Before They Were Famous: Ana Matronic
Her real name is Ana Lynch. She is the underrated female singer of the Scissor Sisters, that fantastically futuristic gay cultured band with one of the biggest dance songs of the past ten years, ‘Don’t Feel Like Dancin’’. Her love of bright clothes and femininity has placed her in an internationally recognised pop group with her own cult following of fans (mostly gay men) who call themselves the Nuns of the Scissorhood or Anasexuals.
But before the creepy nun following and her love of robots (hence the stage name), Lynch was a quite girl from Oregon. She was born in 1974, her father was an art director for a bioengineering company, while her mother was an art teacher. Her parents separated when she was three. When Lynch turned six, her mother told her that the reason her father left was because he was gay.
“I burst into tears immediately because I knew this meant my parents would never be together again.”
Lynch has described her relationship with her father as very close and she has been traumatised since the day she found out that he contracted AIDS. He died from the virus when she was only 15. Lynch has become an advocate for sufferers of HIV and is patron for the charity, Body and Soul, that assists the families of those that suffer from the disease. It would seem that Lynch has tried to fully come to terms or perhaps gain closure through the identifying of the disease and the social aspects of its stigma, which she has said she has felt and was ashamed of the disease in her family, telling her friends that her father died of a type of cancer instead.
“There was such a stigma attached to it (this was 1990) that people knowing he had AIDS would overshadow the fact that he was dying and that was the most important thing that I wanted to communicate – that my father was being taken away from me.”
After a difficult childhood, coming to grips with her father’s death for many years, Lynch moved to California, dropping out of a college degree in anthropology as she wanted to be a stage performer. She joined a drag club called the Trannyshack, where she performed regularly for gay men.
“I was what they called a faux queen. But because I was so active in this one club and it became so popular, I think I surpassed the status of faux queen to actual drag queen! It was incredible fun to do. Tranny Shack became my college of performance art, a great place to learn and grow as a performer.”
After three years of performing and convincing people that she was a man in drag, Lynch moved to New York and formed her own drag club called, Knockoff (The name meaning a knockoff of the original drag club, the TrannyShack). She started singing in her shows, as part of her cabaret performances, honing her talents.
In 2000, Lynch was introduced to a gay couple during a costume party, where her future colleague, Jake Shears, was dressed as an abortion (covered in blood and coat hangers) and his partner was dressed as the morning after pill.
“They were the gruesome twosome. It was just so sick that I loved it.”
It was at this time that Shears was creating a band with his friend Scott Hoffman (or Babydaddy, which is his stage name), called Dead Lesbian and the Fibrillating Scissor Sisters. Lynch joined them as a singer and they played clubs all over the city, gaining popularity. They shortened their name and took in two more members, Paddy Boom and Del Marquis.
After they released a cover of the Pink Floyd song, ‘Comfortably Numb’, they started rising in fame and were singed to Polydor Records. The British record deal led to a UK tour and their debut album, Scissor Sisters. The album reached number ten in the UK charts and was the best-selling album of 2004.
After the big breakthrough and many successful singles, they were being praised by musicians like Bono, saying they were the: “the best pop group in the world.” Another huge fan was Elton John, who decided to collaborate with them on a song as a writer and the pianist. That song was their biggest hit, ‘Don’t Feel like Dancin’”.
That song peaked at number one in over ten different countries and still remains their ice breaker.
Lynch proved that, yet again, a creative mind and sense of passion can overcome seemingly insurmountable hardships, and she did it in fabulous style.
Happy listening, Vultures.