists, especially queer artists?
My advice would be to make sure you recognize when people are giving you sound advice and when people are being manipulative. A lot of times people tell queer artists to not be so open about their identity, to tone down their experiences in their music, and to not talk about their identity as much. This can be done in a way where you really think they have your best interest in mind, but it’s important to be critical in the industry.
Who are a couple of your indie pop goddesses, and what have they taught you?
Oh boy, there’s quite a few! Especially artists I was really into when I was in middle school. MARINA, Lana Del Rey, and Halsey were some of the biggest ones for me. Especially watching how these artists have developed their careers since I was really into them, it teaches you a lot about how to stay relevant, and how to navigate in the public eye.