A Kiki with Ana Matronic

January 6, 2014 , by Jerusha Rai, Leave your thoughts
A Kiki with Ana Matronic » My Dreams Mag

Matronic is considered a solid straight ally for gay rights and an icon of empowered women, having publicly addressed numerous related social issues. Leaving behind a difficult childhood after losing her father to HIV and growing up with a mother who had skin cancer, Matronic is seen as an inspiring figure for remaining compassionate, smart and bold.


Though city dwellers are famous for avoiding most human interaction, it is not the most plausible reason for Ana Lynch to be able to peacefully walk the streets. Its just that she looks like a completely different person from her stage image. And nobody expects to see a famous pop singer on the public transport.

I am waiting for her at a quaint little Nepali restaurant in Shepherd’s Bush, sipping chiya and going over my questions for the umpteenth time, when a demurely woman walks in and is introduced to me as Ana. Now, the pitiful little skill I have for small talk is virtually gone, as I hesitate to believe that this truly is Ana Matronic (as her stage name goes), the feisty front-woman of the electro-clash band, Scissor Sisters. She looks more like one of my university professors than the often outrageously spunky pop star. Dressed modestly in black, she barely has any make up on. Still, she is a striking figure- blazing red hair, large grey eyes and easy mannerisms- and she catches the attention of people at other tables, who seem to be wondering if they’ve seen her somewhere. 

They must have. Ana Matronic has appeared on The Voice on British telly, not to mention, won several BRIT awards and topped the Billboard charts with her band. They have performed with Elton John and Kylie Minogue. They are arguably the face of New York’s gay night-life scene. Matronic herself is considered a solid straight ally for gay rights and an icon of empowered women, having publicly addressed numerous related social issues. Leaving behind a difficult childhood after losing her father to HIV and growing up with a mother who had skin cancer, Matronic is seen as an inspiring figure for remaining compassionate, smart and bold. 

So we curiously approached Matronic in hopes of obtaining at least some of the advice gathered throughout her accomplished life.


  • Did you always know you were going to do music?

I studied cultural anthropology in college and explored archaeology, primatology and forensic anthropology. I had thought that I could take up one of these fields (except maybe archaeology. I wasn’t sure I could sit in a desert digging a hole for 6 hours!) But then I started studying pop culture and I figured I wanted to be an artist. So I got into performance art. You can spend time in school learning about art, or you can go out there and make art and that’s the path I chose.


Ana Matronic


  • And have you found any crossovers between academia and performance art ?

Well I think part of being a performer is also being a critic. Just like anthropology, its about looking at your environment, interpreting and talking about it. And having an interest in people and culture always has a place in performance art. Both are great ways to see the world.


  • What has been Scissor Sisters abiding theme/ objective?

We’ve always wanted to have fun and express freedom. So many artists present such a serious front when they’re performing and talking. We wanted to leave people with smiles on their faces.


  • What led you, personally, to work towards this?

I was always a bit of a “hammy”, as we say in the States. Which means I always wanted to perform. When I was growing up, the Muppet Show was on TV. Though they taught numbers to kids on the set, backstage is where all the fun and action happened. That was the first time I wanted to be part of a show. I also come from a creative household. My mother is an artist and encouraged us to express ourselves. My sister is a Tyco drummer. It just runs in the family.


  • And you’re partial to robots, I read. What is that about? 

(Rolls up her sleeve to show the robot tattoo on her arm) I was born in 1974 and was 2 years old when Star Wars came out. and in the late 70s there was a lot of sci-fi on TV, you know, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers and that’s where the love for robots started. I still enjoy reading about technology, especially, artificial intelligence. 


Ana Matronic Scissor Sisters

Photographer: Kevin Tachman. Image Source: Scissor Sisters FB.

  • You’ve won all these awards and topped charts but what has been the proudest moment in your musical career?

When someone tells you that what you do creatively has changed their life in some way. Once a lady told me that listening to Scissor Sisters music got her out of an abusive relationship. When you meet somebody and they share what an impact you’ve made on their lives just by singing a song and being who you are, that’s quite overwhelming. You might not even know it; you might just be thinking ‘Oh I’m just getting dressed up and singing funny songs’. So it really means a lot when your songs resonate with people.


  • So what are your top tips for musicians to reach that stage?

Don’t worry about success but strive for fulfilment. When you strive for success, your mind is occupied with how to market and monetize your work. Often this can lead you to feel short of your goal. But when you do it for fulfilment, you feel rewarded just in and of your art. Even if 5 people turn up at your show, it will be fulfilling because you’re sharing your creativity in a very honest way.  

Another tip is to partner up with someone who might not necessarily be creative but who can champion you. They can help manage your career, be a buffer for people who want to meet you or make deals with you, and facilitate the business side of things that is often so difficult and confusing. So its important to have someone with an analytical, business mind actively working for your interest.


Ana Matronic Scissor Sisters

Concert at Tower of London
Photographer: Kevin Tachman. Image Source: Scissor Sisters FB.


  • And for female upstarts in particular?

Don’t stop. There should be a community of artists being in touch with each other supporting each other. I’m excited for the future for women. Globally we are starting to realize our power and equality. Don’t be afraid. And when you are afraid, face it, let it pass through you. You can always move through the fear, by being absolutely who you are. 


  • Once you do enter the music industry, what is the most important point of caution you would make?

A lot of people will tell you what you should be doing. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If it strays you from your path, don’t do it. There are so many ways to go about a career and to approach art and everybody has an opinion. There is no one right way to go about it. Its about being clear in who you are and being honest. 


  • Apart from the music scene, what is the significance of popular music for society in general?

In western cultures people don’t really involve themselves in poetry. So pop music has become the poetry of today. This is where we express our emotions and its carrying on the important tradition of sharing stories. Even with technological advancement and digital distribution of music, live shows are still so important and exciting. Pop music allows for people to make connections in a fun and exciting way. I don’t think people will ever get over the need to get together, listen to music and have a good time. In the Christian Bible, St. Paul says “Song is three times prayer”. There is something that speaks to all of our spirits in music.

Also, I like pop music because it can be so many different things. It doesn’t have to be a slick, overproduced sound. It can be stripped away. It can be rock n’ roll. There is much room for experimentation. And I hope that with the internet and globalization, the channels will be open for music to come from the east to the west rather than just the current one-directional flow. I want to hear artists from around the world on American radio, with representation of different cultural perspectives.


Ana Matronic Scissor Sisters


  • You have supported important causes at the height of your career so far. Would you say it is a moral obligation for artists/ musicians to use their talent for social activism? Or a matter of choice?

It is a moral obligation for everyone to get involved. Everyone should strive to make the world a better place in whatever way they can; to use their voice because there’s a lot in this world that needs to be changed. There is a point for the artists that the causes they support seem to take over their whole image and that’s all they seem to be about. Sometimes, people just want you to shut up and sing a song. But I hope to strike a balance with that and use notoriety to shine a light on causes that need to be addressed.


  • Has it affected Scissor Sisters to have gay issues often highlighted in their career?

It did affect our success in the US. We signed a record deal and brought our first album here in the UK. Mainstream America is still very conservative about homosexuality and the audience were certainly afraid of the band members sexuality. But it also had to do with the confusion around how to sell things. Scissor Sisters does not really fit neatly into a particular genre. And in America, people like things to be very compartmentalized. Its either this way or that. So I always say that our success in the US has been ordinary and in the UK its been extraordinary. 


Scissor Sisters

Debut Album Cover (2006)

Scissor sisters may be on hiatus at the moment but Matronic has been working on a solo project and touring with Joshua Light Show that backs up bands with handmade visuals, including MGMT recently. But alongside her glamorous career, Ana comes across as a down-to-earth human being (with everyday stories about her cat and thanksgiving dinners to cook), which only seems to add weight to her assertions and advice. 


In Conversation with: Jerusha Rai
In-House Photographer: Nilesh Singh

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