“I Just Wanna Make Love To You” - by Sophie deLightful
This written piece was commissioned by Midsumma in April 2020 as a response to the mass loss of the Melbourne queer arts industry (due to COVID-19). This blog is part of a series of works from our LGBTQIA+ arts and culture community that gives Midsumma audiences an insight into the practice of the queer arts and helps to make queer arts and cultures more accessible to diverse audiences in this time of social distancing and uncertainty.
Having produced her own cabaret events since 2015 and currently working with a range of local groups and organisations, Sophie deLightful is rapidly gaining a reputation in the cabaret community for her professionalism, efficiency, motivation and respect for her artists.
MEDIA: “I Just Wanna Make Love To You” - Etta James
~ by Sophie deLightful
Despite being unquestionably bisexual from an explorative young age, it took me a number of years for my creative endeavours to accurately reflect this fact. It wasn’t something intentional, nor really observed. Actually, it wasn’t until my girlfriend at the time asked me after a show: “Why do you always perform about looking for your Prince Charming or Mr Right?”
Of course, she was completely right. While I didn’t deny my sexuality, I was not using performance as a vehicle to be seen or heard by that particular community. I guess, I wasn’t taking advantage of my position on stage to normalise bisexuality.
Incredibly, it was only in the last year or so that I even discovered the word “biphobia”. It jarred me at first, but upon investigation I was stunned to discover that the behaviour I’d encountered wasn’t just “part of growing up”. It was biphobia.
Looking back to that conversation with my girlfriend, I re-assessed my actions up to that moment. Had I been unknowingly insecure about my sexuality? Was there an underlying fear of judgement or segregation from my audience? To this day, I’m still not even sure of the answers to those questions but I have made an important step.
In January 2019, I co-produced my first show for Midsumma, The Odditorium, alongside The Quizzical Mr Jeff. It was the first time I’d created something entirely geared for a queer audience. There was an act I’d been itching to make, based on the Etta James classic I Just Wanna Make Love To You. Her voice in this track is so raw, so raunchy, so sassy… but of course, the lyrics reek of outdated, heteronormative behaviour set in a patriarchal world. It was a perfect opportunity to broach new terrain, beyond mentioning my sexuality in passing or singing the odd song about vaginas.
I rewrote the lyrics to focus on my desire to make love to anyone, of any gender or lack thereof, and my appreciation and respect for people being true to themselves. It featured as the explosive opening act in the show, and it certainly packed a punch. Revisiting the comparative versions now, it’s ironic that I used this track to “come out” on stage, given its original lyrical intent. But I feel its impact is powerful for not only me but those who hear it, vocally and emotionally. Now when I sing this song, I feel seen, heard and most of all, proud.
~ to find out more about Sophie deLightful visit sophiedelightful.com