Portland Trans Archangel of Pop, Freak Daddy, released his new music video “B!TCH” and with it, released his past self.
Uriel Metzger gets up close and personal with us as he guides us through his persona, his experience transitioning, fellow Portland artists and much much more.
I first came across Freak Daddy, Uriel Metzger (he/him), via TikTok. He was telling cringe dating stories that were all-too relatable and led me to checking out his Instagram, leading me to discover he was also a wildly fierce pop musician. His new single “B!TCH” features a slamming chorus that harnesses the rage of a thousand scorned people living the trans experience.
In the video, Metzger faces his gender identity as he coveys fears of transitioning and the dangers of being public about it. The video features Freak Daddy emerging from a car in full clown makeup and removing a trash bag wrapped body of a John from the truck as Freak Daddy works with a gang to help dispose of the body. The video “gang” is a real-life force to be reckoned with, made up of of queer and trans local PDX artists who bring compelling performances as local Nashville rapper Daisha McBride drives home her feature with the line “my mind on a leash/cuz I’m about to lose it”.
1. Hi Uriel! I first discovered you on TikTok making hilarious ass videos, then discovering your incredible tracks. How’s your experience being “TikTok famous” been?
Hi! Thanks for the kind words. Who would have thought a bad tinder date story would be the reason people would find out about my music? It’s been a wild ride since my first comedy video went viral on TikTok. I remember refreshing Instagram over and over watching my followers increase to 10k then 20k and it was as exciting as it was overwhelming. It has been weird for people to recognize me from TikTok in public and I make a point to tell them about my music which they are usually surprised to know I make. It’s a lot of pressure to be so visible as a trans person and I deal with a lot of transphobia but being able to have a platform as a trans-masc non-binary artist is something I do not take for granted.
2. The name Uriel is a wonderful choice, was there any specific inspiration from that?
Thanks! Choosing my name Uriel Metzger was intentional and very personal but I will share with you one aspect of what informed my decision. I was raised in the southern Christian church from the time I was a child and I began my singing career in the Christian music industry. That indoctrination has stuck with me even though the belief in a Christian god has not and my power struggle of leaving organized religion informs a lot of the themes I pull from in my art. Even though I claim no faith myself now, I am fascinated by tradition, symbolism, mythos, and mysticism and have recently begun studying about Qabalistic magic. The archangel Uriel isn’t specifically mentioned by name in the Bible. However people who study the Bible and jewish texts claim that Uriel was the angel who held the flaming sword at the gates of eden, the angel who warned Noah of the flood, and the angel checking for blood on the door frames at passover among other important events involving death and separation from god or the source of love. He has one foot in heaven and the other in hell and holds the keys to tartarus. He is the “fire” or “light of god” and is the first archangel to become mortal. As a non-binary, trans and queer person who has been called an alien by a society that cannot understand me, was harmed so irrevocably by the Christian church and those who claim love as a reason to hate, who was told that my desires and sense of self were an abomination deserving of death and damnation, what better way to reclaim my power is there then naming myself after than the genderless archangel of a judgement day?
3. Your latest video features clown makeup in a few different forms, can you talk a little more about the significance behind that?
The performance of femininity has been forced onto me since I was assigned female at birth. Makeup became a symbol for me of my subservience to the patriarchal standards of beauty and my body parts things to be exploited, exaggerated, picked apart, prodded and used to the benefit of the cis men who claimed power over me. As a non-binary, trans-masculine, sex worker who participates in the binary adult film industry, I paint on my femininity for survival. This has become increasingly more dysphoric for me as I continue Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Sometimes I feel more and more like a clown than anything else. Gender performance, in general, is a show each of us put on. A role each of us decides to play. Some people take the role they were assigned at birth before anyone knew them or they even knew themselves. Others challenge the assumptions made about them and live freely in their individuality.
Conversely, the makeup is a nod to the transphobia we face in our everyday lives and in popular culture as trans people. Trolls use the clown emoji as an insult in my comments and live stream threads. They insinuate that my trans existence is a joke to them. You’ll notice the first makeup look was a nod to Pennywise. That was in response to my frustration over the transphobic troupe of the gender bending anti-hero. Many famous villains are queer coded and the outing of trans people has been the punchline of far too many jokes and the shock value directors rely upon to terrorize their audiences. People fear transgender identity and because of that try to erase our history, pretend we don’t exist, villainize us or worse, try to destroy us.
Until we live in a country where trans panic is not used as a legitimate defense to excuse murder, I will take up whatever tools of survival necessary to protect myself. If society decides to label me a clown in the process, so be it.
4. You’ve been open about your fears in transitioning on social media, what advice would you give to anyone in the beginning stages of transitioning?
Trust yourself and listen to your gut. Building (or re-building) a solid relationship with yourself takes time and if you have been existing as a closeted trans person, you likely have yet to meet yourself fully. Practice Somatic Decision Making exercises and learn what it feels like in your body to say “yes” and “no.” Even when we don’t have words for our trans experience, our bodies know what we need and we can trust ourselves to seek out things in our best interest including but not limited to medical transition. Remember that you are the keeper of your identity. You define who you are and anyone who claims to know you better than you know yourself is gaslighting you. Don’t be afraid to shine brightly and take up space in new and creative ways. It is that spark that you hold that inspires and amazes people who come across your path. Being afraid is normal. I took over two years to decide to start testosterone therapy and was terrified of the effects of the drug on my vocal cords as a life long professional singer. I spent 4 months prior to getting on T grieving the potential loss of my singing voice as I have known it. But I have never once regretted my choice to feel better in my body and now feel open to receive my new voice that was and is constantly emerging and evolving.
Trans identity is a blessing. It is divinity. It is one of my favorite things about myself and I hope all trans people feel pride in who they are and the legacy they represent.
5. As an artist you’ve expressed fears about your potential voice changes as you continue taking testosterone, although your voice is better than ever. Were there any unexpected changes?
There is little to no research on how one can properly transition a singing voice on testosterone therapy. I have spent time seeking advice from other trans singers including Lucas Silveira, the first out trans man to be signed to a major record label, and many of them recommend lower dosages of T and daily vocal exercises. Like many parts of the under researched process of medical transition, members of the trans community have to share information through a sort of “telephone” style of passing along personal experiences. So far, I have been surprised that my range has been maintained but the strength in my chest voice has increased. I am also able to sing lower than before with about the same control I had in my higher register which is exciting. I look forward to evolving my music with my voice and I am along for the ride of my artistic evolution.
6. The cast of the video features a diverse queer and transgender cast, who are some other Portland queer artists we should look out for?
I had such an amazing cast of queer and trans local PDX artists in the video as well as a feature by local Nashville rapper Daisha McBride. Every person who starred in the video (and who worked behind the scenes) is a powerhouse in their own right and deserves attention. I encourage you to seek out the credits of my music video and follow everyone you see listed there. Here is a short list of the cast members: Chatty Cathyter, a performer and self described “drag thing”; Carlos the Rollerblader, a DJ, show promoter, skater and shop owner; Harlo a performer and comedian; Mason Rose, a photographer and film director; Joseph Lanker of the band Orkis and their partner Snow a local independent fashion designer; Carter Swain, a local vegan chef; Charlie Bronwyn, a local dancer and performer; and Nikobi, a mental health advocate for the State who fights on behalf of QTPOC youth in Oregon. My costumes were made by local trans artists River of Riverqueer Leatherwork, Lillz of LillzKills (was living here for a time but returned to Vancouver, BC), and a member of the innovation team at Nike, Eliza Fisher.
Thanks to quarantine, I haven’t been able to learn about the local scene as much as I would like to since I moved here in January 2020. However, some local trans artists I have been inspired by are musician Maarquii; painter and illustrator Boudwinart; Princess Bouton a professional dancer, filmmaker and photographer; Devin Devine a local comedian and writer; and Atlas of PartyXMonsters a performer, show promoter, and singer. The queer and trans community in PDX is rich with talented people focused on their art for art’s sake and I am honored to be a part of this scene.
7. What are a few of your favorite things to do about Portland?
Quarantine and the lack of a vehicle has made me a huge fan of walks. Portland is beautiful and I find so much joy looking at all of the yards in the neighborhoods around the city. I love going out the coast, going on hikes and spending time at the river with my friends. I love that there are goth dance nights, sex clubs, theaters, art galleries and spaces specifically made for trans people to exist safely here. I look forward to finding my local haunts as things begin to reopen.
8. What else can we expect from Freak Daddy in 2021?
I am working on a new record called S.G.S.M. (Sorry, God. Sorry, Mom.) slated to drop this fall and I am working on putting together a tour for the end of the year. I am hoping to shoot another video this year as well but for now they are self funded and expensive. I will be seeking out grants and investors willing to help me build my Freak Daddy World and hope to collaborate with other artists who have similar visions for a more bright, equitable, and inclusive future.