Meet the trans singer who found TikTok fame performing duets with herself

A trans musical artist who duets with herself online has told PinkNews about the trials and tribulations of voice therapy as a trans woman.

Marlene, known online as Avelo or Avelosongs, first came to prominence on TikTok in June 2023 after uploading a clip of her singing a duet version of Moon River from the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s with herself in a higher and deeper pitch.

Since then, she has wowed viewers by singing duets alone simply by utilising the amazing control she has over her vocal chords.

But the trans singer tells PinkNews it took a long time for her to accept her voice after coming out.

“At the beginning of my transition I had a lot of trouble with my voice,” she says. “I immediately jumped into, like, voice training or just figuring out how I could sound different than I once did.”

Because hormone replacement therapy (HRT) doesn’t affect a trans feminine person’s voice as it does a trans masculine person, many decide to undergo voice therapy to sound more feminine or to help acclimate their voice in a way that fits their gender identity.

While masculinising HRT can affect the vocal chords of trans masculine people, masculinising voice therapy is also an option for individuals who either don’t want to start HRT or, for one reason or another, want to sound more masculine.

The benefit of voice therapy, for Marlene, is that it has given her the ability to control her vocals in a way she never had before.

“There are a lot of trans artists who do stuff like this,” she says. “But I feel it’s still something that a lot of general public still doesn’t realise that trans people can do.

“It’s very disorienting to see, like, a voice that low come out of me,” she laughs.

Since sharing her talent, Marlene has become a TikTok sensation, sharing clips of her duetting to songs like Teenage Dirtbag by Wheatus, The Last Time by Taylor Swift and Gary Lightbody, and many, many Disney songs.

Beyond just her vocal chords, Marlene says that her decision to live her truth is something she would never look back on.

“I’m so different than how I used to be in my voice, in my gender presentation, in how I perceive my life,” she says. “That connection to, like, singing and making music that I think feeds my soul, that’s still there.

“That’s one of the things I love about the trans experience is that it doesn’t have to be this sort of, like, traditional image of, ‘Okay, I’m starting over, everything is wiped from my past.’ I can live and continue as all of these different versions of myself.”

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