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Photo: p1nkstar and Josh Gonzalez
Photo: p1nkstar and Josh Gonzalez

How p1nkstar is changing the landscape of the Austin music scene

Not only is the Mexican hyperpop artist demanding more space and rights for LGBTQ+ artists, but she’s also bridging gaps with the mainstream.

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The Austin-based performer p1nkstar is an artist cut from a current mold of musicians and creators making futuristic and glitchy electronic music. 

These sonic characteristics are often grouped as hyperpop — a musical movement focused on an exaggerated or maximalist take on popular music — often including quick-moving electronic production.

Her vocal performances are often adjusted with pitch, and many of p1nkstar’s recordings feature vocals shifted to a higher pitch and octave. These vocal pitches — another staple of hyperpop — make p1nkstar’s vocals sound higher, animated, and from the future.

The artist utilizes this unique form of pop music to supplement Austin, Texas’ own musical scenes. She describes her music as being “far removed from this dimension’s binaries,” thanks to “subversive lyrics” and other qualities.

p1nkstar is originally from Mexico, and moved to Austin in 2014. Some of her songs are partially in Spanish — including the tracks “My Melody” and “Girls Like Us.” 

The pop artist released her first EP, Number 1 Hits!, in early 2020.

Before her current pursuits, p1nkstar graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2018. While pursuing her degree, she designed her own honors bachelor’s: Queer Performance and Online Media. 

Some professors took issue with p1nkstar's unique path of study. p1nkstar was also never taught by a Latinx professors, and only a few queer ones.

Performance artist Emily Lowe, a friend and mentor of p1nkstar, encouraged the artist to hit the stage. For her final two years of college, p1nkstar attended school during the day and performed raves and DJ sets by night. 

The performer’s creative outlets are also not limited to music. She is also known in Austin for putting on shows that embrace queer culture and identities. 

Part of what makes p1nkstar a unique act is her commitment to the visual components of her art. For her song “Girls Like Us,” the pop artist arranged a music video to be created live.

The music video was streamed live in January 2021, and was a near-hour long concert featuring six trans, Texas-based artists alongside p1nkstar.

This live concert put members of underrepresented groups at the center of attention. Trans women, non-binary people, and trans artists of color became the focal point.

The mission to showcase diversity and representation is significant in the setting of Austin, as the city’s music scene is currently predominantly white and straight. That current DNA may dissuade people who do not identify as white and/or straight from participating in its musical scenes.

p1nkstar’s efforts for representation are worthwhile, because the makeup of Austin’s music scene is not the way it is because of a lack of diverse personnel. Instead, artistic scenes separate from mainstream Austin movements exist, welcoming queer and other individuals.

It’s a classic case of communities creating their own in the absence of outside attention or support.

“Trans people, and specifically trans women, have always been living at night, just because it’s safer,” p1nkstar told the Texas Observer. “I’m a person who doesn’t really exist in daylight.” 

LGBTQ+-embracing music scenes have inspired and motivated p1nkstar and her vision. This inspiration and solace was lost during the 2020 global pandemic, so the return of live performance is an opportunity to seize. 

What makes p1nkstar unique is her ability to bridge this gap in Austin music, and create a scene unburdened by lacking representation. p1nkstar and collaborators have made a point in advocating for spaces inclusive of queer and trans artists of color in Austin.

By creating events herself, advocating on higher pay for performers, and by pursuing a musical landscape that embraces booking trans and POC artists, p1nkstar proves a commitment to bettering LGBTQ+ and POC communities. 

The pop artist has even been known to pay some performers out of her own pocket.

The p1nkstar identity was born out of ridicule for the culture of p1nkstar’s home town, Pampico, Tamaulipas in Mexico. She took issue with the values and standards of her hometown. According to the Texas Observer, p1nkstar saw the persona as protection from “a harmful ideology.” 

Despite her impact, p1nkstar is still relatively early in her career. The pop artist only has 1 EP and a handful of singles out. 

On June 30, she played at the second annual Pride in Local Music livestream concert featuring LGBTQ+ artists from Austin and Nashville.

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