“What’s normal anyway?” ask Akron, Ohio singer/songwriter duo, DreamStates, in their new single ‘Normal’. “As we say in the song, you’re more than any stereotype.” DreamStates is equal parts the creative handiwork of Madeline Eckhart and Natalie Grace Martin. While they previously honed harmonies working together in Natalie’s live ensemble during her “She/Her/Hers Tour” — including a critically acclaimed performance at Akron’s inaugural Pride Festival last year — they quickly learned a newly-inspired iteration of working together could be so much more than just a band.
“We have a really strong mutual desire to expand the roster of transgender musicians in the entertainment industry,” DreamStates explain. “For us, it goes far beyond our personal musical goals and over into the realm of activism, equality and empowerment for what is an embattled community of beautiful people. We like to say, DreamStates is ‘love made aural’.”
Speaking of love, “Normal” was an act of self-love and -care by Natalie this past winter as she celebrated her annual milestone. “This song was a birthday present to myself,” reflects Natalie. “I wanted to write something that felt like a gift to myself. I made sure that it included everything I love. The song came together through a combination of FL Studio 10, Audacity, and sheer musical determination,” she laughs. “I composed the whole thing in a single 10-hour sitting.”
“The world’s never had a hugely successful and popular transgender female pop vocalist. The biggest challenge we face (sharing our music) could be simply introducing people to the trans feminine voice. I know my tone fluctuates; I have moments of masculinity and moments of femininity in what is, overall, a totally androgynous vocal performance."
The video is polished and engaging, which is especially notable considering the creative rigging DreamStates created to pull it together. “I used an everyday kitchen mixer — a whisk — propped up in a small metal bucket to hold my iPhone in place,” Natalie laughs, detailing her impromptu ‘cameraman.’ “I then used Vegas Pro 12 with the very multi-talented Madeline to edit it. We simply wanted to show a transgender individual giving a message of hope, love, and positivity,” DreamStates share. “We think we got there.”