Kiley Lotz, along with her bandmates is known under the stage moniker Petal. The band’s latest release Magic Gone, is an honest artistic reflection that Lotz had while exploring the positives and negatives of self discovery in her accountability, anxiety, depression, responsibility, and mental health, as well as offering a look into the trials that come with making decisions such as moving back home to enter treatment and coming out as queer.

 

Petal’s music is self-described by Lotz as story-driven, in an intimate and personal way. The alternative, indie rock band draws inspiration from artists such as Queen, Janelle Monet, Regina Spektor and Death Cab for Cutie.

 

Lotz is as an openly queer, bisexual and genderqueer person, which is a where a lot of her liberation comes from. 

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“It’s been a really eye opening and beautiful transition," says Lotz. "Coming out was the beginning of a long and continuing process of self actualization, of taking a hard look at myself and the problems I had, and how I could fix them."

 

Internal conflict with being an “out” person reflected hard on Lotz, which she felt limited what she wanted to make in her art. The feeling of being openly queer weighed down on Lotz and her mental health.

 

Recovery for mental health is a journey, and Petal's Magic Gone reflects the sides before recovery and the breaking point that leads to recovery.

 

“I was a closeted queer person struggling with chronic mental health disorders,” Lotz recalls. “I feel like if I’m not learning and growing, I’m wasting my time.”

 

“[Being out] is so inspiring,” she went on to say, admitting It gives her more ambition behind the art she creates and more subtext and meaning to what she puts out.

 

There is a responsibility for artists to be true to themselves, as well as being open in their art, which weighed on Lotz. While she tries not to delve into the subjects of mental health as a way to replace treatment, normalizing the conversations and openness of mental health is something that is important in her work.

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A turning point for Lotz was when she was touring in Amsterdam, where she saw the Secret Annex that Anne Frank and her family used to hide from the Nazi’s. She had been feeling depressed and disappointed in herself, and feeling a conflict of self emotions while “living her dreams.” When she happened upon the house, she says the beauty of the scene with the history of what happened there overwhelmed her, making her realize that there was more to herself than she had previously admitted.

 

“In the moment it feels like you’re so small, but your impact can be a lot bigger,” she says.

 

“There’s bravery in acknowledging your truth,” offers Lotz. “I needed to surrender to the truth. Sometimes it doesn’t feel good; it really hurts and it’s confusing but I am really grateful that I can ask questions and I’m not afraid. There’s moments in your life where you take responsibility for your story and how you want to embrace your identity.”

 

The foundation of Lotz’s musical passion can be drawn from many powerhouses, but she says that Freddie Mercury and Queen, and Elton John are significant forces she identifies with. 

 

“When you watch Freddie Mercury perform, the freedom in the way he moves, the power and the joy in the way he sings, that totally grasped me as a child,” says Lotz.

 

When reflecting on queer artists' work and history, there is a lot to learn from. Lotz reflects on the rights and privileges that she can take part in.

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“It’s important to see where we have privilege in our lives, and say, where can I be lifting up others, and supporting others with the resources that I have?” she says. 

 

Lotz ponders and carries these questions with her where ever she performs, thinking about the audience and what can she say that could be helpful and start a conversation to help everyone grow:

 

“I hope I never stop growing and learning as an artist. I think as long as we all keep that hunger going, only good can come from that.”

 

Petal will be playing the Blueberry Hill Duck Room along with Sir Babygirl and Cave People, in the Delmar Loop on January 21, doors open at 7 pm, show at 8 pm. Advance tickets are $12 or $15 at the door. All ages ($2 minor surcharge).

 

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