“Queer baby-making music” isn’t a genre that can be found on Pandora or Spotify. but D.C.-based duo BOOMscat has got it covered.
The duo consists of BOOM, aka Asha Santee, keyboardist/drummer/producer, and scat, aka Jennifer Patience Rowe, vocalist/songwriter. The pair, who both identify as queer, met by chance at a show when Santee played drums behind Rowe’s poetry. They clicked and soon BOOMscat was born in 2012.
Their day jobs consist of a full-time artist for Santee and a salon owner in Silver Spring, Md., for Rowe but during their off hours they play shows throughout the city. Besides “queer baby-making music” they call their style “peace and body rolls.”
“It’s really peaceful, laid back but it also makes you wanna do a body roll. It’s R&B, Neo-Soul-type music,” Rowe says.
The duo has released three projects including its “No Life Jacket EP,” which reached No. 18 on the iTunes R&B album charts. They have performed at SXSW in Austin and embarked on a “Peace & Body Roll Tour” in Chicago. Their fourth album “Kinetic” will be released this year.
BOOMscat performs at Honey Groove alongside big name artists such as Big Freedia and local musicians like Be Steadwell and the CooLots.
The community is tight-knit in D.C. for queer artists of color, according to Santee and Rowe. So it was a no-brainer when they were asked to be a part of the festival.
“That’s our family,” Santee says.
A family that doesn’t always feel represented in the mainstream society. That’s where Honey Groove steps in to give D.C. LGBT artists a platform to share their music and their stories.
“D.C. has such a widespread LGBT and queer community across all of those letters,” Santee says. “It sometimes feels like our music isn’t taken as seriously as mainstream. Sometimes it’s not accepted because everybody feels like, ‘Oh, they’re queer so we can’t relate to their music.’ So for us to have our own platform and create our own world, it’s kind of necessary. We’re creating our own mainstream through that.”
“For me, there aren’t a lot of safe spaces for queer folks, especially queer folks of color, to be all of our identifies at one time,” Rowe says. “Honey Groove gives us that opportunity to be everything that we are in all of our magic and be unapologetic in that.”
Rowe likens Honey Groove to Afropunk, an annual music and arts festival in New York, Paris, London and Johannesburg aimed at being a safe space for people of color to enjoy music.
While Honey Groove is more specifically LGBT-focused, the message is similar.
“We are there enjoying music, made by us, people that look like us, that have similar experiences. It’s just a really relatable space that we don’t get to have often. Honey Groove is a space where folks can come. It’s a mecca, it’s a home, it’s a safe space,” Rowe says.
BOOMscat’s music is available for streaming on iTunes, SoundCloud and Bandcamp.