As a music artist, Epiphany Mattel is raw, unapologetic, and provocative. She stirs pots and fixes plates by speaking her truth and not caring if people receive it or not, as long as they hear her. “It’s important to me that people know my name, respect my mind and acknowledge my existence,” she says. “Who's gonna believe I'm a star if I don’t believe it myself? I am a bad-bitch force to be reckoned with. You may not know it yet and that's cool for now because, in time, you will.”
Growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, her parents raised her to be confident and speak her mind, that is, until she told them that she was a girl. Her mother, a devout Baptist, took the religious "God doesn't make mistakes” and “let’s pray the demon out” path, sending Epiphany to priests, psychiatrists and other medical professionals to fix the problem. Her father’s approach was more physical. He sought to beat the trans out of Epiphany and would tease, taunt and shame her. At one point, he even shaved her head.
Surprisingly, her father was a gay man who viewed transgendered people as freaks, criminals, and sexual deviants. “He would say to me, ‘if you are gay, that's fine, I can help you with that, but why in hell do you wanna be one of those things?’”
Epiphany eventually left home and sought refuge in the hood where she learned about street code and survival. She became a dangerous beauty, a chameleon who can thrive in any circle or setting, a boss more concerned with creating her own lane rather than trying to fit into a predetermined space someone else chose to place her in. She stands strong in her truth, even if it offends others, and while she rarely starts trouble, she isn’t afraid to finish it.
Her debut single, out now, is #FixYoFace.
How would you describe #FixYoFace?
Epiphany Mattel: The sound is something easy to groove to without a lot of extra in the beat to distract you from the lyrical content.
Are the lyrics important?
Epiphany Mattel: As a true student of the original hip hop pioneers, I'm a firm believer that while beats will move your body, it's the message that is the most precious commodity in the experience.
What makes #FixYoFace the perfect track to introduce Epiphany Mattel to the world?
Epiphany Mattel: It's a reflection of my personality. Those who know me, know I shoot straight from the cuff. While my intention is never to alienate or offend, I never sugarcoat anything . I write all of my music and speak from not only my perspective, but my experience.
What do you say to those who argue your intention is to offend?
Epiphany Mattel: People scream they are offended by this and that, yet turn around and display the same behavior they claim they are offended by. In my songs, I’m only saying what all of us have thought at one point and time but refuse to say out of concern for how we will be viewed or who might get upset. I'm the type of woman who is always going to speak my mind. I can’t bother with painting a pretty picture to coddle your senses because you might miss the message. Its like a band aid: rip it off and address the issue. You’ll thank me later. I'm tough love in a pretty package.
What do you want people to know about Epiphany Mattel?
Epiphany Mattel: What I want the world to know about Epiphany Mattel is that she is here and she came to play. I am a transwoman and while I speak from the viewpoint of a transwoman, I speak about real and pertinent experiences that relate to everyone.
Any relation to Trixie Mattel?
Epiphany Mattel: No hunny, Trixies are for kids.
Who are some famous people that you look up to?
Epiphany Mattel: I am a huge K. Michelle fan. I identify with her story. I also love Erykah Badu for all the obvious reasons; Ice Cube because he is one of the greatest lyrical storytellers of our time; Tupac because he was the greatest to ever do it and still remain connected and for his people; Eminem because not only is he a lyrical genius but he's a wild card that can't be controlled; and lastly, Amy Winehouse because she was my goddess. There will never be another so raw, honest and married to her struggle.
What are your real feelings about Latrice Royale?
Epiphany Mattel: It's nothing but love between Latrice and I. I call her auntie but she fills a maternal role in my life, like my own chunky but funky fairy godmother.
Is she a good manager?
Epiphany Mattel: Latrice has such a busy schedule touring and running her own career and her time is very limited but she always makes time for me and gives me solid advice on what she feels is best for my career and branding. She's more than a manager. She's my mentor, my confidant, and sometimes my voice of reason if you catch me on the wrong day. She also understands how important it is to me to be seen and respected as a transwoman.
Do you get confused for a drag queen?
Epiphany Mattel: All the time and I mean no disrespect to drag queens, of course, it’s just not my reality. I'm epiphany Mattel 24/7/365. I can't take epiphany Mattel off at the end of the night and find comfort in some other existence.
What do you hope fans take away from #FixYoFace?
Epiphany Mattel: I hope they stop counting issues and start counting blessings. Everyone needs to stand in confidence. It's OK to be vulnerable. Trying wearing a smile and watch how contagious that good energy can be.
Life can be tough.
Epiphany Mattel: Hopefully, in listening to my music, people can learn how to finesse their way through adversity. One thing, guaranteed, for sure, is they’ll walk away with some sickening reads and one liners.
Epiphany Mattel’s new single, “#FixYoFace,” is available on iTunes, Spotify and all digital platforms. The music video is available on Youtube.
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Twitter: @ TEAM_MATTEL