Everybody is Somebody
By Kylie Cooper
About two weeks ago – if your general following on social media consists of local folk – you probably will have noticed bright colors of hot pink and electric yellow flash across your screen as your thumb continuously scrolled. The image was the cover art for a local artist’s newest musical endeavor.
Quentin Arispe, a self-proclaimed genderless queen, has embarked on a journey they had previously yet to explore. But, before we can talk about where Quentin is today, we must first take a trip down memory lane. The funniest part about the whole thing? Their musical expedition started truly by mistake.
“I did musical theatre for half of my life,” Quentin explains as they recall back to a different time in life – a time that most of you will probably recognize them as Sebastian from Harbor Playhouse's production of The Little Mermaid. “I had no intentions of ever being a vocal artist. My uncle owned Hacienda Records, so when I was little, I would go during the summer and just mess around with the piano, writing little songs that we would record on CDs.”
It wasn’t until 2016, when Quentin started going to ArtWalk each month, that they stumbled into the studio over at Produce. They first met Kinderr, another local artist here in town, and knew they would make a great match. Quentin had been working on a musical and wanted help recording the tracks. However, Kinderr saw the potential, and asked if Quentin ever wrote music for themselves: The answer was yes.
“Vienna,” Quentin’s first full EP, came out shortly after. But, they still viewed music as more of a hobby and most certainly didn’t view themselves as an “artist.” It was early 2018 when the commitment to a full-length album was made, and in October of 2018, “June” came out and by early 2019, Quentin began working with local producer, El Dusty, and the crew over at Produce. It was then when Quentin’s life truly changed.
They describe their first real conversation with Dusty being an awkward encounter, taking place in Dusty’s living room by chance. Quentin had decided to wander the space in Produce one day and found themselves in Dusty’s apartment upstairs. They eventually set up a meeting with one another and from there, a flow of advice came through the floodgates and one of Quentin’s most cherished mentorships was formed. “He is the kindest, most humble human being I have ever met,” Quentin says in regard to their relationship with the producer. “I am so grateful to him for believing in me. The whole [Produce] team is my family, and in a weird twist of events, this group of very straight dudes has helped me be more comfortable in my own skin; and I think i have done the same for them.”
This brings us now to the present, where they have currently released the first single off their upcoming EP. A time where they have had to figure out how to separate Quentin as a person, and Quentin as an artist. The release of their newest single (and what we can only guess will be a consistent theme throughout the evolving EP as a whole), is the expression and celebration of individuality. “This single is an anthem for self-identity,” they said. “I am not here to push my ideas or lifestyle on you; I am here to help you understand and love yourself, all of yourself. Being a queer artist of color, most times our music doesn’t reach a large community of people because of various social issues. But, my goal is to break that [mindset] by creating a song and music that is digestible to anyone."
In an ever evolving, local music scene here in the Coastal Bend, Quentin’s addition to it is not only welcomed, but needed. At a time in our world where individuality is not always celebrated, Quentin’s music does the exact opposite. “I want people to bump a queer artist like me, no matter their race, gender, social status, or anything. I want men to know it’s okay to be sensitive and women to know it’s okay to be powerful, and all those in between to know they are heard and loved and represented.”
And, similar to the vast variety of people who (not ever having met Quentin) shared the single all over social media the day it came out in an outpour of support, the message the song brings to the table is one of diversity, universal understanding, and an acknowledgement that, at the end of the day, everybody is somebody.