Naming is a powerful and sacred thing. The act of naming yourself is even more so significant and momentous, and at times terrifying. For Oklahoma City artist LoneMoon, naming was the first in a long line of steps she recently took to surmount a towering fear of her own truth.
Officially coming out as a transgender woman on September 10, she is ready to, for the first time, introduce herself on her own terms: “I never really even thought of how I would even introduce myself to people, other than: ‘Hi, I’m Luna. I make music, and I want to make a difference in people’s lives.’ I want to, first and foremost, have an impact. Even if it’s just changing your perspective on small things.”
At 20 years old, the weight Luna has been carrying up to and following her coming out has been immense—concrete poured over a gentle soul. Yet, speaking to her over the phone, there is an attractive sense of clarity to her tone. “I definitely, definitely had to fight for it,” she tells me. “I think I always had a knowledge of the person that I wanted to be, but I was… ”
She pauses to consider the weight of her past. During these brief, pensive moments of our conversation, Moon’s music steps into a new light. Her forthcoming album better luck next time is insulated and rattling. No emotion or soundscape goes untouched, with Moon blending her electronic beginnings with technical raps and guttural crooning. Her writing is bare to a jarring degree, but her themes aptly unravel in stages. The music coils and untangles much like the threads of our conversation, where for every recollection of pain there is a subsequent healing.
better luck next time obviously arose from a solitary and lonesome place, but Moon sees that headspace as ever-so regenerative. “Most of the time, the thought that goes through my brain is: ‘I’m not sure if I’m ever going to get past that isolation and loneliness part of me,’" she admits. “In a way, it’s not even a negative thing. It’s more of a solitude and something I can confide in when nothing else is coming through. It’s kind of like a place I can recharge.”
What Luna cannot carry on her spirit, she ultimately leaves in the music. “Sometimes when I make tracks, they are the skin I have to shed or little time capsules that I put back there to remind myself that I’m not there anymore, and I’m doing better,” she surmises. That shedding and growth in real-time lend itself to a grip of explosive and cathartic moments on the album. But for every watershed moment on wax, there is an underlying and unresolved anxiety.
“My family is super conservative and, it’s not just the fact that they are conservative, it’s more how I was raised to just be the person that they wanted me to be,” Luna eventually picks up. “That comprised my entire life. That was a constant, just something that towered over me and made me scared.”
This fear followed Luna for the majority of her life, as she recounts in her Instagram post: “by the time i was 18, the fact that i had no identity to myself was absolutely terrifying.” In that same post, she names herself and begins the process of absolving herself of fear.
“[Naming] was a gigantic step, but the fear is still there,” she admits. “That’s mostly because at this point in my life it’s hard for me to separate from my family. That’s something that’s super temporary… I’m torn between wanting to talk to my family about it and realizing that it’s kind of a moot point at this time. It’s something that I’m going to have to sit on and think about, and approach it in a different manner, once I’ve had time.”
Timing is evidently on Luna’s mind, and the question of time brings with it an admission of guilt. “I care about people very much, and I don’t want to risk people that are close to me,” she says. “I don’t want anything to happen at their expense, because of me… I just feel bad in general about even things that are trivial. Even things that are trivial, I feel genuine guilt for, but I just carry it.”
In many ways splayed by her guilt, she delayed her coming out. In tandem, she was worried people would accuse her of shoring up a publicity stunt. Still, Luna was simply too tired to continue on as she was.
“Before I was set in stone about [coming out], it was difficult for me to get up out of bed in the morning,” she recalls. “It’s tough for me to separate these two personalities even though I truly believe there’s only one that should be me. I’m torn between the one that I’m forced to be around my family, and what pressed me to press send was to add tangibility to the real.”
“My first conversations with my sister and my mom, who I lived with at the time, were tough,” she adds “They made me definitely afraid that [being trans] may not be an actual thing. I know it is because I trust me more than I trust other people that think they know me… It’s like, that’s a tough-ass thing to deal with—people telling you, ‘No, you’re not.’ It’s like telling me that the skin on my face isn’t Black.”
Pressing send on her coming out post allowed Luna to make her identity indivisible, and also immediately made her a light for trans fans who continue to go unheard. “I got a couple of trans people inboxing me, talking about: ‘I enjoyed your music. It’s incredible to see that you came out,’” she says. “I didn’t even know these people were even interested in my music, you know? Craziness. That made me feel like I could do something.”
These affirmations and sense of community are critical. Listening through the album, Moon grapples with heavy questions on standout “what’s wrong with me,” particularly wondering if she deserves to live. Though there is a pep in her voice—moments where we allude to her girlfriend are particularly giddy and sweet—Luna still struggles to answer that question.
“Sometimes I feel like that answer is still something I need to find,” she reveals. “Other times, finding that answer is as simple as writing a new song or hanging out with my girlfriend. She’s extremely supportive, and cool. Just, extremely cool.”
On the whole, the record is questioning. At one point we muse over what souls look like, to which Luna attests her soul looks like “Power,” and in the future, she will need it to look like “the unbothered, spiritual passion of Black music.” Even still, on wax and in her day-to-day, Luna still lusts after the future in favor of living in the present.
“I feel like sometimes it’s tough to be here and have to go through the process,” she explains. “But going through the process is what’s going to inspire me. When I am there in the future, looking back, it’s going to inspire me to write some cool shit. I hope it inspires others and gives them a story that they can confide in.”
In the meantime, Luna is constantly practicing living for herself. “I started dressing more affirmingly,” she says. “My girlfriend gave me a bunch of dope clothes. I’ve been making a lot more music just talking about how my life is going, and how I’m taking steps in a direction that I believe is the first right direction in my life.
“In my view, there always was a fight for freedom. I see it as: you don’t fight something unless you don’t want to be afraid of it anymore. In order to gain my freedom, I’m willing to fight for it. I’m not trying to hurt anyone in the way, I just want to have the freedom to be myself.”
Stream "Say No More," LoneMoon's brand new single.