Lucy & La Mer talked to Billboard about her new video for “Rebel Babe,” her upcoming EP I Feel Better Now, and the pervasive problem of bisexual erasure.
The song is very different from your other music — this is very dance-heavy, while your past work has a much lighter indie sound. Why did you want to bring that new sound to this song?
I wanted to [create] a song that would get me moving and dancing on stage when I perform it. I think with some of my former music, it was an expression of emotion and anxiety, sometimes an expression of the depression I was going through. And that was beautiful and healing, but I'm at a point in my life where I really, when I was writing this, I was like, "I wanna dance, and I want people to feel really good, and I want them to feel empowered." So that's when we started playing with more heavy beats, and an energetic sound.
Where did the title "Rebel Babe" come from?
Honestly, it started as more of an affirmation. I wanted to sing, you know, something affirmative, something that was powerful. I guess the term "Rebel Babe," in my experience of it, is someone who's embracing their own gender and sexuality. Despite the social constraints, being a rebel babe is just about feeling empowered in your own right.
There were a few moments in the video that I loved. One shows you kicking down signs saying things like "Straight vs. Gay," "Feminine vs. Feminist," etc. What was the message you were trying to send with that moment?
The concept is all about knocking down binary thinking -- you can be feminine, and you can also be a feminist. You can be somewhere in between straight and gay, you can be both feminine and masculine at the same time. It's all a spectrum, and it's fluid. Unfortunately in our society, people like to think that it's black and white.
I feel like that theme also kind of ties into the idea of bisexual erasure, or people minimizing and ignoring the validity of bisexuality. As someone who came out as bisexual recently, would you say bi erasure was a big part of your coming out journey?
Absolutely. I hesitated for so long, and a lot of people who identify as bisexual don't even come out until they're 20, or later on. It's scary, because there's so many negative experiences that you start to see, even if you are slowly tip-toeing out of the closet. It's so hard on your heart, too, because it's such a wonderful thing to realize your identity and your own bisexuality, and then to be met with people thinking you're confused or in a phase, or that they say, "Oh, you're bi to get attention." That one, the attention thing makes me really angry [laughs]. Especially as a woman, too, women are constantly criticized for wanting attention, as if it is the worst thing we can do is ask for attention. I think that anytime women show control in our identity, it's just met with criticism and it's met with shame.
There are so many really wonderful communities that are coming forward, though. Like the amBi Social Network in L.A., Bisexual.org, there's all of these wonderful groups coming out so that there can be a community for bisexuals. Because of course I would love it if straight folks and gay folks would just say, "Yeah, we love bisexuals! They're their own thing, they're valid, they're legit, let's embrace it." But there are a lot of communities coming up to say that they're here for you.
There's another wonderful moment where you turn two bathrooms into a gender-neutral bathroom. With all of these trans bathroom bills still remaining a problem across the country, why was it important for you to include that moment in the video?
It is so important to see the crossover and the bigger picture. It's not just me saying "Argh, people pick on me because I'm bisexual, they think I'm weird." This is a huge issue of masculine and feminine and how we have to draw this straight line through it and make laws about it. It is absolutely infuriating, and it has caused so many needless problems in our society. I think that specific scene, I mean, it ties into dismantling binary thinking; we're dividing people instead of embracing their differences and the fact that there is a fluid gender spectrum and a spectrum of sexuality as well.
You've got your new EP coming up, I Feel Better Now. What can we expect from the EP?
More dance beats, for sure, and uplifting lyrics. I was at a point where I realized that I could make an entire point about the negative experiences that I've been going through, and the kind of the shame that I've been feeling, and just the general hurt of coming out. But I wanted to make something that would cheer me up, and I wanted to make something that would cheer other people up. The kind of music that you hear it, and you just start tapping your toes and feeling a little lighter. So the next EP is called I Feel Better Now because it's focusing on what I want to be, and the positivity I want to bring to people.