Jaah Kelly is ready for the world. https://t.co/dYPPpsoGAg— PAPER Magazine (@papermagazine) July 6, 2019
-When Jaah was 14, she came out as trans male in a video posted to her then-active Ask.fm account. The announcement was prompted by a question posed anonymously. Jaah Kelly introduced herself then as Jay Kelly.
-But following her online reveal at 14, Jaah fell into a deep depression, which led to a three-week stay in a psychiatric hospital, an experience she declines to describe. After surviving that experience, Jaah says she saw herself differently. Today, she doesn't mind if people refer to her as male, female, genderfluid, or nonbinary — a choice that's becoming increasingly common for her age group.
-"When I posted that video, I was so scared," Jaah says. "When I was younger, I always felt like I had to make a choice. I knew that I was a girl who liked other girls. But because of what I was taught, I felt like the only way you could like another girl is if you were a boy."
-"I identify as a lesbian, I know I like girls, but that's as far as I'll go to label myself," Jaah says. "It's up to you how you see me. Either way, I don't care. I stand in my truth, and why does my truth need a label?"
-While in high school, Jaah played the clarinet and trumpet, and eventually taught herself to play piano from watching YouTube videos. When things felt chaotic in her head or at home during the day, she would bury herself alone in music at night, sometimes all night, producing and recording tracks at home.
-Jaah queues up a demo (working title: "Trapping For My People") she'd been working on the night before until 6 AM that day. In the atmospheric mix, Jaah's voice is both fragile, as if cautiously woven together by threads of fine silk, and surefooted. She sounds in command of what she wants to say and how she wants to say it. The voice sounds genderless, and the music genreless. (see source for song)
-"Going after my music is the thing I'm proudest of in my life," she says. "I've always been such a background person, and never wanted to do anything in front of anyone. I'm really proud of myself for letting people listen to my music. There was a point where not even my sister, brother, or mom could hear it. I was the only one who knew what I was capable of. Now, everyone else will know, too."
keep it cute, she's 18