Vivek Shraya is a synth pop artist from Toronto who has shared the stage with artists such as Tegan and Sara, Team Dresch and Melissa Ferrick and who seems well on his way to becoming a Renaissance man. I immediately felt a kinship with Vivek after checking out an Xtra! interview with him where he expressed that “queer visibility is paramount” and also after noticing that he is originally from Edmonton, Alberta, which is incidentally one of the two Canadian towns I have ever visited.
Aside from releasing five albums of electropop, Vivek has recently released a collection of 20 short stories, God Loves Hair. The official release description of it states,
God Loves Hair is an exploration of sexuality, gender, racial politics, religion and belonging through the eyes of a tender and intellectually curious child. These twenty short stories follow the protagonist into realms he sometimes doesn’t understand but he emerges with the poignant insight, sophistication, and honesty that only the voice of a young mind can convey. Each story is accompanied by award winning illustrations by local artist, Juliana Neufeld.
I haven’t gotten my hands on a copy of it yet, but am definitely planning to for three main reasons. One, it’s full of sweet illustrations, as you can see in this teaser video of it. Two, it’s a coming of age/coming out story of sorts, and I love those. Three, from initial observation, Vivek’s social views seem to be right on par with mine, and I am all for supporting queer artists.
As Vivek states in an interview with Gaysi Family, “For me, the exciting part about being queer is the right to choose who we love and recognizing that those choices aren’t always going to, and most importantly, don’t need to fall neatly into one box.” We at G-P fall quite a bit outside of all boxes and are more than happy that there are musicians and other writers who feel the same way. If you’re looking to pick up a new book or some music, definitely check out God Loves Hair or Vivek’s newest album Keys & Machines.