We had the good fortune of connecting with Kenney Fitzpatrick and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kenney, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I had started The Q pre-covid originally as “The Qreview” and as a way to discover and connect with the music being created by the global LGBTQ community. I never had out queer musicians to connect with growing up, and I desperately needed that as a music fan and as a young gay kid. And really, I first started because, to be frank, there were no visibly queer artists in music aside from Elton and a few others. And I knew that was a complete falsehood. You couldn’t tell me that there were no gay, lesbian, trans, bi artists out there and that their numbers weren’t massive. So I set out to discover who they were, what their stories were and what their music was all about. And what I found was a literal artistic legion.
Fast forward to Covid. The world was in lockdown. I had spent a solid 20-ish months discovering these artists and connecting with them. I created a radio show, a podcast and a video show to get their names, faces and music out into the world. I found more and more artists with every hour spent searching on social media, websites, reddit etc. And not only was there a burgeoning sea of queer artists and talent, there was a desperate need for connection, community and support.
So knowing that Covid was not going to be a quick turnover, I decided to use the time to start building a bigger framework that was both a business but also a support mechanism and a vehicle for change. Marrying my experience as an advocate and educator with my background in business management to create something new and different that wasn’t connected to commercialism and didn’t have the challenges and hurdles of a non-profit. A blended model more in line with a B corp approach.
And being a very niche and specific idea, I ultimately also knew I would be tackling a whole new set of challenges in an industry that wasn’t very flexible. But with that was a passion to help and an understanding that, if change was going to happen, the work needed to be done and someone had to start somewhere. And I went into it knowing full well that I may be doing the work, making the mistakes and learning as I go, with a potential lack of monetary or revenue success, so that those who come along after will have less challenges, and more opportunity to create something even greater. It has to start somewhere in order for things to move forward.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve always been involved in music, creative design, education and advocacy. They are the components to my work life that have been constant and what my passions are fueled by. I’ve spent so much of my life in Post Secondary education, but all the while still always being very much submersed in what was happening in the world of music. Working with students and training them on how to source artists for events and work to bring live music to their campus gave me a very different perspective of the industry and its operations. I noticed the lack of representation for female, Queer and BIPOC artists very early.
Knowing that music is a numbers, ego and intimidation game and still very much an old boys club, I know I’m fighting an uphill battle trying to change the narrative and fight for stronger representation for queer artists. That’s why I create vehicles for them outside of the regular industry to get the music heard and their names known. Currently I have a weekly radio show that broadcasts out of Canada, on 2 stations in Australia, one in South Africa and one in the UK. These stations have been integral to raising awareness. And there are more I hope to collaborate with.
Likewise the streaming app OutAt.TV has been a phenomenal help, providing me with the ability to create a video show to showcase the music videos of artists while also having them on as guests. And of course the original podcast has been a great success for showcasing artist. The Q32, the Q’s weekly LGBTQ music chart has given a new face to some artists and has allowed artists to engage with their fan base as it’s the fans who vote.
And the Q’s playlist series has helped artists discover one another and has been a great source for collaborations. Where once artists struggled to have themselves heard, collaboratively they have been able to begin forming networks across socials to increase their imprint.
Having had that early experience in music from such a different perspective has allowed me to think differently and approach things from a more humanist and critical lens. It’s also given me the confidence to approach anyone and build relationships based on trust and genuine support.
The challenges of navigating such a (at times) harsh industry has been extensive. There is much suspicion and mistrust. Music isn’t a very “safe” industry if you’re not considered part of the pack or even a potential. It can leave many talented individuals jaded and feeling not included. And it can also fracture already marginalized communities, pitting them against each other when really there is much more success in coming together. Like I said, challenges. Plus the toxicity of social media makes artists feel the need to be present even when it is causing more harm than good.
And even with all of that, and all the rest, the work that needs to be done is vital. And not just for music artists, but all creatives within the queer community. So that’s where The Q is headed, to be a source of community and support for all creatives. To lift them up, introduce them to new audiences, and in turn educate our 2SLGBTQIA+ communities about the artistry of our queer creatives and to encourage support for them.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If it’s in LA I truly would have to defer to the amazingly talented music and visual artist Sean Augustine (AKA Glass Battles) for a proper full spectrum of best spots but…it would include:
– Cool cafes
– Craft beer/cideries
– Live music venues
– Amazing patio’s for afternoon vino
– Sand, surf and sun
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shout out goes to my husband who puts up with my wild and ideas even when he knows that I’m probably going to collapse from all the extra work I’ve created for myself. He believes in me and knows if I’m passionate about it, it’s worth doing.
Alongside him I have a wonderful volunteer by the name of Dusk who took a chance at watching a queer music festival I pulled together 2 years ago and stayed along to help write some amazing articles for the Q website (curatedbyq.com)
I also want to send a shout out to all the artists who graciously have spent time with me and have trusted me with their stories.
And finally to another music super fan, who has been a confidant, sounding board and friend these past few years, Douglas Evasick of the Dougystyle Club blog. He’s 100% a queer music friend and a Grunge music encyclopaedia. There are few who know the depths and brilliance of 90’s Grunge quite like Doug!
Other: New Queer Friday Playlist https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6WmCVnyGDVsMGmxvEh1C2d?si=bcc7c81c77a44550
Kenney Fitzpatrick (arms crossed photo) by Amy Eaton IG: @amy.takes.pictures