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2021 Loring Awards nominees showcase queer Como talent

Vote for your favorite artists before polls close on March 5 at midnight.
Image by Mary Ellen Ritter

Loring Collective announced the nominees for the 2021 Loring Awards on Feb. 19, including several bands from the Como area.

Dad Bod, Bugsy and Gully Boys are nominees for a variety of awards, such as Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Artist of the Year.

This is the second annual Loring Awards hosted by Loring Collective, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering queer creatives in the Twin Cities area. The collective was co-founded by recent University of Minnesota graduates Tony Burton and Melissa Riepe.

Dad Bod, an indie five-piece consisting of Callie Marino, Wilson Zellar, Noah Topliff, Michael McGough and Alex Gray, is nominated for Artist of the Year and Album of the Year for “Precursor.”

“Precursor” was originally intended to be a full band collaboration, but because of quarantine, not everyone was able to contribute. The EP features songs written by Marino and Zellar — including “Midlife Crisis,” one of the first songs Marino ever wrote.

“It’s a good reminder to any artists that it’s important to keep making art,” Marino said of the 2021 Loring Awards.

Right now, Dad Bod is working on their first full-length album.

Bugsy, an indie-pop quartet including Emily Schoonover, Griffen Desai, Shannon Maroney and Alex Norman, is nominated for Record of the Year for “Drunk,” Album of the Year for “Teratoma” and Artist of the Year.

“Teratoma” was recorded only a few months after everyone in the band met each other, and it serves as an introduction to Bugsy and their unique sound.

Their new music, including the single “Overwhelming,” reflects the band becoming closer and more comfortable with each other.

“There’s more trust in the process,” Schoonover said.

Nadi McGill, drummer and vocalist for punk trio Gully Boys, is nominated for Fashion Icon of the Year and Creative Activist of the Year.

McGill describes their style as “pretty alternative” and takes inspiration from androgynous models, preferring to mix feminine and masculine energy.

Growing up, McGill said they weren’t able to fully express themselves through fashion because they couldn’t afford it. Now that McGill makes their own money, they like to wear whatever they want.

“I like to think of what my younger self would want to wear,” McGill said.

Following the police killing of George Floyd in 2020, McGill attended protests and expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement selling “Demolish White Supremacy” shirts and raising over $20,000 in sales.

The profits were donated to Northside Funders Group, an organization that seeks to advance social, educational and economic opportunities in North Minneapolis.

McGill continues to speak out against systemic racism on social media and supports defunding the police.

Gully Boys will start recording their second album at the end of March, McGill said.

Post-pandemic, Loring Collective plans to open a communal space called “House of Loring” that would serve primarily as a safe space for all queer creatives, something lacking in event spaces prior to COVID-19.

Currently, the Collective provides networking and name recognition to support artists but they hope to provide paid opportunities in the future as they increase their donor base.

The Loring Awards allows the nominees to connect with other queer artists in a time where they may feel disconnected.

“It’s been a great example of how creativity can really shine through difficult times,” Burton said.

Voting for the 2021 Loring Awards ends March 5 at midnight. You can vote for your favorite artists here. The awards show will premiere on Friday, March 12 at 8 p.m. on Instagram Live.

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