Shea Diamond - "I am Her"
I was just made aware of this incredible human. Her sound is raw and authentic, and her passion is as vibrant as she is. It’s incredible to see a member of the LGBTQ community thriving so well after so many possible setbacks. Hers is the kind of career potential that gets you excited just because it’s so powerful.
I first read about Shea in a Billboard article. Here’s some if, to give you a bit of her backstory:
“As early as transgender singer Shea Diamond can remember, she identified as a girl -- and was punished for it. “I got whoopings for walking like a girl, for using the restroom sitting down like a girl,” says Diamond today. “Even singing when I was little, I remember being corrected: ‘Put some bass in your voice.’ It was like robbing me of the only joy I had in this world.” She ran away from home in Flint, Mich., as a teen, and at age 20 robbed a convenience store at gunpoint -- desperate, she says, to fund her gender-affirming surgery. According to records, she was incarcerated at various men’s correctional facilities in Michigan from 1999 until 2009.
Behind bars, Diamond found her voice as a songwriter. After her release, she relocated to New York and entered the world of trans activism. When songwriter-to-the-stars Justin Tranter saw a video of Diamond singing a cappella at a Trans Lives Matter event, he reached out. Now, he’s executive producer of Diamond’s first EP, Seen It All, a collection of roof-rattling anthems showcasing Diamond’s soulful voice that comes out June 29 on Asylum Records.
In person, Diamond, 40, is radiant, reveling in one of several “firsts”: She has never been photographed for a magazine before. Eliah Seton, president of Warner Music Group’s Alternative Distribution Alliance (which includes Asylum), says the label is putting a strong push behind Diamond, and Asylum president Kenny Weagly adds that single “American Pie” has been targeted for synchs on TV and beyond.
“Shea transcends labels and limitations, even genre,” says Weagly. “She isn't just an amazing trans or LGBTQ artist, but an amazing artist overall.” After a hard journey, Diamond has a team on her side. “Frankly, when I close my eyes,” says Seton, “I see her performing onstage at the Grammys.””
So today, with thunder in my hips, I choose Shea Diamond’s “I am Her” as my, make then see you, stand up, stand out, song for a, yours is the power, life runs through you, the arc of history bends towards justice, Wednesday.