Dorian Electra, the Houston-raised electro-pop artist behind hits like “Flamboyant” and “Sodom & Gomorrah,” felt the first whiffs of their trademark flamboy- ance when they were 14 years old and making DIY-style music videos in their bedroom. Working with a friend, they recorded tributes to the British goth punk band The Horrors while precariously holding up a MacBook in place of a camera. “[To get into character], we’d go thrifting and get black turtlenecks, black skinny jeans, a little polka-dot ascot, and pointy winklepicker shoes,” Electra recalls as they stretch their legs out on the loveseat of their Nolita Airbnb and lightly kick around a decorative pillow, their gold- painted toes brightening up an otherwise gray day. “I never really resonated with traditional femininity,” they noted, “[until] I started embracing this feminine masculinity where I [was] like, ‘Oh, I love make-up, but I love it through this lens.’”

Dorian Electra wears all clothing and accessories MARC JACOBS

Unlike most musicians, Electra fell in love with making music videos before making actual music. “I appreciate the art form of bringing a song to life, visually,” they said, picking a stray rhinestone off of their elbow. Since high school, the spritely, colorful artist (now 31 years old) found a way to work their passions into the curriculum by submitting school work in music video format—always with a certain wink-at-the-camera quality. (Their first viral video titled “I’m in Love with Friedrich Hayek,” a precocious parody about their intellectual crush on the Austrian-British economist and political philosopher, F.A. Hayek.) It didn’t take long for tastemaking institutions to recognize that Electra’s outlandish yet educational videos were something special. Soon the artist was being commissioned by the likes of Nylon and Refinery29 to make songs about the clitoris and the dark history of high heels.

In 2019, Electra released their debut studio album, Flamboyant. The accompanying visuals show them with cropped blue hair and a skinny little mustache, embodying ultra-soft femininity and aggressive tongue-in-cheek masculinity, and hilariously playing off the tension between the two in every way possible. “I like things that tickle my brain. If me and my collaborators aren’t laughing our asses off in the studio, the song is probably not that good,” says Electra.

The artist’s sophomore LP, My Agenda, followed in 2020 and struck a similar chord. Electra’s latest work, Fanfare, takes a new—though not entirely unexpected—direction, featuring them in a dungeon-pop and creature-like light. “What I love about music is the opportunity to express myself in all these different ways so that I can feel free. Whether that’s free to feel more masculine, more feminine,” they smile mischievously, smudged eyeliner turning upward, “or like a furry. I like the freedom to embrace what I’m feeling right now, and that’s ultimately what gets me the most excited.”

Fanfare will be available on all streaming platforms on October 6.

A note from the editors of VMAN: The interview and photography in this story predated the SAG-AFTRA strike.

This story appears in the pages of VMAN 51: now available for purchase!

Photography Tyre Thwaites

Fashion Altorrin 

Grooming Riad Azar (The Wall Group)

Photo assistants Tyra Dixon, Sydney Peterson

Stylist assistants Roderick Reyes, Sionan Murtage

Location Blanc Studios 

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