I vividly remember the first time a song meant something to me.

It was 2001, I was ten years old, and the song was called ‘No Less’.

Please understand, I grew up in a fairly conservative, very republican, Christian home.  The majority of the music I had access to as a child was of the contemporary Christian variety, which meant that most of the music was built around very similar themes and it also all sounded very similar.

I was gifted a sort of mix CD with a number of Christian music singles that happened to feature the song ‘No Less’, a single from a then-teenaged Joy William’s first album.  The song was a blatant Christian-themed knockoff of Britney Spears’s late-90’s discography and I was obsessed with it.  I remember hearing the opening beat drop and it was like an explosion went off in my mind.  I had never heard anything like it before in my life.  I had never heard dance pop sounds before, and it immediately changed my life.  I remember listening to the song on a loop, just that one song over and over again.  I remember dancing around my bedroom to it, choreographing complex lip-sync routines to it.  It rewired how my brain processed music.  I felt this burning need to find more music like it, to seek out every pop diva that I could find (and would be allowed to listen to) and consume as much of their content as possible.  Loving Christian pop became a huge part of my personality, weird as that is.

From that point on, I often navigated my life, my feelings, my ideas and politics, through music.  A few years later, I fell in love with the rock and nü-metal bands of the mid 00’s because I was angry, hated my dad, and hated the restrictive cleanliness of my family’s faith.  Bands like Evanescence and Linkin Park helped me make sense of those emotions.

It was in college that I began experimenting with coming out.  Coming out was a slow, arduous process of starting and stopping, of stepping out of the closet and then trying to step back in again.  During this time, I started listening to a lot of alternative pop acts.  It was during these years that I discovered Charli XCX, Lorde, Lana – acts that were embraced by the queer community but didn’t make me feel like I was losing hold on what made me me.

It’s so clear to me now how the music I was listening to mirrored how I was feeling inside.  I wanted to step towards queerness but also didn’t want to feel like I was losing myself.  Of course, that was never the risk.  By coming out, I didn’t lose myself, but became fully myself.

I have been fully out for six years now, and in that time my musical tastes have morphed and grown.  The music I listen to is less about identity now, and more about what I enjoy (as music is meant to be).  But as I grow older and spend more and more time thinking about music and queerness, I have been frustrated by what I perceive to be a lack of queer voices speaking proudly in the music world.  Yes, there are out artists, outspokenly queer musicians, but I crave a space where music can be celebrated and discussed from a queer perspective.

So, I decided to make that space.

CHORD Magazine is an independent, web-based publication run by Andrew W. Henderson.  CHORD mainly focuses on music released by for members of the global LGBTQIA+ community.  I want to primarily to bring attention and recognition to the work of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender musicians, singers, and artists (This can mean an LGBTQIA+ solo artist, or any band with at least one publicly-out LGBTQIA+ member).

I do also, from time to time, feature the works of the LGBTQIA+ community’s outspoken musical allies.  This website is designed to be a space specifically for queer musicians and artists, however I acknowledge the importance of allies in the fight for LGBTQIA+ equality, and I am honored to be able to bring our readers news and updates from those individuals from time to time.  Also, at its core, CHORD magazine is a personal publication – I am the only staff writer, the only copyeditor, and the only web designer currently attached to this project.  I reserve the right to discuss topics outside of the main themes of the blog from time to time.

I also want to point out that my reviews are meant to share my subjective.  To steal and adapt a quote from the great Boulet Brothers: “We are not here to judge your drag [music etc.].  Drag [Music etc.] is art, and art is subjective”.  No review is ever meant to imply that a song or album has a lower artistic value than any other, or to in any way question the artistic skills of the artist in question.  Instead, the review serves as an exploration of my personal reaction to the art – nothing more and nothing less.  I encourage, and am excited to read, differing opinions in the comments.

I also love to hear from LGBTQIA+ musicians and music fans from around the world.  If you are a queer musician who wants to be featured on the site, please reach out to me using the contact page on the website or through my social media.  If you are interested in writing a guest post, I would love to hear from you through those same channels.  And if you want to add your own thoughts to anything I have written, I have a comments section enabled on all my posts – though I do also reserve the right to turn them off and/or remove any offensive posts.

I strongly believe that love is love.  I believe that all trans and nonbinary identities are valid.  I believe in and support all expressions of sexuality, romantic attractions, and gender identities.  I believe that every individual has the right to be accepted as they want to be accepted, identified as they want to be identified.  I believe that pronouns matter.

I believe that every person has the right to be as public or as private with their identity as they desire to be.  To that end, I have no interest in outing anyone – nor in rumors or speculation about how any public figure may identify in private.

Beyond LGBTQIA+ issues, I believe that every person deserves equal access to healthcare, education, and a living wage – by virtue of being a human being alone.

I believe that black lives matter, not because other lives do not matter, but because we acknowledge that POC lives are at the greatest risk.

I believe that no person is illegal, and that undocumented persons are entitled to the same rights and safeties as any other human.

I believe that labor should be fairly compensated, that all labor is skilled labor, and that no labor is worth less than a full living wage.

I believe that politicians should exist to serve the people, not to further their own careers.  This means that voting must be easy, free, and freely accessible to all people.  More polling places, more and more varied means of voting.

I want an end to American violence both at home and overseas.  It is time for responsible gun control.  It is time for an end to American violence in the Middle East and beyond.  Safety at home does not need to come at the price of innocent non-American lives.

Here at CHORD, I hope to bring a bit of enjoyment and peace into the lives of all who read and experience my content.  I know I am not a perfect person, but I constantly strive to be my best.

If I say something that you find to be incorrect, offensive, or inappropriate: speak up!  I am constantly listening and learning.  Help me be the best version of myself that I can be!

I am so excited that you are here, celebrating the joyous works of LGBTQIA+ musicians and artists from around the world.

I know firsthand the important role that music played in my own personal queer journey.  I know how related music and queerness are to me, and to so many queer people around the world.

As I thought about writing this introduction, I looked up ‘No Less’ on Spotify.  I hadn’t heard that song in years and years, but as soon as the first, twinkling notes hit my ears, it took my right back.  As a ten-year-old, this song – this entirely forgotten piece of Jesus-themed dance pop – came closer to making me feel like myself than anything else ever had.

Last year, Joy Williams released her sixth album, Front Porch.  Her music is no longer faith-based, and it no longer sounds like Britney.  It’s very good.

We all grow up, I guess.

Or maybe this is just how music helps me understand myself now.  Regardless, I know that I have a unique perspective, as do all queer people.  That means we all relate to art and music in a unique way.  I could never claim to speak for the hole queer community, but I can speak to myself and my place in it.

This website means a lot to me, and I genuinely hope that means that you could get something out of it too.

With all love,

Andrew Henderson, CHORD Magazine



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