Katy Kirby’s Blue Raspberry: A Journey of Self-Discovery Through Queer Love

katy kirby

Katy Kirby ‘s upcoming album Blue Raspberry, set for release on January 26th via ANTI-, signifies a profound journey into self-discovery and queer love. The title track, which originated as a songwriting experiment, marks Kirby’s foray into a genre deeply influenced by the heterosexual hopeless-romantic country songs prevalent in her Nashville surroundings.

Interestingly, when Kirby penned this track, she identified as straight. The song emerged as an imaginative exploration of loving a woman, delving into the diverse and intricate constructions of femininity, often misunderstood as “artificial.” Kirby’s inspiration stemmed from the likes of Dolly Parton, who famously embraced her exaggerated persona with a sense of defiance and authenticity. The track, “Blue Raspberry,” celebrates this ethos with lines like, “I don’t care if whatever you are is found in nature / You hold the patent for that flavor.”

The creation of “Blue Raspberry” coincided with a pivotal realization for Kirby – her attraction towards women. This revelation soon led to her first queer relationship, and the album unfolds as a chronicle of this romance, from its passionate beginnings to its poignant conclusion. Writing became a tool for Kirby to navigate and understand these newfound feelings, a process she describes as stumbling into a new, unexplored part of herself.

Kirby’s second full-length album, Blue Raspberry, following her 2021 indie hit ‘Cool Dry Place’, showcases a shift to a more contemplative and dreamy sound, filled with lush arrangements. “I felt like I should honor the spirit of these songs, and let them be big, beautiful love songs, and not try to complicate that or to be squeamish about it,” Kirby reflects on the album’s queer love songs.

Raised in a small Texas town within an evangelical Christian community, Kirby’s upbringing was marked by a gentle faith that steered clear of intolerance. Her homeschooling years were filled with reading, play-acting, and music, fostering her early artistic inclinations. Though her exposure to secular music was minimal, teenage years introduced her to artists like Sufjan Stevens and The Strokes, igniting her songwriting passion.

Kirby’s academic journey took her to Belmont University in Nashville, initially for songwriting, but later shifted to English, feeling overshadowed by her peers’ seriousness and formal training. Nonetheless, she continued her musical pursuits, leading to her debut EP Juniper in 2018 and subsequent rise in the indie scene with ‘Cool Dry Place’.

Collaborating closely with co-producers Alberto Sewald and Logan Chung, who also worked on her debut album, Blue Raspberry embodies Kirby’s personal growth and newfound intimacy in her songwriting. Her keen observational lyricism coupled with a tender and sometimes strikingly intimate narrative stands out, as seen in tracks like “Party Of The Century”.

A recurring theme in the album is the critique of the artificiality-authenticity dichotomy, especially its impact on women, as Kirby explores in songs like “Cubic Zirconia”. The album resonates with themes of queer attraction and experience, with Kirby focusing on the lighter, more joyous aspects of her queer journey.

In Blue Raspberry, Katy Kirby has crafted an album that not only narrates her personal evolution but also offers a fresh, uplifting perspective on queerness and love. It stands as a testament to her artistic growth and a beacon for those exploring similar paths.