Premiere: “Dust” by VQnC

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Released just in time for Pride Month, the latest from VQnC is a shimmering disco track as colorful as the cosmos themselves.

“We’re dust until we rise” is the central chorus of VQnC’sDust,” an anthem of acceptance and growth inspired by Tory Corless’ own coming out journey during the pandemic. By drawing on how stars are born from dust, Corless provides an apt metaphor for needing to clear away the things that obscure us to reveal our truest selves.

“I really thought about my life and the duality I felt like I lived in different spaces,” Corless says. “And I feel like this is true for a lot of queer people that have minimized certain parts of ourselves in different spaces and in different communities for a variety of reasons.” 

This reflection led Corless to come out to her family, and was the starting inspiration for “Dust.” However, it wasn’t until many journal entries later that the track came to be. Corless describes her writing process as putting together different memories and life experiences, layering them into lyrics and melodies that tell a story. As a result, “Dust” is a kaleidoscope of her coming out journey, as complex and nonlinear as Corless’ vocal harmonies themselves.

Opening with “What have I been running from, to grapple with who I’ve become,” the track progresses from a pulsing drum beat to Corless’ relentless voice barreling through the outro. But anchored by the Nu-Wave synth at the center of the melody, it very much feels like Corless has stopped running and come into her own. “Dust” may be Corless’ personal declaration of embracing her queer identity, but she also acknowledges that shaking off the dust is an ongoing process in other ways. 

“I feel like one of the guiding quotes that I live by is ‘life is a constant state of becoming,’ she says. “I don’t think that there’s ever going to be a time where I’m going to rest my laurels on a way of being. I feel like I’m constantly trying to be a better person.”

However, Corless describes how this emotional excavation must be balanced with self-acceptance. Her last single, “Hot ‘N Healthy,” was released two years ago, when the pandemic was still ushering in a very different world for the music industry. Faced with new challenges as an artist, she also needed to find a new sense of confidence when it came to releasing music. 

“You can always iterate and you can always continue to work on your craft,” Corless describes. “It’s sort of just figuring out where the stopping point is, paired with your own emotional willingness to release it.”

Releasing “Dust” during Pride Month just felt like the right time, Corless says. Not only does she get to share her own journey to authenticity and acceptance, she is also creating space for listeners at every step along the way. 

“I hope that this song meets somebody in their journey wherever they are. It’s okay if you’re not out to everybody,” Corless says. “Your journey is your own and that’s important and special. There’s hope on the other side of that, there’s beauty on the other side of that.”

There’s a duality in “Dust” that Corless describes as “introspective dance music.” If you are ready for joy, the punchy melody is there for you to “breathe and shake tonight.” But if you haven’t worked through all the dust yet, Corless’ enveloping vocals swoop in with “You feel it right, you feel the world inside.” 

This Pride, Corless wants listeners to “go on the dance floor and think about their lives.” It is, as she describes, where music meets meditation on the dance floor. This seems to capture all that Pride is about: self-discovery, acceptance, reflection, and joy. 

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