Sunday, June 3, 2012

Trans Musician or what?

I guess that I have been a musician since the age of 9 when I picked up my first guitar and strummed a ‘G’ chord. Once I’d added a few more chord shapes there didn’t seem much point in just playing if I couldn’t sing as well. Round about that time I was 11 I started to dress less conventionally too. I was looking for clothes that didn’t scream ‘boy’ or ‘girl’. I wore mainly bell bottoms which I flared myself by stitching floral fabric into the outseams, jewellery and kaftans. Beginning to sew and make my own clothes helped me to cultivate my own individuality wearing off the peg clothes forced me to be someone I wasn’t comfortable with. I hated being identified as a boy but I was too scared to be open and be identified as a girl. It was the same with singing other people’s songs, they belonged to other people and they didn’t fit. I soon started to write my own lyrics and use my newly learned guitar skills to accompany myself singing them.

When I began my transition it was just such a relief. Now I could wear regular girl clothes. I wish I could say that the great thing was that I didn’t stand out any more. Sadly, as many of us find, it doesn’t quite work that way. You don’t spend the best part of 40 years being a guy, however reluctantly without learning how to survive and not be called names. It hurt like hell as teen when people laughed and said I walked and talked like a girl. I ought to have been glad but I took it as the insult it was intended to be. As I grew up I learned how to cover all that up and survive. The ironic thing is that I’ve had to spend the last 7 years unlearning it. Wearing regular girl clothes became a battle to melt into the background and to be seen as no different to anyone else. Of late I’ve come to realise that having achieved that, you can start to express yourself and wear fashion your way but you have to learn how to be like everyone else first. These days, onstage I realize that I can more or less do things my way, be as daring as I a point.

I wrote all that some time ago but never published it. I play with a local Country Rock band from time to time, I was doing it back then. I don't generally sing. I'm a female rhythm guitarist/bassist or that's who I appear to be. I don't suppose anybody thinks of me as 'a one time guy' or 'trans'. The operative words here are 'local' & 'don't generally sing'. On the other hand, I've been writing my own brand of Cabaret Blues music now for some time and I'm fortunate to have had the help of other musicians and my band members to put those songs together as demo tracks. Airing my music out there on the www, I've had a phenomenal response which has quite taken this T-Girl's breath away, some lovely sincere comments and praise. I never imagined that rather jaundiced Blues numbers about the way men treat me or songs about my personal journey would ever really find much favor with anybody. Now I'm left with a problem and it's like coming out all over again. Do I take a deep breath and start performing locally as the Transgendered Blues Artist I guess I really am? Or do I play safe and be 'that girl who plays rhythm in a country rock band'. I don't mind performing away from my local turf, but in my own back yard? Hmm!

I'm not asking for advice, lol. I have to make my own mind up about this one. Some of the people referred to anonymously in my songs might be in my audience. I have to work alongside others. I don't even link my Facebook Band Page to my usual personal one but to a separate site. Only gay friends really know much about this side of me. If any of you out there have a similar dilemma, I'd so love to hear from you.


Robyn-Jane xx


  1. Dreaming about being a girl started at about the age of five I guess, I’m not sure but next best thing happened to me and that’s the joy of making music. I asked for a guitar as a birthday present but my parents thought it wise for me to start out on a ukulele. I didn’t touch the strings until I found out how to play the blues. From that moment on my parents wished they hadn’t been so wise. I strummed the little one for hours and hours. Right now I’m a member of two jazz bands on trombone and of a funk & soul group as a keyboard player. I’d love to participate as “girl with ukulele” (again) in a transsensational music group (can blue women play the whites?) but honestly that’s just a dream.

  2. Love your comment Corinna, really nice to hear from you. :) xx