Just in Time for Pride, Saro Comes into His Own

Just in Time for Pride, Saro Comes into His Own

VMAN caught up with the singer in between bi-coastal Pride festivities and just following his latest EP.

VMAN caught up with the singer in between bi-coastal Pride festivities and just following his latest EP.

Photography: Sam Ramirez

Styling: Ton Aguilar

Text: James Manso

Though Saro never really came out to his fans, he’d left them certain clues—some more ambiguous than others. While his Instagram shows a lot of bare skin, a little lamé and a hint of nail polish, he's steered clear of gendering the lovers, past and present, who riddle his songs. He's kept the 2019 listener guessing—until now. “This is the first time that I’ve been more open when it comes to my sexuality [and] speaking about gender,” he says, referring Duplex, the first track of his latest EP, Die Alone. ("There’s a pretty boy sitting on my bed but it’s over my head," he muses on the track.) “I used to be afraid to be ‘out’ because I didn’t want anyone to put me in a box, or label me, which I’m not afraid of anymore,” he adds.

June's been a month full of firsts for Saro. It started with his EP, released on June 7th, followed by his performance at L.A. Pride. Now in New York for World Pride, and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots kicking the LGBTQIA+ rights movement into motion, he’s leaning into discussions of his queer identity, particularly as it relates to being biracial.

These themes lend themselves to the subtly vulnerable style showcased on his two preceding EPs. “I’m sure some people still don’t know because I’ve never done the, like, ‘I’m gay, I’m queer,’ kinda thing,” he says. “But I also, you know, post certain things that make it obvious, I think.” Recent photos of Saro celebrating Pride with Laverne Cox, or speaking on a panel of Queer People of Color in an Instagram caption, arguably fall under the latter category.

‘Die Alone’ is the closest a listener will get to Saro coming out in the traditional sense, but that’s hardly the bulk of the EP. At seven tracks, each song oscillates between self-deprecation and the elusiveness of a successful relationship. The release crescendos at “Nothing Remains”, a track Saro only describes as having had an “extremely dramatic” writing process. It was his normal lights-out approach to songwriting (literally with the lights turned off), but heightened by his proximity to a recent breakup. “I went to the studio to get some stuff off my chest and freestyled the whole song, basically. And I didn’t really change much of the lyrics,” he said. “It all just came out of me and I, like, collapsed.”

Each track took its pound of flesh: “I’ve already hated and loved, hated and loved every song like five times by the time it comes out,” he says. What’s he up to after Pride? His first album, which is set to be a collage of the predominating themes he’s been holding onto for a project broader in scope than his standard EP. Veering off into his childhood and touching on other past pressure points, the prospect of a full-length doesn’t hold the intimidating gravity it used to.“I needed three EP's to grow and figure out exactly what I wanted to do,” Saro said, “and who I was.”

See Sam Ramirez's photos of the singer in the slideshow below.

Photo by Sam Ramirez

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