We recently sat down with Lucas Silveira (Tumblr), lead singer of The Cliks (Facebook, Twitter), to discuss their new and long-awaited release, Black Tie Elevator and his personal journey of transformation and transitioning. Silveira was first “out” male transgender to be signed to a major record label but at the heart of Silveira is a constant creator whose passion and truth are always a shining example for everyone on this journey of lfie:
Congrats on your new record release today! Take us behind the scenes, how did this album come about which has been four years in the making?
Lucas Silveira: Thank you! Behind the scenes began with the simplicity of real life. I did some living and from that came the songs. I developed a lot as a person and that always reflects in my writing so the songs I started to write after I hit a certain level of, well, maturity I guess, are what I started to develop on for the record itself. When I had most of the material written, I approached my good friend Hill Kourkoutis and asked her if she would be interested in producing and it pretty much started to happen all after that. The songs were all taken into the studio, we demoed them and we found a cohesive sound for the record. Also, for the first time in years I collaborated in writing with Hill and out of that came the lead track “Savanna”, “No Good Do’er” and a complete revamp of a song I had written on my own called “Gone” that just wasn’t working in the place it was in. Hill just completely turned the song around.
What has the transition from female to male been like for you – what do you feel has been the most challenging part of transitioning but also the most rewarding?
LS: This is an extremely complex question that I truly can’t answer in a few words but if I were to sum up the first three years of my transition, I’d say it was like walking through a tunnel of darkness towards the light. I’ve changed so much and interestingly enough, my physicality, which everyone seems to want to focus on the most, was the least of my changes. I think at first I thought my vocal change would be the most challenging but when that settled it was the emotional changes. Having to relearn (and still learning) who I am, how I run inside. I also experienced more loss than I ever imagined. This wasn’t and still isn’t a walk in the park. I find challenges daily, one of which is that my ability to concentrate is horrible and I forget everything. I also can’t cry anymore and anyone who tells me it’s some internal machismo I have internally can suck an egg. I feel the emotions, they just don’t follow through to tears.
What would you want others to understand most about the transgendered community?
LS: We’re all completely different people with one similar aspect. It’s like asking, what would people who feel they are born into their biological gender want others to understand about them. We’re not a clumped up portion of humanity, we are part of humanity as a whole. I’m not a unicorn. I’m not special or different. I think when people start to realize that we’re completely normal, functioning members of society, they will leave the idea that we are abnormal at the door step.
I agree. Not only have you personally transitioned but you also moved to Brooklyn for the creation of the new record…what do you love most about this area? What are some cool spots you’d recommend to someone visiting NYC that you lived while living in Brooklyn?
LS: Brooklyn is filled with artists and you can feel that energy everywhere. I loved that about NYC. It was almost like I couldn’t even try to hold my creativity if I wanted to. I exploded when I got there with writing. It was amazing that way. What I didn’t necessarily like about it was how isolating it could feel sometimes and how artists sometimes end up losing themselves there in the struggle to survive financially. It’s so expensive. It was great to lose myself in for a while but I don’t think it’s a place for working artists long term.
How would you describe living in the Toronto area as a transgendered man?
LS: It’s an amazing city for people like me. There is a huge community here of trans people and trans allies and oddly, I have found more of my allies outside of the LGBT community than within it, but that’s my personal experience. I have many trans friends and queer friends. We’re all over this city. I love living here.
What causes are you most passionate about that you’d like to share with our readers?
LS: Love. Simply. I may sound like a cheese ball but seriously, if people just truly carried unconditional love inside them, this planet would be in much better shape.
What I love about you is your live your life with no apologies and transparent honesty – you are so diverse in your gifts and talents – what motivates you to keep going and creating?
LS: Well, isn’t that so nice of you to say! Thank you. My motivation is actually pretty simple. It’s innate. I can’t stop doing it. I think if I stopped creating I would actual perish. I have also decided that money isn’t a motivator in this industry because there’s not much of it to go around anymore so if you’re going to be any kind of artist these days, you have to really love what you do. So in that, I realized that living a real life is what helps create good art. So I have to really step back once in a while and just make sure I do that to continue to be motivated.
What’s next for you on your journey?
LS: Career wise, it’s all about touring and finding ways to promote the new CD. Personally, who knows? I just try to move along everyday with an open mind and see what life brings me because Lord knows you can’t control any of this so you may as well enjoy the good moments and try to get through the hard moments with grace and strength.
For more on Lucas Silveira, and The Cliks, visit http://www.thecliks.com. You can also purchase Black Tie Elevator on iTunes and check The Cliks out on the road, including at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, NY on May 3rd!