Moving to your own beat is all you can do to stay sane.


Chicago-based musician and performance artist Edwin Days is a shining example of that. Edwin kept his wits about while growing up gay in an extremely homophobic Spanish-Caribbean culture and a fanatically religious household. Despite the challenges he faced while growing up, he has always exuded an aura of confidence and belief in himself. As he says, "it is exhausting trying to change people's point of view" so why bother trying to be something you're not just to please others?


"As far as I can remember, I have always been very comfortable in my own skin," he says. "I actually never had to come out to my family – they knew at an early age that it was not girls I was chasing in school." But his family knowing he was gay and accepting it are two very different concepts.

 

edwin3

Edwin Days (photo by Mateo)

The only son of a Methodist preacher, Edwin admits it was difficult to fully be himself in a household where "the Bible was served for breakfast, lunch and dinner" and where homosexuality is viewed as a sin. To this day, Edwin and his father do not have much of a relationship. His devoutly Christian father, it appears, has chosen to blindly follow the instructions of a mythological creature rather than accept and love his only son as he is. The rhetorical question begs to be asked: how hypocritical is that?


Interestingly, his father's religion is what drew Edwin to the light of music and performance. "I got into music at church, actually. It was the only way I could tolerate going," Edwin says. "I started singing in church [in Puerto Rico] at age 5 or 6. I enjoyed singing and having an audience." He sang at church up until his late teens.


At that time, Edwin's father landed a job at a Methodist church in Chicago, so the Dominican family, which had been living in Puerto Rico for years, packed its bags and moved north. The change proved positive.
A few years after the big move, Edwin got a job as a door guy at a dance club called Sonotheque. He had already been writing lyrics and was seeking a way to express himself. "The lyrics I was writing at the time were confrontational and rebellious – they were coming from a place of liberation from the years of religious repression as a child and teenager," Edwin says.

 

edwin1Edwin Days (photo by Robert Flynt)

Seeking an outlet for his lyrics, he approached one of the resident DJs at the club to see if he'd help him work on a track. He did, and so Edwin began his adventures in music and performance.


Edwin's first show was at a Halloween party. "Minutes before I was going on, the hosts received a phone call. Their dad had passed away, but still, they decided to keep the party going."


He went on to play in clubs and bars, and as his performance evolved, he began adding visual elements such as props, theatrics and abstract dancing.


Later on he formed a three-piece band called Future Passion, which lasted a few years, playing galleries and underground parties.


Nowadays, Edwin is busy with his current project, Omo de Note, and continues to play clubs and galleries. He was recently approached by a music label called Don't trust Humans, which expressed interest in releasing an Omo de Note record.


Edwin is also busy modeling. He was recently in New York City working with photographer Robert Flynt, whose work has been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum and the International Center of Photography, among many other places.


As for his personal life, Edwin has been able to fill the spot vacated by his father with the love of his husband, whom he married in Iowa about two years ago, when gay marriage was still illegal in Illinois.


To learn more about Edwin and his work, please visit www.edwindays.com.

 

T. Rosa

T. Rosa

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