“We’re lucky to be living in a time where queer women have a voice in the music industry. There’s space for us now and we are making giant waves”
BY RACHEL BADHAM. IMAGE REYNA FACEBOOK
Sisterly-shaped musical duo REYNA, aka Mexican-American sisters Gab and Vic Banuelos, have been likened to artists such as Carly Rae Jepsen, Haim and MUNA – and they’ve even been snapped up by the same management group as global sensation, Billie Eilish.
A play on the Spanish word for “queen”, REYNA certainly live up to that as they slowly but surely begin to reign over the music industry both at home and further afield. The older of the sisters, Vic, also happens to identify as gay and the pair have been praised for their advocacy of the LGBTQI community through their music.
Here, Gab and Vic talk about fame, sexuality and their latest single, The Way I Loved You…
Younger sister, Gab, says that their love for music has dated back to their childhood: “It all started as a game when we were kids and were obsessed with School Of Rock – we wanted to be just like the kids in the film!
“We would sit at home writing songs about getting in trouble with our mom and our experiences in school. We were enthralled with the idea of being a band and playing shows. It was all we talked about and all we wanted to do.
“We looked up to bands like Rush, The Who, The Police and would learn their songs and perform them for our dad. We eventually started writing songs and we decided to get into a studio to record them for our parents – we haven’t stopped writing since!”
Since their musical journey began, REYNA have collaborated with a number of amazing artists. Gab adds, “Playing alongside such accomplished artists has been so inspiring for us. We have learned so much.
“Lauren Mayberry [vocalist and percussionist of the Scottish, synth-pop band Chvrches] is a badass. She steps on that stage with so much confidence and transmits so much energy and love to her fans.
“She’s so vocal about important issues and doesn’t give a fuck. We need more humans like that! She’s inspired us to be ourselves hold our ground and speak up for what we believe in.”
Vic adds that the most emotional part of her job is, “[Seeing] people singing our songs out in the crowd.” She also found the process of coming out to Gab to be an emotional one:
“When I came out to Gab, we were in San Diego. We were sharing a bed because we were on a writing trip. I started crying and I said to Gab, ‘I need to tell you something.’ Gab responded, ‘What? That you’re gay?’
“That made me laugh and melted my fear away. I was like, ‘How do you know?!’ And she said that she’d always known that I was gay but she was waiting for me to feel comfortable enough to talk to her.”
Vic discussing her sexuality with Gab has cemented their relationship as sisters even further: “Gab has always been my rock and my biggest ally,” says Vic. “She has fought for me and we are super close.”
The pair have also made music based on Vic’s relationships with their new song, The Way I Loved You, being inspired about Vic’s experiences of falling in love with a woman – and going through heartbreak.
“Heartbreak is universal,” says Vic. “Everyone has been through a break up, everyone has had their heart broken. Most definitely we have all had a first love that has made a mark in our lives.”
One of Vic’s core beliefs about music is that it “has no gender.”
“I like to believe that music brings people together and that’s the beauty of it – no matter your race or sexual orientation, we can all relate to a human experience such as love.”
For too long, there has been very little space for LGBTQ+ women in the music industry, however, Vic believes things are heading in the right direction:
“I am lucky to be living in a time where queer women are not afraid to be out and have a voice in the music industry. There is a space for us now and we are making giant waves.
“Some of the biggest acts in the music industry today are women so that gives me hope that we can keep working towards equal pay, equal representation at music festivals and respect in general.”
Follow REYNA at facebook.com/REYNAtheband
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