Covering Trans Media

Temporal and narrative potential in messy musical archives

Authored by: Craig Jennex , Maria Murphy

The Routledge Research Companion to Popular Music and Gender

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781472456830
eBook ISBN: 9781315613437
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042044


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Since uploading a rendition of Wham!’s hit song ‘Freedom’ to YouTube in September 2009, Canadian singer/songwriter Lucas Silveira – lead singer of Toronto-based rock band The Cliks – has regularly posted solo cover performances on the video sharing platform. While cover songs are ubiquitous on YouTube, Silveira’s are extraordinary, chronicling his gender transition and the effects of the hormone testosterone on his voice and body. Silveira began posting covers in response to fan requests; comment sections of his YouTube videos, where a thriving international fan community amassed, quickly became a space in which fans pleaded for Silveira to cover specific songs, artists, or genres. 1 So too did this online forum enable an overtly pedagogical project, as fans asked Silveira specific questions about the administration of testosterone and the effect the hormone has on trans masculine vocal performers. That his archive interested trans 2 singers is not surprising; Silveira’s broad oeuvre of covers – recorded and posted from September 2009 to April 2016 – allows us to listen closely to otherwise ephemeral sonic markers of gender transitions: voice breaks and subtle changes in pitch and timbre, among others. Silveira’s online cover project presents a voice in process.

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