What is a bisexual anthem? Bella Media Channel’s Chaya Milchtein sits down with Sarah Todd from Iggy T and the Crazymakers to discuss.
Right now, concerts, gatherings, shows, and pride celebrations are being canceled worldwide. The music world however hasn’t batted an eye, switching over to virtual concerts and live streams, proving that necessity is indeed the mother of invention with this new delivery of a medium that’s often a balm for the soul.
Tomorrow, the new Iggy T and the Crazymakers album debuts featuring a powerful song called “Cake.” A song the band has declared to be a bisexual anthem, this catchy song will bring a little slice of pride right into your living room. In the hopes of making the song as easily available as possible for virtual pride celebrations, Iggy T and the Crazymakers are sharing their song free of license charge for pride month for LGBT pride events or groups who contact the band and give credit.
Iggy T and the Crazymakers’ soulful funk music can be compared to that of St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Amy Winehouse, and Alabama Shakes. While California is their home base, the Southern musical influences can be clearly heard throughout the album.
Lead singer Sarah Todd is inspired by both current and past music. Joining forces with music producer and engineer David Franz was a match that was meant to be. In collaboration with Karl Hunter (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy) on the saxophone, Fernando Jaramillo (Nick Carter, Beto Cuevas) on drums, Matthew Cheadle on guitar, and Scott Fegette on bass this album came to be.
“It’s rare to meet another musician who shares your exact taste in music, both old and new. Sarah is a musical mirror to me, and this has made writing music with her extremely easy and pleasurable,” David says.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah Todd for Bella Media Channel. We spoke about what inspires their music, about their song “Cake” and how they’re taking care of themselves right now.
Interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Chaya Milchtein: What inspired your new album? How did you decide it was time to create an album that included a bisexual anthem like “Cake”?
Sarah Todd: When David and I met through a mutual friend’s jam circle, we came to realize that we really dug a lot of the same music. I shared with him my love of old soul, folk, and classic rock, and he shared with me his blues and rock influences. We started ideating about what we could do to combine those influences into a sound that was presented with more contemporary, almost pop-friendly production. That’s where the idea of the album began.
Social justice and equality are at the heart center of the social and political issues that inspire me to create. If given the opportunity to speak through a microphone, I intend to raise a collective voice for the benefit of all beings. To promote the conscious advocacy for what we believe in, and strategies of communicating in ways that don’t close doors, but instead open wide the opportunities to explore one another and expand our tolerance of our fellow sisters and brothers. I believe we each come to the table with unique and personal, equally valuable experiences and perspectives. There’s so much to gain by listening with a spacious, non-judgmental heart.
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 is 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.
Who is anyone to judge another individual’s relationship with their sexuality? Simply because it is different from their own, doesn’t give anyone permission to minimize or unqualify it. To each their own, I say. Live and let live.
The song “Cake” is an upbeat and playful depiction of this rather heavy topic. It’s meant to be tongue and cheek. 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. 🙂
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.Sarah Todd, Iggy T and the Crazymakers
CM: I’m not someone who always immediately connects with music, but your album really spoke to me. At this unusual time when pride festivals all over the country are being canceled, how would you hope your music continues the tradition of pride celebrations?
ST: Thank you for listening, and thank you for saying that. It’s the reason I do what I do, to connect with others authentically. For people to feel seen and heard. I would hope that this fun little bop can bring about a sense of joy and celebration and make people move their beautiful bodies. I would hope to validate those who resonate with my version of sexuality and raise a bit of awareness of what the unique challenges are for bisexuals.
Ultimately, we might be able to cultivate a new level of gentleness toward the B’s [bisexual folks] 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.
Ultimately, we might be able to cultivate a new level of gentleness toward bisexuals and help them feel safer to come out as their truest selves in such a trying time for literally everyone globally.Sarah Todd, Iggy T and the Crazymakers
CM: Which song on the album is your favorite? What would you like people to know about it?
ST: Oh gosh, my favorite song on the album changes. Today, with so many people suffering in isolation and with the loss of loved ones and separation from others; and of course, the news of so many marginalized communities, especially the unfathomable shootings of our Black siblings, I feel like the song on my heart is “I Don’t Know Your Pain.” The rest of that line is “But I wish that I could take it away.”
I would want people to know that turning away from hate and injustice is no longer excusable. This song is meant to raise a conversation amidst a flurry of distraction, and to remind the marginalized groups that they are not alone. Each and every one of us here matters.
CM: What LGBT people / songwriters inspire your music?
ST: Sweet soul Brandi Carlile… damn it to be able to translate feelings and words and chords in the masterpieces that she has created with her band. I adore her and everything she represents. She’s authentically her, not striving to be anything else, at least she appears to be that way to me. And the work ethic and drive, the consistency that has led her to such amazing accolades.
She’s earned every damn thing she’s received. That’s the most impressive thing about Brandi to me. And her humility along the way. She’s cute as a button, wanna-be-her-bestie, and wants to sit on the floor and have her play me songs all night kind of woman. I don’t care what her sexuality is though. That’s the last thing I think of when I listen to her music or think of her name.
CM: Who inspires your music overall?
ST: This album was inspired by so many…the soulful greats like Sam Cooke, Al Green, Etta James, the new soul/rock contemporaries like my brothers Durand Jones and The Indications, Brittany Howard and Alabama Shakes, Amy Winehouse, St. Paul and The Broken Bones, and those delicious gritty guitars of the Black Keys. My favorite artists of all time inherently inspire everything I do…Stevie and Joni…if I have to pick.
CM: It’s a stressful time for much of the world right now. How are you taking care of yourself? What self care methods work for you?
ST: I’d be a total mess without my yoga practice. Yoga changed my life. Meditation, too. For some reason being stuck at home has made me more resistant to my practices, but I’m learning this new me and figuring out how to trick my brain into remembering that it will still be glorious even though it’s at home and not at my beloved yoga studio back in Ojai.
I also need nature like I need air to breathe. I take myself to the river, to the trees, to the ocean. I just listen. I sit, I walk, I even cry sometimes at the enormity of this place we’re in globally. Giving myself that time to feel, to ground, and recenter is crucial for my well-being.
I’m a big advocate for daily morning pages…thanks Julia Cameron. 🙂 The Artist’s Way is the book that changed my life’s trajectory and sent me leaping into the net of making this album.
I dance. Moving my body is a truly spiritual experience for me. And finally, I read. Reading whether my paper books or my audio books, is like a warm blanket to me…mostly non-fiction because my brain is insatiable. My books are my nerdy inspiring friends. I love my nerdy inspiring friends.
CM: What’s next for Iggy T and the Crazymakers? Do you plan to continue writing songs to directly speak to the queer community?
ST: I’m looking forward to releasing this record and we have a few tracks mid-production that I do get excited about sharing at some point. This has been a 4-year long process so savoring this moment is the best thing I can do now.
All too often at this phase of the game, artists, myself included, are tempted to look forward and focus on the next thing and the next. I intend to let this body of work settle into the ears of our beloved listeners. And I am writing songs every day. I write about topics that I really care about and I really care about equality. That’s not going anywhere.
The new album featuring bisexual anthem “Cake” will be available on the band’s website tomorrow. Special thanks to Sarah Todd and David Franz for sharing their music and thoughts with us.