Freddy Freeman
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Freddy Freeman

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"Live music hits a high note at DeVil's"


Freddy Freeman, brings an open mic night for LGBT
performers to DeVil's
by David Hamilton


New Nashville resident and singer/songwriter, Freddy Freeman, has brought a new open mic night for LGBT performers to DeVil's. The next one is a week from today on Thursday, May 26, and repeats on the last Thursday of every month.

Freeman credits his pursuit of his musical dreams to his discovery of open mic gatherings in New York City sponsored by Outmusic, an international Network of LGBT musicians.

"I was doing my music in my room for nobody and I knew I wanted to get more involved in a music scene, but I didn't know how," said Freeman. "The Outmusic open mic was just the environment I needed to take those first steps. I immediately felt welcomed and supported not only as a musician, but as an 'out' musician. I began to make friends, meet peers and make connections that have led to opportunities I might not have had otherwise."

Since attending those first open mics, Freeman has done many shows with his band in the New York area, started a monthly queer music showcase called Q-nity and founded the bear music festival, Bearapalooza, which has traveled from New York to Philadelphia, Seattle and Nashville. In 2004, he was nominated for Outmusician of the year in the Outmusic Awards. Now living in Nashville, Freeman has brought an Outmusic Outloud Open Mic to DeVil's.

"We want all the letters of GLBTQ represented at DeVil's," says Tim Gunnells, a.k.a Angelica DeVil. "Showcasing the music of our community is a great way to show our pride and bring all of us together." "Queers make all kinds of wonderful music," adds Freeman. "DeVil's is a very welcoming space with a great stage and a diverse clientele. It's a wonderful place for the Outmusic Open Mic."

If you are a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist or just love great live music, head to DeVil's the last Thursday of every month. The show runs from 8-10 p.m.
- Church Street Freedom Press


"Independent Voices Sing Out"

By Jason Victor Serinus

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered artists continue to impress with high-quality, independently produced discs that run the gamut from lusciously lavender love songs to catchy compendiums by musicians who just happen to be gay. With major record labels frequently shying away from out artists -- many of the most successful began their careers in the closet -- independently produced discs, usually available at cdbaby.com, remain our community's main source of affirming, spirit raising music.

Some of the discs reviewed below rank at the top of the monthly outvoice.net Top 40 Chart. Since that list, however, is determined by an open net vote, there is no way to assess just how much a disc's position derives from artists' well-organized efforts to drum up votes from fans, friends and thrice-removed cousins. (At least one artist's website contains a direct link to the voting page). More reliable are the annual OutMusic.com awards, the majority of which are judged by panels of respected LGBT music journalists, radio DJs, producers, vocalists, lyricists and composers. ......

Freddy Freeman Waiting for an Echo (www.freddyfreeman.com)
New Yorker Freeman's mp3-downloadable debut CD-R and frequent live performances with his band The Free Men have garnered him quite a following. His eight acoustic tracks, sometimes described as folk-based, range the stylistic gamut to some that push the soft-rock envelope. All are well sung, thoughtful, and quite enjoyable, with all but Chris Wilson's "Broken" penned by Freeman. The disc carries a warning about the use of "fuck" in "Village Crawl," but of greater concern is the tinny sound of a low budget recording. My favorite track is "Strip Me Naked" (down to the soul, smash my ego, millions of pieces ... give me the courage to transcend my compass ... naked of pretense purify my heart). With so much good to offer, let's divert enough from the war economy to provide Freeman with better sonics and printed lyrics next time around.
- Alibi.com June 05-2003


"Bear Nescessity"

by Kevin Spence

When you think of a “bear,” usually you envision a gray bearded man wearing a flannel and jeans. His beer belly protrudes through his open shirt. Completing the scene—a cigar juts out from his mouth and he holds a can of beer. In the traditional sense, the vision would be accurate. But come this Saturday, August 30, you can expect live music, drag bears and most type of any furry character identifying with the more avant-garde ideals of a “bear” at the 2nd Annual Bearapalooza.

“For many years, the stereotypical image of male beauty has been thin, young, and hairless,” said Freddy Freeman, the event organizer and a Metrobears member. “This may be some people’s preference, but much of the gay male landscape is dominated by this image.” The bear community embraces a different ideal of male beauty: stocky to large, hairy, usually with facial hair, young or mature. In essence, bear embraces men as they are, in many forms, shapes and sizes, as they tend to naturally be. Even more importantly, bear typifies an attitude of friendliness, brotherhood, and a comfort with our bodies and our sexuality, he said.

As a part of the Metrobears New York annual Big Apple Bear Fest — a sort of self-described bear circuit party — Bearapalooza offers live musical entertainment downtown. As Wigstock is an offshoot of the typical a ‘60s-style pop culture with drag entertainment, Bearapalooza is a rock subset of the traditional bear culture. “It’s about time we showcased the talent that exists in this community, one that’s given me newfound self respect, a sense of brotherhood, and lots of furry hot guys,” said Freeman about the upcoming show.

Nine back-to-back acts will take the stage at the venerable CBGB’s on the Bowery over Labor Day weekend. Its host this year is WBAI’s Pedro Angel Serrano. “I hired him for one of my festivals last summer. He’s funny and has a dark humor,” said Bearapalooza’s stage and event director, 29-year-old Jade Esteban Estrada. Estrada is no newcomer to theatrics and stage direction either. He directed the 2003 Outmusic Awards, at CBGB’s. “I like to bring what they’re doing and put it in a package for the audience because audiences in New York have so many options,” said Estrada.

CBGB’s lounge, in the basement of the renowned club where Blondie, the Talking Heads and the Ramones got their start, is a perfect home for Bearapalooza.

“ The venue is a literal bear’s den,” said Freeman. “It’s underground and grungy.”

Freeman first got the idea of a bear rock show after going to bars like Splash and the Monster. “Bears presented the whole other side of what ‘beautiful’ for gays is,” he said.

Last year, more than 100 bears and their friends attended the 1st Bearapalooza at Finally Fred’s, a West Village lounge on 12th Street. “We couldn’t fit everyone in,” he said. “There were people under the stairs, outside. It exceeded my expectations,” said Freeman.

The seven hour musical revue will be a continuous performance of singing, spoken word and stage entertainment, starting at 7 p.m. including numerous raffles, vendors, food and drink. In between performances, two drag queens will chat with the audience and taunt the bears. Countess Clover Honey, who Freeman said is a Radical Fairy and also “very elegant and very much a lady,” will MC the show. According to Freeman, her brand of drag is fresh and beautiful, but unpretentious, perfect for this year’s Bearapalooza. Yolanda, this year’s winner of the Out Musician of the Year Award, will co-host the show, alongside Clove.

Kenny Lockwood, the show’s first performer, who is working on his second album, grew up listening to Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Crosby Stills and Nash and James Taylor. Musicians from James Taylor’s band along with Paul Simon and David Bowie’s bands, all recorded with Lockwood on his first album, which is in this genre. Next up is John Valdes & Toshio Mana.

“John is a spoken word artist and slam poet,” said Freeman. Also know as the “ego is him project,” both Valdes and Mana perform together. Valdes has recited poetry at the Nuyorican Poets Café, Bar 13 and NYU. Mana describes himself as “a musician with an identity crisis.”

“Tosh is a bassist,” said fellow performer, Max Christopher. Christopher said his own style is influenced by the Beatles and Pink Floyd, but he doesn’t sound like them exactly. Christopher, who started as a bass player, is a member of MetroBears NY and a former Mr. MetroBear. One of his songs, “My uncle Walter goes waltzing with bears,” was taken from a Dr. Seuss story. His act blends comedy and song together.

Martin Swinger who has “great stage presence,” according to Christopher, sings about bears and bear-related material, and sports a fur-covered CD. He will perform a “tender lullaby” about his lover, said Christopher.

“Money in Both Pockets” is a “traditional Irish, Celtic and Galation folk music” band. Headed by Jay Duckworth, the current Mr. Metrobear, Duckworth is the official “Piper for the city of New Brunswick.” Andy Northrup, written about by Larry Flick of Billboard Magazine, recently received the Stonewall Society 2002 Pride award for music.

“He’s the quintessential Canadian bear,” said Christopher. “He’s very patriotic.” Christopher describes Northrup’s music as country folk-rock and “gutsy.”

From Detroit, Urban Folk Collective is a type of acoustic guitar-based music inspired by hip-hop, sex, parties and DJ’s. “It’s more about pavement and concrete than woods and the trees,” said Freeman.

Freddy is not only the founder and organizer of Bearapalooza, he will also perform. Freddy & the Freeman recently played at Meow Mix, right around the corner from the CBGB’s. “Freddy is an excellent singer and songwriter who has a silky voice,” said Yolanda. Their band will sing their version of “Fat Bottom Girls” by Queen. In his rendition, however, it becomes “Fat Bottom Bears.” “I get to dig at the mainstream community,” said Freeman. Among the lyrics are “I’ve seen every blue-eyed twinkie along the way, take one to those hairy daddies.” Freeman added, “if Freddy [Mercury] were alive, he’d be hanging out at the Dugout.

Yolanda, like Freeman, contributes to the whole Bearapalooza experience, in addition to performing. While she steps aside from hosting the event, she will climb onstage during the last act of the evening. The 2003 winner of “Transgender Favorite” and “CD/Album of the year” Award, Yolanda incorporates drag into her act to challenge the ideas of the stereotypical gender roles. “Yolanda is a perfect marriage between the drag community and the bear community,” said Estrada, “a true musician in or out of drag.” Expect quite a bearish-looking outfit, among others this year as Yolanda said her act will involve multiple costume changes. She did give a brief preview of this year’s garb: hairy chest and back, fully made-up face and an “I Dream of Jeannie ponytail.” Like the multiple acts and Yolanda’s assorted costume changes, the 2nd Annual Bearapalooza continually transforms while showcasing talent.
- NY BLADE Aug 02 - 2003-


"An album and artist that deserve your ears"

Freddy Freeman has created a disc you'll treasure when you first listen and one that will create a special place in your collection when you've had the time to properly absorb it. I have been exposed to these songs for about four years now. I have heard some in rough demo form and some in polished demo form. Now they exist shined up for mass consumption (that's where you come in!) They have improved with age. Songs about home "Saratoga" which all can relate to, songs about needing to feel connected to the world in which we live "Waiting for an Echo", songs about freedom and honesty "Break the Silence" and my personal fave, Freddy's mantra and namesake song "Freeman" which is really about living up to the potential we all have. Great arrangements are there but they take a backseat to the style and listenability of the man himself. You'll not just hum these tunes, they'll become part of your life the way that the best music in your collection has. I don't know how else to tell you to buy this disc other than to say you're missing out if you don't. Click on the clips and tell me that you're not hearing a hook every 15 seconds. Click on the clips and then tell me you don't want to hear the whole song. I dare you!!!! - Andy Northrup on CDbaby.com


Discography

- BREAK THE SILENCE
Full Length Album released Dec 8, 2006

- WAITING FOR AN ECHO
Full length Demo recordings

- SEXIFUL SINGLE
An EP of more Dance/ Funk oriented versions of some of Freddy's songs

- Some of Freddy's songs appear on these compilations:
BEAR TRACKS 1, 2, 3, and 4
'G' CD GLOBAL
MARRY ME
OUTMUSIC HOT AND SWEET

Photos

Bio

Is it Rock? Is it Folk? Is it R&B? Is it Blues? Is it Country? Is it Funk?

Yes.

Freddy Freeman is an artist who knows no genre. He blends all his influences into a rich stew of American Popular Music. Five years in the making, Break The Silence showcases the versatility and talent of a unique singer/songwriter. With songs about the complexity of relationships, the excitement of being young and out on the town, a nostalgic tribute to his hometown, letting go, and standing up to proclaim self worth, Break The Silence takes you along on one man’s journey of self-discovery.

His voice can be a grizzly growl shouting out in defiance or a sweet tone of plaintive intimacy. Bringing together players Freddy has worked with for years, the outstanding musicianship on this album perfectly punctuates and further illuminates Freddy’s songs.

After spending six years developing his sound playing gigs around New York City, Freddy moved to Nashville, Tennessee where he continues to find new ways to grow and change as an artist. His music has been featured on a variety of radio programs around the country, as well as several compilation CDs. He is a proud member of Outmusic, an international network of LGBT musicians, songwriters, and supporters. In 2004 and 2006, Freddy was nominated for Outmusician Of The Year, an award recognizing acheivement in music and community activism.

“(Freddy is) an out gay artist, deftly walking the line between being overt in his lyrics about various personal issues and experiences and ensuring that he creates universal images in his songs.” -Larry Flick, Billboard Magazine

The journey begins with breaking the silence. Until this happens, there can be no dialogue. No storytelling. No growth and no understanding. Freddy would like his audience to hear his pride, his struggle, his pain, and his triumph. Let the journey begin. Break the Silence.