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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

RUBBY CHANNELS DOMINICAN MASCULINITY & FEMININITY IN 'CONFIESA'

Following his breakout lead single, "Know Me," rising singer Rubby returns this month with "Confiesa," which dives deeper into the nuances of his queer Dominican identity. The song title, a direct translation to "Confession," is "both an invitation and a request to someone across the dance floor to indulge in a fantasy, regardless of whether the interaction would be forgotten," he says of the sparse, spacey track. 

Rubby challenged himself to write the song entirely in Spanish, having never done so before. He says he wanted to add to the conversation about what Dominican artists can create and pen an original track he wished he had while growing up. Where much of the music he listened to as a young kid centered on beautiful women and hetero romance in the club, Rubby's "Confiesa" is without gendered pronouns—something everyone can relate to, he says. 

The artist teamed up, once again, with Adam Kelley (Young Man), who sent Rubby the track back in November. The instrumental is a hybrid of atmospheric electronica and soft reggaeton, with an ethereal intro that builds as dembo drums drive "Confiesa" forward. "I was really into the idea of plugging deliberately soft or even weak sounds into a dance music template," Kelley says, creating a track that recognizes the club as a space for both sexual liberation and dark emotion. "I tried to find a way to evoke that tension by using drum patterns that are intimately associated with dancing and euphoria, while keeping the rest of the instrumentation really subdued." 


The "Confiesa" video, co-produced by BenDen Productions, elevates Kelley's intentions with an erotic queer storyline, where Rubby inhabits both masculine and feminine qualities as El Espiritu de Anaisa. "It was said that Anaisa, the patron saint of love, money and general happiness, would possess men and have them act out all their homosexual fantasies," Rubby says. "Homosexual men would claim being possessed by the spirit to hide their sexuality and distance themselves from their acts." 

Rubby wears a traditional "tipico" Dominican dress, which his mother brought back for him, and holds the Diablo Cojuelos mask throughout. A staple in Dominican ethnic art, the masks are believed to transform someone's spirit and represent higher beings who influence our lives. Where Rubby's look is noticeably femme, the demonic mask takes the form of the masculine—duality that Rubby knows well. "By wearing the dress, I did not only want to deconstruct notions of masculinity, but situate it within a traditional cultural context," he says. 


Kelley experiences "Confiesa" as an extremely intense internal drama. "You're imagining this other person is seeing you and feeling the same attraction, even if it's purely a fantasy," he says, emphasizing that helpless, alienated feeling of waiting for another person to make the first move. At the end of the track, Rubby unfurls the lyric, "I won't see you in the morning, it doesn't matter," which he improvized during an early recording session. "This has always struck me as tragic, because it means closing the door on an opportunity forever," Kelley says. "Even if that opportunity never really existed in the first place." 

SOURCE: OUT DOT COM

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