Featured Artist: Skin Skinny

by July 22, 2013
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Skin Skinny (born Deborah Dyer) is the lead singer from the now active band Skunk Anansie. Skin Skinny, known by the stage name Skin, is an English singer and occasional model. She is currently the lead vocalist of English band Skunk Anansie. And to be completely honest, I’ve never seen a band like this utilize every one of their talents, to get to where they are, as opposed to depending on their sex appeal and a falsified persona. And don’t get me wrong, we all take a little part in at least dipping a toe in the murky (yet strangely, and not surprisingly seductive) waters of raunch culture, but it’s nice to get a break. Mavis Bayton, author of Frock Rock, an academic book about women musicians in Britain says that “women like Skin, Natacha Atlas, Yolanda Charles, Mary Genis, and Debbie Smith are now acting as crucial role models for future generations of black women.”

Although her sexuality is widely referred to in the media, Skin herself is often very shy of describing herself. This has led to some rather wild conclusions being drawn by the press, who choose to portray her in quite different ways than she actually sees herself, as the following segment of an interview for a university student paper shows: “As of late, Skunk has leaked into the American consciousness, propelled by an appearance in Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days. They have been called everything from punk to funk-rock to hard core.” Skin, herself, has been likened to a giant punk queen: A lesbian (so they say), militant, aggressive, intensive female. The singer has been said to be a little perplexed with this image. Skin began her music career in Skunk Anansie, a band often grouped as part of the britrock movement in the UK. In 2001 the band decided to split. Ace released a solo album entitled Still Hungry, Mark became a replacement drummer for the band Feeder and Skin went on to pursue a solo career. After Skunk Anansie split, Skin released her debut solo album Fleshwounds. The album was toned down from her Skunk Anansie days and did not gain the same acclaim from Skunk Anansie fans. She even ditched her trademark bald look and grew her hair into a boyish crop.

My own sexuality was a journey for me (and a complicated one at that). I grew up in an extremely Christian-conservative household where it was assumed everyone was straight and if you weren’t, it wasn’t talked about. But this is the music, that in a way—it kinda helps you through it. I had grown up in a straight Christian household, so it never occurred to me that I could be gay. I thought I was just going through a phase. Then towards the end of the year it dawned on me that I would really like to kiss this girl and I might be gay. Then once I realized it, it was a bit of a relief, really. That’s what rock culture is. A culture of comfort, wildness, acceptance, distance, separation and unity – Thanks to a hardcore, spiraling voice and to her strong personality, Skin won the stage and the media attention. I adore their music and think Skin is absolutely beautiful and so damned talented.


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