Roger That: Roger Kuhn’s Message of Inclusion is Received in “Kaleidoscope”

Roger Kuhn’s new single, “Kaleidoscope” – his first since signing with music label, So Fierce Music – is a dance song rooted in classic house and progressive EDM that asks listeners: what do you believe? and what does it mean to be free?

Roger Kuhn. Photo by Bjorn Bolinder.

For the artist, freedom is pursuing his dreams and living his truth, which is why after working as a psychotherapist for the past decade, Roger Kuhn decided to take time away from his practice and prioritize his creative expression once again.  

“I love being a music artist,” the singer-songwriter whose breakout single from 2008, “What’s Your Name,” was crowned Song of the Year by the Stonewall Society for the Arts, explains. He says that even the lyrics in “Kaleidoscope” reflect on his joy.

“I sing about flying through the sky, never being so high, and how I can’t believe I’m not falling.  That’s who I am when I am performing live or writing songs.  I am living my ultimate purpose and celebrating my authentic self.” 

Roger Kuhn’s real self includes being a bi-racial, bi-cultural, Two-Spirit Indigiqueer artist.  His father was of German and Russian descent and his mother is a Poarch Creek woman.   He recalls his childhood in rural North Dakota as being a mix of curiosity and wonder where he would spend hours meandering through the forests on the family farm, singing and writing songs.  Sadly, there were moments of horror, too, as his father was an abusive alcoholic who terrorized Roger’s family.  The pain was further exacerbated by the young boy’s feelings of isolation as he began to question his gender and sexual orientation.

 “I always knew I was different from the other kids my age. I never felt like a boy, nor did I feel like a girl.  I grew up loving He-Man, Thundercats, Barbie, and She-Ra.  I used to pretend I was Madonna and David Bowie at the same time.” 

Photo by Bjorn Bolinder

It wasn’t until his mid twenties when he discovered what it meant to be Two-Spirit.  Coined by Dr. Myra Laramee of the Fisher River Cree Nation in 1990, Two-Spirit is used to signify male, female, and intersexed individuals who combine activities of both gender traits. In most tribes, they are considered neither men nor women; they occupy a distinct, alternative gender status.

Roger says his gender is best described as circular, meaning he is not on a fixed binary.   It is the same with his sexuality.   “Gender and sexual orientation can be seen through a kaleidoscopic lens,” he explains. “When you peer through a kaleidoscope you see multiples shapes, colors, expressions, and beauty, which is what life is like if we allow ourselves to see beyond the ordinary.”  

Kuhn sings about it in “Kaleidoscope,” a song he co-wrote with producer Velvet Code and recorded at Mix Recording Studio in Los Angeles.    Its accompanying music video was shot in Toronto.  Directed by Joey Arrigo, edited by Director of Photography Phil Kim and produced by Velvet Code, with make-up by Lady Nova, the video features multiple bursts of colors with AI elements interspersed throughout to exemplify the kaleidoscopic ways of seeing life.   Like the song, it is meant to depict coming out of a dark period, finding inner strength, and celebrating liberation.   

Photo by Bjorn Bolinder

“I have come to learn that the foundation for liberation is pleasure,” Roger Kuhn sums up.  “Pleasure heals.  That is why finding happiness and satisfaction is key in life.”

In 2022, Roger Kuhn was featured in the Levi’s Pride campaign, underscoring his pivotal role in promoting awareness and acceptance within the Two-Spirit community.  Last year, he released a songwriting anthology called Mvto (the Muscogee word for ‘thank you’).   Crafted over the span of two decades, it is a captivating journey through Kuhn’s artistic evolution that demonstrates his remarkable ability to capture hearts and minds with his music and activism.

Roger Kuhn’s “Kaleidoscope” is being distributed by So Fierce Music/The Orchard/Sony Music Entertainment.

Visit Follow Roger Kuhn on Instagram.

Ben Nelson

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