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Making queer music matter

Meet Filipino-American L10, a self-identified queer recording artist trying to make good music, even as he attempts to be pro-active in dealing with other issues affecting the LGBT community.

Introducing self-identified Filipino-American ‘queer recording artist’ L10

Says L10: “God gives us a great ability to live life to the fullest as we each see it, and I look at every day with that same view.”

Even early on, while growing up, L10 – a self-identified Filipino queer recording artist born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area – was already influenced by music and singing, “growing up to the sounds of Frank Sinatra, Patsy Cline, Matt Monroe and Bing Crosby,” he recalled to Outrage Magazine. And while this didn’t change as he got older, he nonetheless “started to develop a passion for electronic dance music and becoming influenced by DJs like DJ Dan, Keoki, Frankie Knuckles, Danny Tenaglia. I was also influenced musically by such artists as Amber, Madonna, George Michael, Kylie Minogue and most importantly the Filipina dance diva Jocelyn Enriquez (I actually went to school with her and was her choir partner her senior year in a Glee type group called the Pinole Valley High School Chamber Singers).”

However, it wasn’t until 2006, when L10 “rediscovered my love to sing” that he decided to record a demo called Take It. With that demo and by the power of social networking on the Internet, he was able to network himself as an independent artist, along with some of the newcomers in the dance music industry then.

In 2009, L10 hit the jackpot – so to speak. “After several singles were released, a single title Music’s Got U that I wrote and recorded with the SpekrFreks on their EP titled You’re Invited became my first official hit single to reach a large underground audience. The song charted in Canada and also was in full rotation on XM/Sirius radio,” he said.

Thus, “after the success of that song, in 2010, I decided to put all my focus into recording material for a full length album entitled PUSH.” PUSH was released on January 12, alongside its remix album Push Play.

“I’ve come to understand that I want my new album and especially my music moving forward to be an inspiration and to bring a smile to anyone who comes across listening to it. I want my personality and who I am as a person to come through the speakers,” he said. “I’ve been receiving nothing but great feedback/response to the new music… My goal in music is to always bring a pop, fun and quirky element to the industry especially since I’m driven by the era of the 1950s (simple, cute but quirky sexy).”

His music video, by the way, features the iconic Tita Aida of the Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center, a known Filipino activist in the San Francisco community, along with the ladies of AsiaSF, thereby “sharing the beauty of our transgender community.”

L10 is nonetheless a believer – and promoter, for that matter – of the notion of going beyond one’s comfort zones to help effect changes in the community.

It was also during the recording of this project hat L10 felt a need to become more involved in the LGBT community. In 2010, he got involved with the AIDS/LifeCycle 10, a seven-day and 545+-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles; and during the 2010/2011 training season, while fundraising, he helped found Strangers No More Cycling with the help of friend/cycling teammate Eric Shangle and our team sponsors Brad Senesac (of Gemini Group) and Peter Bolognese (of Proforma BrandX). This team consisted of more than 20 cyclists passionate against the fight against HIV and its stigma , aiding by raising money to support the resources in helping to provide health, wellness and working towards a cure.

By the 2011/2012 season, when “I brought the team back together,” Strangers No More Cycling had already increased its membership to over 30 cyclists “all working towards the same goal”. And between both years, the team was able to raise over $200,000 for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation in support of its resources.

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“While working on this album and meeting so many amazing people through AIDS/LifeCycle between the two years, I found myself really wanting to get even more involved,” L10 recalled. So when an opportunity arose, “I decided to leave the corporate world in April of 2012 to finish my album and focus on my music career. At the same time, I wanted to become more involved with helping to provide support to our community when dealing with HIV and other STIs; so I became a California state certified HIV testing counselor and currently am volunteering with the Alliance Health Project.”

L10 is currently finalizing details and looking forward to a promo tour kicking off in May. “It’ll be a busy year of new music and promoting it, and HIV counseling, but I’m smiling from ear to ear loving every minute of it,” he said. “God gives us a great ability to live life to the fullest as we each see it, and I look at every day with that same view.”

Know more about the Filipino American L10’s official Website, or visit the artist’s Facebook page.

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