Los Angeles-based artist DORIAN WOOD is "armed with a vocal charisma that would befit a preacher and an experimental streak that would make avant-gardists swoon" (WNYC Culture). Through their corpulent body and distinctive voice, Dorian challenges the separation of artist and spectator, using subject matter informed by their own perspective as a non-binary person of color and an autodidact without a formal college education nor a strong alliance to any community.
Born in Echo Park, California, Dorian first gained exposure performing on the queer bar circuit of Los Angeles. Their debut album, BOLKA, received wide critical acclaim for its impeccable merging of folk, soul, Bulgarian choral music and experimental music. Their follow-up EP, Black Pig Suite, featured members of the L.A. experimental orchestra Killsonic, of which Dorian was a principal member for three years.
In 2010, Dorian received critical praise for their performance and "picture perfect" art direction (Los Angeles Times) in the Killsonic opera, Tongues Bloody Tongues, presented at the REDCAT in Los Angeles. 2010 also saw the release of the album Brutus, which featured only Dorian on vocal and piano, and was recorded live at St. Giles-in-the-Fields, a church in London, in the midst of their European tour.
In 2011, Dorian was commissioned by LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions) to present a new work for the performance series Los Angeles Goes Live, part of Pacific Standard Time. Dorian's performance installation, Athco, Or The Renaissance of Faggot Tree, incorporated over 30 performers, and was presented at Barnsdall Art Park. Dorian also performed with acclaimed artist Marina Abramovic in her piece An Artist's Life Manifesto, presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA).
Dorian's 2013 breakthrough album, Rattle Rattle, involved over 60 musicians, including a 45-member choir assembled by Dorian, The Difficult Women. That same year, Dorian directed the controversial video for the single "La Cara Infinita", which featured a guest appearance by actress Margaret Cho. In 2014, the Rattle Rattle companion EP Down, The Dirty Roof was released.
Dorian's musical, performative and visual works have been presented worldwide, at such institutions as The Broad (Los Angeles), LACMA (Los Angeles), The Stone (NYC), Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach), MASS Gallery (Austin), Stockholm Fringe Fest, La Teatreria (Mexico City) and Museum Folkwang (Essen), and at such festivals as Cruilla (Spain), Festival de Arte Sacro (Spain), Moers Festival (Germany), Cully Jazz Festival (Switzerland), Approximation Festival (Germany), Festivals Kometa (Latvia) and Saint Ghetto (Switzerland).
In 2017, Dorian released the album XALÁ, recorded in Villarreal, Spain with bassist Xavi Muñoz (Laetitia Sadier) and percussionist Marcos Junquera (Daniel Johnston). In a first for Dorian, the album is sung completely in their mother tongue of Spanish. XALÁ generated two videos conceptualized by Dorian: "CORPULENXIA", "MARTILLOS", and the 2019 short film, PAISA, co-directed by Dorian with longtime collaborator Graham Kolbeins.
2019 has also seen the debut of XAVELA LUX AETERNA, Dorian's chamber orchestra tribute to the life and legacy of Chavela Vargas, with string arrangements by Spanish artist Alberto Montero. The premiere of XAVELA LUX AETERNA took place at the Festival de Arte Sacro in Madrid.
P R E S S
"Conservatories and gay bars in Los Angeles were the places where Dorian Wood began to develop his particular way of looking at music...and this, combined with the gifts of nature (a powerful voice and an innate ability to deliver intense performances), have made him an artist that is both transcendental and unclassifiable." - ROLLING STONE (Spain)
"The performer, who bends genres as much as he bends gender, in performances that are a little bit torch song and a lot avant-garde, delivers vocals that offer sublime beauty and pain." - LOS ANGELES TIMES
"A fearless artist and performer whose voice inhabits a room like a choir of ghosts...the man's work is imbued with both bleeding rawness and dramatic flair." - LA WEEKLY
"A cutting edge sound that respectfully acknowledges the folk music of his birth, Dorian is an artist who does not stop...his life is the rhythm of his creative impetus." - GQ (Mexico)
"While his poetry may leave you politically unsettled, Wood is exercising his freedom to boldly share his perspective that is at times both nightmarish and delicate, elegant and disturbed, and well worth many undivided listens." - THE DELI MAGAZINE
"Dorian Wood is a force of nature, and not merely due to his magnificent presence, but because his concerts are like a meteor shower and the four elements." - MONDOSONORO (Spain)