Public Appeal: The Fight for Queer Creativity

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Public Appeal by Uma Nardone

Public Appeal (she/they) didn’t come out of nowhere – her rise to notability is profound for all the ways they have worked to create music that people want and crave. Growing up in the rural south of France, Discord forums, and Internet algorithms fed her artistry, and moving to Montreal allowed for the exposure necessary to become a star. With mentors and inspiration coming from places like NYC and LA, Public Appeal has found her voice through years of listening to Club Eat and Charli XCX. 

When asked to describe her genre, they tell me there’s no need for labels – her music is meant to serve and make you feel good on the dance floor. It’s a pursuit I can’t discredit in any way, shape, or form. I think communal love for Public Appeal comes from this honesty. In her music, there is an expression of something almost too real for simple minds to handle. With performance being center stage in this era of the Montreal music scene, brutally realistic and dystopian pop beats are what we need to make it through the weekend.

“Indie sleaze is where I draw my inspiration – the irony of playing with archetypes is where you have the most fun.”

When making her music, Public Appeal is asking questions. Her process could be compared to the Barbenheimer phenomenon: the brains of nuclear physicists, but an almost plastic-like beauty and playfulness going hand-in-hand. Indie sleaze becomes ultra-meta as a new generation of artists take on ideas of aesthetics, Tumblr and Instagram, allowing for nuanced forms of consumption. 

Public Appeal by Uma Nardone

As we sit in a park discussing everything from childhood celebrity crushes and the meaning behind lyrics, Public Appeal runs me through her outfit. The level of indie sleaze that one can exude is showcased. The shirt is her father’s, her jewelry was found on the street, mismatched Doc Martens that got switched at a party, and Jack Antonoff spectacles without lenses. Everything from head-to-toe is a collage – a moment in time and an inside joke, yet still eye candy for strangers. 

Her music is similarly a family affair: it’s perverse because we can all relate and imagine the scenarios expressed on her latest EP, Mind Your Business. This can be seen in “I Wanna Party With You”, which addresses the awkward dynamic of going out with a lover while being over the feeling of them – easy enough in a city like Montreal, and relentlessly relatable.  

Sometimes the care and attention given to artistry is not noticed when people are making their music on a laptop in their bedroom – yet I believe the best forms of expression come from raw experiences, and Public Appeal allows for that. They study histories of music and genre, searching through old interviews of favorite artists and diving deep into the Soundcloud ether to find inspiration. 

Public Appeal by Uma Nardone

Recently, Public Appeal has delved into the history and sounds of electroclash, introducing even a music lover like me into a world I’ve never known. With hundred-song playlists and concert lists with footnotes, a sense of care and need for good music is instantly seen in her way of being. This is all the proof needed to express the love they have for music that wirelessly connects to listeners as well.  

“My music can’t be labeled! It’s androgynous and hot, it makes you feel like party drugs – careless but curious, let it take hold of you!”

Public Appeal is a lesson in balancing work ethic and production as well as attitude and style – the perfect equation for sexy music. They put in an effort within the scene that I can only attribute to the sanctity of protecting queer spaces. 

With so many people taking up space in the industry without the boldness that warrants the spotlight, her music lets her talent shine without ego or force. Self-awareness is used similarly in their music, as indie sleaze is used in all its campiness – allowing for a tangle of fun and intelligence that is an exact portrait of a time and place. As they’ve told me, music is a tattoo, something that comes from an ache and gets spread all over the city for everyone to feel.  Public Appeal knows her music will change completely with time. But right now, Mind Your Business is the moment and a force to be reckoned with, with future live performances and new music in the works, the possibilities are endless. 

The MIND YOUR BUSINESS REMIXES EP will drop in the new year, featuring appearances from artists like babynymph and bounce2. Stay tuned, as the sound of Public Appeal’s grows and evolves for all to witness, for the betterment of dance floors everywhere.  

Public Appeal

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Uma Nardone is a writer based in Montreal.

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