A single voice rose out above the rest. The crowd grew quiet in anxious anticipation. “I run barefoot, shoes at the door”; the words rang clearly in the quiet room. I felt the crowd shift on their feet, and the curtains revealed the person everyone was waiting for. The neon lights in the back lit up, each letter in lowercase: d o d i e. I went to my first-ever concert last spring break. I watched awe-struck as Dodie performed her Build a Problem Tour from The Plaza Live in Orlando, just 20 minutes from my hometown. She lit up the stage with her engaging presence and child-like energy. Her body moved in leaps as she danced by the band members and laughed with the crowd.
The words she sang took me back in time.
Six years earlier, I sat at my computer, eyes wide and mouth agape. Dodie’s YouTube videos played on auto, and I was enamored by the way her songs flowed both individually and as a whole. I felt connected to her through her words, and for the first time, I understood the power of music. In the years that followed, I watched and rewatched her videos, playing her music on repeat.
During my senior year of high school, my brother and I got our wisdom teeth out. Fresh out of surgery and still on anesthesia, I caught my mom’s eye. “Put on Dodie,” I hissed. She looked at me in confusion. “Dodie,” I said again sternly. My mom explained that she could not until we left the office; I choked back tears. I insisted she give me back my phone so I could tell Dodie about her apprehension. Now, at this point, I had never even seen Dodie in person, and we were definitely not friends who spoke on a regular basis. So, even if I had my phone, my ambitions were a little high.
After leaving high school, my days of binging her channel were behind me. Sorta.
While I no longer sat in front of my screen, rewatching her posts from years prior, I did keep up with her updates and got a signed copy of her Build a Problem vinyl record. As the years passed, I fell behind on her content, and my life became less tied to hers. But two years later, I stood just a few feet away from her.
When my partner got us tickets to her 2022 tour for Christmas, my heart melted. It had been six years of pointed jokes and subtle jabs at my obsession with Dodie. Now, we would be watching her live on stage together. The show brought me to tears. The shift in tone as she moved through her setlist reminded me of the times her music got me through. She played and sang what she deemed a “sad song mashup” of songs through the years, starting with one of her very first songs. “Would you be so kind”; a song about unrequited love. It was a song I sang along to in my early teenage years, a song that reflected my life events at the time. I stood there with my partner, knowing life works out and smiling through my nostalgic tears.
As the concert neared its end, Dodie acknowledged the elephant in the room— the elephant of pride flags and rainbow garb.
The effect Dodie had on every single one of our queer journeys was almost palpable. She segwayed into “Rainbow,” a song about social expectations and going against the grain to be authentic. Then, “She,” a song about loving a woman. These were two songs that were milestones in my own queer journey, and it meant the world to hear them live.
The Dodie tour tied loose ends in my life. It bridged the past to the present, and it healed the part of me that still asked, “Is it dodie yellow, though?” I’m so grateful for the path my life took, and Dodie played a huge role in my progress to accept and find myself. Last spring break, my world shifted when I saw Dodie on tour. This spring break, I go headfirst into another year. I know I can take on anything that comes my way.