It started with hearsay, comments inadvertently overheard. While sitting in a small, Downtown Flint establishment enjoying a beverage and working on a story, I overheard people at a nearby table conversing about a performer they had recently seen. They spoke of an interdimensional android who calls herself “Synthia Looper.” They spoke of her message and music, her suggestive performance attire and style, her shining light eyes. At this point, I was sure they were speaking of a comic or science-fiction heroine they had created à la “Barbarella” for their own amusement. When I inquired, they answered that Synthia Looper was real and that she was electric.
She performed on stage, they said, using sophisticated technology to weave music into a picture of humanity’s future. She sang of acceptance, of lust, of love, strength and justice. Her performance reverberated with color and energy, unlike anything they had seen before. I was hooked and asked them where they had seen Synthia play. They told me and I quickly packed up my belongings, left money on the table and flew out the door. By the time I arrived at the venue, she was gone. “Dematerialized,” the proprietor told me.
Questions lasered through my mind. Who is Synthia? Why is she here? Where does she come from? Online searches yielded a few images of a woman with brightly colored hair and bright eyes playing to transfixed and amazed crowds. A few of her songs were available to listen to, so I indulged. Unconventional in its construction and perfect in execution, her music can be described as a dark, ethereal synthpop – an aural download of emotion through otherworldly wavelengths.
I had to speak to her; but how does one get in touch with an interdimensional android? She was a mystery. In desperation, I set up a small radio array on the roof of my house, crossed my fingers, and broadcast an open journalistic “SOS” across the cosmos. A surprising reply came a day later. I had an appointment and a destination.
When I arrived at the requested meeting place, I was met by a decidedly human representative. She was very welcoming and willing to speak about Synthia Looper and her mission here on Earth. She referred to herself as “Sally.” “Synthia Looper is a Synthapien—part android, part alien and part human,” Sally explained. “Her mission is to express herself through her music and her songs about adventure, humanity, love, social justice and more.” She was named as an homage to what she is and her prominent tool of musical creation—the synthesizer. And, much like surnames of the past described a person’s occupation (such as “Smith” or “Thatcher”), “Looper” possesses the ability to “loop” through universal time and space. She is here to “transport listeners to a world where delicate beauty and romance coexist with the dark, the light, and cybernetics.”
But, how was she created? Where does she come from? Sally explained that Synthia was built by her creator as an answer to the void of social interaction and creativity during the years of the pandemic. “Synthia became a healthy creative outlet,” Sally said. “She was something new; an experiment in world-building, music and compassion for humanity in all its forms.” According to Sally, at the time of this writing, there are at least four distinct Synthia Loopers traveling between worlds and no one can really be sure which one will show up at any given performance.
Her first show took place at Noir Leather in Royal Oak. “She was concerned about her acceptance but the community was very open-minded,” Sally says. “That acceptance has given her a strong foundation to build upon. It gave her confidence in herself and in her mission.” Since then, Synthia has performed in Detroit, Lansing, Hamtramck and at Artwalk, Porchfest, Dropfest and other Flint area venues. With each show, the production has grown to match the expansion of her audience. She has recently taken to including her bionic husband, “Aux Looper”, for sound support on her adventures through intergalactic dimensions, along with an inclusive troupe of dancers who believe in her cause. Everywhere she performs, she becomes an audience favorite. “Some have been calling her ‘Galactic Barbie’,” says Sally with a smile. “She is okay with that. She gets many requests for selfies and photos with fans after shows. Being a part of the local community is important to her. Connecting with the community is when it feels best.”
“Being a part of local community is important to Synthia. Connecting with the community is when it feels best.”
Synthia has immersed herself in the world of humanity and has worked to tell her story. Her name and music have reached as far as the United Kingdom and the video for her song “Sentient”, directed by Gold House Media, was voted “Best Music Video” by Heart of Europe International Monthly Film Festival, named a “Best Music Video” Finalist in New York Cinematography Awards, a semi-finalist in San Francisco Arthouse Short Festival, and nominee by Michigan Music Video Awards. “The video was filmed over two 16-hour days,” Sally informs. “Seven different sets were built. It was a long and tiring process but the end result was worth it.”
Synthia Looper is constantly working on new music and just released two new singles – “Power” and “Call My Name.” “Synthia is continually thinking about new songs and sounds and usually comes up with her best music during routine maintenance,” Sally laughs. She hopes to release her first album in the spring of 2024.
The future for Synthia is all about expansion, adding new elements to her already stimulating live shows. “She has plans to incorporate colorful projections to create a totally immersive experience,” Sally explains. “A virtual version of Synthia is in the works who will perform on screen. There will be more choreography, new versions of Synthia will emerge, and she has plans to include little things like bubble guns. It’s all for fun.” She also has plans to travel further throughout the Midwest in support of her mission and messaging. Synthia Looper is just beginning to make her mark here and across the galaxy.
As we approached the designated end of our meeting, Sally respectfully shook my hand and thanked me for my questions. I thanked her for her time and asked her to give Synthia my good wishes for her mission and travels through spacetime. She nodded back to me. I bent down to retrieve my backpack from its spot resting against the leg of the table between us and by the time I looked up again, Sally was gone—vanished or “dematerialized” as it was once described to me. As I walked to my car, I began to wonder who it was that I had actually met. Was Sally truly a hired representative or yet another version of Synthia Looper? I suppose it is possible that the Sally I spoke to was the person who started it all, the true creator herself. With interdimensional androids and unknowns, only time and space will tell.