A new kind of band
DIRECT LINE - Boy Abunda (The Philippine Star) - September 16, 2015 - 10:00am

There’s a new performing group in town, and the buzz they’re generating is unlike anything any group has created before — and that’s because they themselves are in a class of their own.

Meet the Lez Boys, a nine-member, all-lesbian song-and-dance group composed of Kim Orencio (22); Kael Goulds (24); Kat Diaz (31); Nick Perete (22); KZ Nicdao (25); Kyle Gascon (24); Kadz Zaraga (19), Aki Perez (31); and Aian Young (20). Some of them were on It’s Showtime’s That’s My Tomboy contest, while others were plucked from live auditions. The current membership roster has actually undergone several changes. There was an earlier group that disbanded, leaving three of the original members to form a new group.

Some of them started singing very early. “Ever since I was a kid, kontesera ako. Kumakanta ako sa mga barangay contest, sa fiesta at saka sumali ako sa isang videoke contest before,” says KZ.

Kael has been nurturing dreams of a singing career for years, but could never get a break until now. “Matagal ko nang gustong kumanta, pero wala akong outlet,” Kael says.

Clearly, they are different because of their sexual orientation — it’s not every day you encounter a group like theirs — but once you meet them face to face, you’ll realize there is more to the Lez Boys than just that.

“Kami po kasi, since we started, of course, because we’re lesbians, ang connotation niyan, mga pa-mhin. Tomboy eh. But when we sing, we sing like ladies pa rin. Boses-babae. Kung kayang bumirit, bibirit,” says Aki, who is one of the unofficial leaders of the group. “Hindi namin nilalakihan ang boses namin. There is no conscious effort to sound like guys.”

The group’s repertoire consists of cover versions of songs by both female and male artists. Among the staples in their song list are pop hits like Love Me Like You Do and Flashlight, but they can also sing men’s songs like those of Bruno Mars, which are a bit on the high-pitched side. Sometimes, just to make things interesting, Kim will write a rap portion into one of their songs. Kim, who has been writing songs and poetry for years (although she never had an outlet until now), says it “never takes over an hour” for her to compose a rap. “When they tell me that I have to write a rap for a song, I’ll just put on a hood or a cap, and ask for some time to be alone. I can come up with as many as 20 lines (of rap) in that amount of time.”

Since the group got together, they have been spending time rehearsing and preparing for their shows. They’ve been having voice training with composer and lyricist Larry Hermoso (of Bakit Nga Ba Mahal Kita fame, among others), and already have songs and a potential single in the works. They are also working on hip-hop dance training with actor and dancer Vince Gamad.

But right now, the learning process is still ongoing, and that includes learning how to play by the rules and adopting the discipline to make the group work. “There’s easy, open communication, and we help each other out. We make it work amongst us. We communicate with each other, and we tell each other if there are problems,” says Kim, who is helping Aki out as far as managing the group is concerned.

Audiences have also taken to them. The group shares that they even have supporters who call themselves the Lez Crew and who consistently watch and applaud all their performances. Their sexual orientation has never been a problem. “That’s because the LGBT community is so wide-ranging now, the people that come watch us, they clap for us, shout for us, and we’ve never had bad reactions. Even our families are very happy and supportive,” says Kim.

In return, the members of Lez Boys have pledged to work hard to prove that they deserve a place in the industry.

“We all want this,” says Kim. “We are really serious,” says Kadz. “I would give all my time, kahit anong paraan gagawin ko, hahanapin ko. Kahit anong mangyari sa grupo, damay lahat, kaya kailangan talaga gawan ng paraan ‘pag may problema.” Says Kat: “Serious kaming magbibigay ng time para sa grupo.”

The bottom line is that the Lez Boys are out to prove that just because you’re lesbian doesn’t mean you’re a good-for-nothing troublemaker.

 “We are looking for acceptance, na hindi kami basta-basta na tomboy, may talent din kami,” says Kael. “I hope we can inspire people to be out as well, or ‘yung di tanggap ng families nila, I think we can be an inspiration to them, and show them na just because tomboy, ‘di pwedeng i-down.”

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