Creative Interviewing Creatives: Jackie Lipson, a Los Angeles based pop singer-songwriter interviews queer creatives making waves in their field of artistry.
Mint Simon, the brand new solo project from the lead singer of alternative pop trio Caveboy talks with me about their new single and accompanying video, “Some of Everything”, finding fluidity in gender and sexuality during quarantine and re-emerging more themselves than ever.
You front the band Caveboy — what inspired you to go solo? Where does the name Mint Simon come from?
When I had all of this sudden downtime, I ended up diving really deep into my identity and some things I hadn’t fully figured out yet (but I was convinced I had). I used songwriting as a tool to help get my thoughts out and I ended up feeling like these were something I didn’t want to have just sitting on my computer for years and never releasing so I decided to put them out in a new, first ever, solo project. ‘Mint’ is a nickname I’ve had for years and Simon is a part of my legal last name – it was important for me to have a name that felt personal but didn’t tie me to anyone else but myself.
Tell me about the inspiration for your new single, Some of Everything. What does this song mean to you? Where did the video concept come from?
This is an example of using music and songwriting for my own self discovery. This song really helped me through a confusing time when I was trying to figure out if I was gender fluid (which I am), and if my sexuality was also more fluid than I thought (which it is). The video concept came from my desire to live out my 90s pop fantasy with a queer twist, hitting all the nostalgic parts of my soul. I can honestly say this song and video are my favorite (and most personal) creative endeavors to date!
The video for Some of Everything is immaculate queerness. How can your music inspire and influence the queer community and social conversation?
Writing about my identity is a new and exciting thing for me. To bring myself fully into my lyrics and songs without holding back has been a bit challenging but the messages I’ve gotten about people connecting to what I’m saying and actually being able to relate to a song has been so rewarding. I hope that through challenging myself to talk about my own experience, someone can relate and find comfort in their own journey. I want people to see themselves reflected in the media and be here to help normalize things that fall on the spectrum of gender that I don’t feel we see enough of.
Where did your musical story start? What inspires you to create?
I think my musical story started with my Tracy Chapman obsession at a very young age (multiple posters on my walls). I’ve always been a performer and a very sensitive person so songwriting was just something that happened naturally. I really like to work through my feelings through the work I create and I can honestly say I don’t know what I’d do without this outlet. The feeling of nostalgia runs deep for me and I love bringing that complex emotion into my songs.
Who are some of your musical/creative influences?
Growing up my parents didn’t have cable so they had their friends record MTV 24 hours a day, and then would just have it playing on the tv pretty much all the time. Throughout my childhood I watched everything from Prince to Cher to Madonna and I always felt drawn to the magic and confidence of it all.
Has being non-binary affected your experience in the music industry? How?
It’s pretty wild actually because I came out as gender fluid and changed my pronouns all within the last year, so I’m coming out of lockdown experiencing not only social interaction again (cue my awkwardness) but also social interaction in my new identity (and body). I’m excited to get on stage and show more of myself (and my nipples).
I love that you say “[Some of Everything is a] celebration for all the ‘non-box-fitting queers’ and a reminder that you don’t need a label to make your identity real.” Do you feel the community is making progress in removing limits on identity? Do you think we still have a long way to go?
I feel like the younger generation has a better understanding/seems to care a lot less about labels and gender which is absolutely exciting. I definitely think social media, specifically TikTok, plays a huge part in this – but I’m speaking as someone who has this queer content basically catered to me on the app (which I must say I appreciate). It still blows my mind seeing young folks online just so confident in their identity when at their age I was for sure making up a horrible dance routine with my sister to some Spice Girls song in full denim.
I do think we have a long way to go on a broader level. There are still so many daily attacks on queer and trans folks around the world and those are the ones who need advocating for.