Queer Singer/Songwriter Criibaby Finds Pride and Joy at the Intersection of Tech and Music
Here at Mozilla, we are the first to admit the internet isn’t perfect, but we are also quick to point out that the internet is pretty darn magical. The internet opens up doors and opportunities, allows for people to connect with others, and lets everyone find where they belong — their corners of the internet. We all have an internet story worth sharing. In My Corner of the Internet, we talk with people about the online spaces they can’t get enough of, what we should save in Pocket to read later and what sites and forums shaped them.
With Pride celebrations taking place throughout June, we’re featuring LGBTQ+ leaders this month as part of our My Corner of the Internet series. In this next installment, queer music artist Criibaby shares her love of the intersection of music and tech, her process to creating music and how her art extends to shoe design.
What is your favorite corner of the internet?
I have a special place in my heart for a website called soundtrap which is basically an online software that lets you record songs and collaborate with other artists from anywhere you can connect to the internet. Before I had access to a real recording studio and long before I ever released any music as Criibaby, I was writing demos at my kitchen table after work. It reminded me of when I was a kid when I would spend hours after school making mashups and recording songs on garageband. In my early twenties, I was going through a pretty hard time processing grief, and getting in touch with my inner child in that way felt, well, just right. I have tons of voice memos on my phone, probably into the three digits at this point, and soundtrap was one of the first places I could put them all together and get back into multi-track recording. Years ago, I sent a soundtrap demo I’d recorded on my phone to this guy called Pandaraps who was making really inspiring, introspective queer lofi hip hop. Thanks to that demo, I got an invitation to the studio he was recording at, and was introduced to my now-producer Surfer Dave.
What is an internet deep dive that you can’t wait to jump back into?
I always try to tap into Kiefer and knxwledge’s twitch streams whenever a notification pops up that they’re live. Those are two producers that I really look up to, so it’s cool to go behind the scenes with them and learn about their creative process or hear what they’ve been working on lately. I’ve also been learning a bit about web3 stuff in discords like Mashibeats hosted by Marc De Clive Lowe, and StemsDAO which hosts a producer remix game that I’m hoping to submit to once I finish the LP I’m in the middle of writing. I’m super interested in the intersection of music and tech, so while I’m totally new to that scene, I’m curious to see where it goes.
What is the one tab on your browser you always regret closing?
Any Bill Wurtz video. Watching one always leads to watching 100, so it’s a bit of a rabbit hole. But with those catchy melodies and ridiculous graphics, how could you not get sucked in for like an hour at a time? Someone asked me if I consider myself a Bill Wurtz superfan and I’d say the answer is a resounding yes. A few years ago I recreated the Converse from the Bill Wurtz classic “Christmas isn’t real” and gave a pair to my partner as a birthday present. Not gonna lie, I’m pretty proud of that. That’s peak gifting.
Who is an LGBTQ+ person with a very online presence that is a role model for you?
Two words: Queer memes. Shout out to instagram meme dealers @hypedykes, @tofuminati, @themmememes and @bi_astrology — I’d call this niche “relatable queer chaos” and their memes are truly some of the best in the game. This breed of hyper-specific, exaggerated surrealist queer commentary that pulls no punches and hits the nail directly on the head brings me endless joy. It’s weirdly affirming to know my emotional rollercoaster of a life is right on track, according to these absurd lil windows into queer life circa 2022.
What can you not stop talking about on the internet right now?
My new Criibaby EP “crii” came out on June 10 so I’m grateful for these songs to be out in the world! One thing that distinguishes me from other indie artists is that I write all my songs without any gender-specific lyrics. No binary pronouns, no heteronormativity, all written from an openly queer perspective as part of a conscious effort to create more inclusive music. That was the intent behind my debut popsoul EP love songs for everyone and I got some really sweet notes from fellow queer folks who said it really resonated with them and made them feel seen, so I’m excited to be releasing more gender-neutral music. (It also premiered in Billboard and played on BBC 6 Music, which was crazy validating! Turns out critics can be nice??)
With love songs for everyone I wanted to send a message that no matter how you identify, this feel-good, empowering music is for you — and you are welcome here. Exist! Freely! My new EP is pretty different —- for starters it’s a lot more personal, and some of it comes from a bit of a darker place because that’s just honestly where I was at when I wrote these songs. And I didn’t want to hide from those emotions. I think as queer people, we feel all this pressure to put on a good face as a way to say, hey, I’m queer and I’m thriving! But sometimes you’re just not ok… and that’s ok. I guess that’s my main message with this EP: frankly, you don’t always have to have your sh*t together. Which is something I’m still trying to learn for myself. Sonically it’s inspired by a mix of neo soul, lofi, jazz, and alternative aesthetics, but I wouldn’t really define it as any of those. As someone who is often assumed to be straight based on how I appear and present, I want to show the world that queerness doesn’t have any one look, sound, or genre. They’re some of the best songs I’ve ever made and I’m really proud of them. I hope you check it out and let me know what you think!
What was the first online community you engaged with?
Yikes, this is really embarrassing, but I think it would have been Yahoo Answers. If you don’t know what that is (good), it was basically like Reddit on training wheels, but … worse than whatever you’re imagining? I can’t remember everything I posted (thank god) but I almost certainly asked strangers on the internet if they thought I might be gay. Good times.
I also got really into Daytrotter, a website for this studio in Illinois that hosted recording sessions with indie artists, kinda like NPR’s Tiny Desk, before that was a thing. I found a lot of new music from people I’d never heard of that way, and this was during my absolute raging hipster phase, so it fueled a ton of music discovery. In classic hipster fashion, I was really into listening to stuff my friends hadn’t heard of. That and Radiohead, tons of Radiohead.
What articles and videos are in your Pocket waiting to be read/watched right now?
Them released a new queer music monthly that I’m excited to read up on and listen through. I hope to be included in one of those someday — it would really mean a lot to me to be recognized by that magazine.
If you could create your own corner of the internet what would it look like?
I’m working on it! Right now I’m building up a Patreon-style group of VIP fans that get free merch, secret listening parties ahead of my release dates, and eventually backstage access to my live shows. DM me on instagram if you want to come along for the ride— it’s free, and shaping up to be a really sweet community!
Rising queer artist Criibaby invites listeners to look deeper within themselves with her genre-bending, intimate music. Using a unique songwriting method she describes as possessing “no names, no genders, only the feelings, only the bare truths,” Criibaby’s songs contain only lyrics without binary pronouns, written from an openly queer perspective in a conscious effort to create more inclusive music. Drawing upon neo soul, lofi, jazz, and alternative aesthetics to form something entirely her own, Criibaby’s intricate layers of delicate, emotional vocals and emotionally bare lyricism come together to form a new kind of introspective sonic escapism. You can find her on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and can listen to her new EP “crii” on all streaming platforms.