Cabiria (CJ) Jones is at the forefront of the queer electro-pop music revolution. She’s traveled the US and Europe with her soulful, emotional vocals, met with light, basic beats and a lo-fi appeal. CJ and the dolls and other Crunks Not Dead artists are redefining queer music as a platform for political and artistic expression.
CJ uses her music as a vehicle to for exploring gender. When asked about her experience being visibly gender non-conforming she laughed and said, “As long as I identified as a gay white male I had right… I’ve become more reclusive. I think a lot of gay men can’t place me. I don't throw my sexuality on the table. I don’t like to give people an answer about my sexuality. I can’t blame people for calling me stuff like brother or sir but stuff like that grates on me. I don’t mind so much if you call me sir, but I mind that you assume based on what you see.”
CJ confidence on the stage challenges the audience to refine beauty, “[In Portland] I’ve been welcomed for being different. People are just trying to size me up because I’m letting my hair show, I’m letting my fat rolls show, I’m letting my body show. It’s just a matter of them changing their minds to see that it’s actually beautiful. What I’m trying to present is unique. I’m pretty safe in that area in Portland. I’m probably harder than anybody else about my size.”
CJ’s community remains her muse. She emphasizes the importance of building community and being open to others. She says, “I’ll keep myself visible and hopefully I’m a resource to everybody”. This embracing attitude is what shines through when CJ and the Dolls take to the stage.
CJ wants you to shake your booty on the dance floor. She takes a unique approach to mixing by keeping an eye to the body’s well being. She says that “[Too often] the sound is mixed to get the volume as loud as they can. The result is that it physically exhausts your body. The sounds are way too extreme and loud. So when I mix, I try to be appreciative of that and that’s where I get that sound from”. She wants you to be able to dance as long as you can! She meets this sound with raw energy and biting femme esthetics. She’ll make you want to dance and she’ll make you feel that “it’s not about anything, just letting it all go. It feels good and it feels safe”.
You can learn more about CJ and the Dolls by clicking here: cjandthedolls.com
This article was written by Gender Reel Organizer Vega Darling.