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Honeybird: Bisexual musician on coming out, new album
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

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Multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Honeybird aka Monique Mizrahi's journey as an out bisexual has culminated with her new album, "Out Comes Woman."

"The title refers to the fact that I came out for the second time about a year ago. The first time was ten years ago and I feel like if you come out and no one listens it's not exactly coming out," said Honeybird. "I realized that the only way I'm going to get past this is to try coming out again so that's partially why I titled this album 'Out Comes Woman.' The title is empowering to me and it can also refer to any woman's rebirth. In my case I was inviting everyone to accept me and who I am."

The album has 14 tracks, six of which are related to her coming out process. The theme song is "TMBLGBT ( They Might Be LGBT )" and the other LGBT-focused tracks are "Must Get To You, Ypsilon" ( about her ex-girlfriend ), "Wanted In, Wanted Out" ( about leaving her husband ) and "Come Out" ( about pride ).

"The final LGBT song is 88 Bi Dead Chickens," said Honeybird. "It's the name of the band I had when I was 13 years old which consisted solely of me and my electric bass. I thought it was apropos to include that title in the album, as a flashback to when I realized I was bisexual versus when I actually owned it, some 24 years after that. It gives me courage."

Honeybird's journey as an out bisexual began when she attended the Pride Festival in Bologna, Italy, in 2013. She met Chiara from Le Cose Cambiano, the It Gets Better affiliate in Italy, at the festival and after that meeting Honeybird decided to record her coming out video for the site. This was the first time she came out publicly and since then she's only gotten positive responses from the video.

Recently, Honeybird played at the LGBT expo at the Javits Center in New York City and is making arrangements to play at other LGBT events in the future.

Mizrahi chose Honeybird as her stage name in 2002 while she was living in Rome. "I think that birds are glorious. They wake up and just sing. I love that they are instinctual like that. I chose honey because I love honey. It's sticky and sweet and delicious," said Honeybird.

Music has always been a part of Honeybird's life. "As a young kid, I would play the piano really loud and I always really enjoyed that but that was when I was three years old. When I was 13 I started playing electric base and punk stuff," said Honeybird. "My parents always supported my musical aspirations and even gave me the chance to study it."

Honeybird plays a variety of other instruments, many of which are featured on "Out Comes Woman." They include the charango ( a 10-string traditional Andean instrument that she found in Bolivia in 2003 ), a salmon-colored electric P-bass, woodwinds, double bass and assorted percussion instruments.

Not only did Honeybird study music at home, she also attended Interlochen Arts Academy at the Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan during her senior year and then went on to get a degree in music production and engineering from Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Honeybird spent the first year out of college working for a recording studio as an audio engineer in Los Angeles and then moved to Rome when she was 22-years-old. She spent the next 14 years there before moving back to the states. She now resides in Brooklyn.

A first generation Los Angeleno, Honeybird was born in 1977 and spent her childhood in Los Angeles with her now divorced parents and a younger brother. She first realized that she was bisexual when she was 13-years-old but it wasn't until she attended a boarding school in Rome ( her dad grew up there ) during her sophomore year that she acted on these feelings with one of her friends.

"While I was in boarding school, I went to a place near the Coliseum with my friend and that's where we kissed. I could feel some attraction to her, that she was bisexual or a lesbian and I almost wonder if either of us had said something if we could've empowered each other to be more comfortable with our sexuality," said Honeybird. "I think one of the reasons why it took me so long to come out was her rejection. After the kiss she didn't want to talk to me and not only was she not my friend anymore she was also really angry and that hurt me for many years. In my mind, I knew there was nothing wrong with it but the way she reacted after the fact was jarring. That's why I'm happy to be doing this album because if one person hears it and begins to think that it's OK to be an out and proud bisexual that would be amazing. If I had at least one positive experience earlier in my life then it would've made the world of difference to me and I hope this album helps other young people accept themselves for who they are."

When Honeybird came out to her family her brother was the first one to accept it. "My dad has dealt with it a lot better than I ever expected and my mom is slowly accepting that I'm bisexual," said Honeybird.

Honeybird noted that living in Rome was creatively satisfying; however, it was also hard for her because she said it's a difficult place to be openly LGBT. She moved back to the States because of the economic situation and the fact that it was impossible for her to be an out bisexual in Italy.

While in Rome, Honeybird started writing poetry and songs. She says she wouldn't have pursued music again if she'd stayed in the states because she wasn't listening to her inner creative self. She got Italian citizenship through her grandfather which meant that she could work so she formed a band in 2006 and they began performing shortly after that. In 2013, Honeybird did 200 shows throughout Europe and it was then that she realized she should be making music for a living. Over the years her musical style has evolved from punk to jazz/jazz inspired tunes.

As for Honeybird's musical inspirations, she singled out jazz bass player Charles Mingus, Perry Farrell, Paul Simon and Tom Ze from Brazil. Honeybird's favorite artists as a kid were Siouxsie and the Banshees and Sonic Youth. Another musician that has influenced her recently is the English rock singer Skin.

"I teach Italian, and Skin contacted me about learning Italian so we had one week of lessons. What struck me the most about her was that she was an out and proud bisexual artist and has been for years," said Honeybird.

When it came time to move back to the states Honeybird decided to live in Brooklyn because her brother lives in the area and New York City is a place where musicians converge.

"Brooklyn was a happy medium between California and Rome and it seemed like a good place for me discover new territory musically and explore myself creatively," said Honeybird. "It's such a vibrant community and I've had some great encounters. It was interesting moving back to the states after being overseas for years."

Honeybird will be holding a release party for the album May 14 at Nublu in New York City. "There's going to be hula hooping," said Honeybird. "I want this release party to be more of a celebration of coming out than a traditional release party. After that I'm going to try and do as many shows as possible abroad and here in the states."

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