Planetary Group took some time to get to know Anchorage-based songwriter Quinn Christopherson, who writes openly about his trans and indigenous identity.
Planetary Group: Tell us about your latest release. How did you come to create it?
Quinn: My EP I Am Bubblegum dropped December 10th. The subject of the songs is really different, I think, but they all come from my perspective; twenty-five years as a woman, learning to be a musician in Alaska, and my indigeneity all really drove how I reflected and wrote these songs. This project is about good intentions and I’m really excited for you to hear it.
Okay. Good Boy is a song on there. And that really speaks to people’s perception of me and women in general. And Loaded Gun is a song I wrote because following your passions as an artist in Alaska has some unique challenges. In Western society, there’s this like push to leave your home and, you know, fly the nest. And I had those feelings – I want to see the world and play shows for people. but I will always come back, you know? And as an indigenous person, my identity is so tied to my home. I know I’ll always come back.
And so that’s kind of where that song came from.
PG: Share a bit about your musical journey, from when you first started making music until now.
Quinn: Oh my! I started out at the open mic, the dive bar, playing my songs SO fast. Like I was so nervous that I would just play them so, so fast. And I would see my dad in the back just like have his hands [motioning for me to slow down]!
My dad got me my first instrument when I was 20 – it’s a little late – but I had been writing poems way before. And so the instrument was just the gateway I needed to turn those poems into songs. And I came up in this Anchorage scene that’s very acoustic and vulnerable and emotional… [it’s] a listening-style scene. And I’m really thankful for that. I feel like Anchorage taught me how to play in that way. And that’s how I entered the Tiny Desk contest in 2019 with a song I wrote called Erase Me; just guitar and vocal. And when I won, that’s when I knew what I was doing was enough. I feel like before I thought oh, I need a full band, whatever else, more pieces and parts.
PG: Let’s talk about the music that you love. Pick one album for each category below & tell us a bit about it!
- An album you grew up listening to:
Quinn: Sheryl Crow’s self-titled record!I grew up listening to that with my mom. She had this white Ford Taurus with cow print seat covers, and the thing did not reverse. So we would be flying through these parking lots for what felt like forever looking for a parking spot that we could pull all the way through and we’d just be singing that record louder than it was playing and, and that made it okay. We always found a spot eventually.
- An album that inspires you as an artist (I’m sure there are many, but pick one of your choosing):
Quinn: Jackson C. Frank’s self-titled record. The songs are really painful, but it’s so beautiful. I feel like that record really taught me how to turn emotion into song in a way.
- The album you currently have on repeat:
Quinn: Things Take Time, Take Time by Courtney Barnett. I love every evolution that Courtney brings us. And yeah, this acoustic record is just what I needed this year.
PG: What do you want people to take away from your music?
Quinn: I want what I think most artists want. And that’s, you know, for these songs to mean something to someone. That would be enough for me.