Adam Lambert is an openly gay singer, who came from the American Idol stable; however, according to the Daily Express Adam 2009 run on American Idol his clearly extraordinary vocals led to controversy when it was discovered that he had appeared professionally on stage in several musicals.
Most notably, he played Joshua opposite Val Kilmer in the short-lived L.A. production of The Ten Commandments: The Musical.
This led to further roles, including playing Fiyero in the American national touring production of Wicked.
Currently acting as the front man with Queen on their tour, and a video of his performing “Ghost Town” has been given air time.
Here is Adam with Queen with Ghost Town
Troye Sivan’s highly anticipated EP Wild is only hours away from its U.S. release when I meet with him on a balmy Thursday afternoon at a West Hollywood coffee shop. With more than 3.5 million followers on YouTube, the singer’s latest effort had no trouble claiming the top spot on iTunes moments after it became available for preorder, but the success of his previous album, 2014’s TRXYE, set a high standard for the artist to surpass. Upon its debut, it was the number 1 album in 66 countries on iTunes and debuted at number 5 on the Billboard 200, and the music video for album’s lead single, “Happy Little Pill,” went on to rack up more than 17.5 million views.
These are statistics that might make any emerging artist antsy on the eve of a follow-up release, but the 20-year-old Australian-raised singer is quite at ease as he saunters into the shop, dressed in a plain maroon T-shirt and skinny jeans, with a satisfied smile splashed across his face. Moments after he joins me at a quiet corner table, he explains why competing with prior success is the furthest thing from his mind.
“Chart positions are very cool and awesome, but my biggest worry between the last EP and this one was that my music would change and grow, and I feel like that’s happened,” he says. “However, when I first set out to work on Wild, it was nerve-racking because I wasn’t sure what I was capable of — I’m still not sure — but as soon as I had that moment where I thought, That’s better than anything I’ve written before, the pressure got better and better because I felt at ease about writing something I was really proud of.”
He cocks his head thoughtfully to one side before adding, “I think the most important thing to me at this point in my career is being able to be honest in my songwriting — and these songs are about boys.”
It’s this kind of fearless honesty that has earned Sivan his legions of loyal followers and placed him on a short list of young out artists like Sam Smith, Shamir, and Years & Years front manOlly Alexander — LGBT trailblazers who refuse to believe the myth that a successful career can only be had by staying in the closet. In fact, Sivan says he feels it’s his responsibility to break new ground for the next generation.
“I have a platform and I should be using it to spread good if I can,” he says. “I know being able to see a gay artist who was living a happy, successful, and healthy life is something I would’ve appreciated seeing when I was 13 years old. The thought of being that for someone else is really awesome to me, and it motivates me to keep living my truth openly, honestly, and proudly.”
For Sivan, living that truth means embracing subjects in his art that others have been afraid to tackle in the past. Writing love songs with male pronouns for his previous EP was the first step, but Sivan says he wanted to help move the needle for LGBT visibility even further this time around.
In his latest music video, for the title song “Wild,” he presents a story of first love between two very young boys.
“I feel like gay relationships are sexualized in the media and I just wanted to show a romantic, adorable, puppy love situation between two little boys because that’s something we never ever see,” he says. “We usually see stories when the teen is grown up, they’re 18, they’re going out, and maybe they’re promiscuous. That’s a part of gay culture — and it’s a fun part of gay culture — but there’s also those little baby crushes you have when you’re younger. I wanted to show that naïveté, that innocence, and that joy before someone tells you there’s something wrong with you.”
He stops and turns his gaze toward the steady stream of traffic rolling by on Melrose Avenue a few feet away and his voice softens before he continues.
“Unfortunately for me, I always felt in the back of my mind that there was something wrong with me. Even when I was a little kid, I remember suppressing any feelings I had towards other boys,” he says. “I was just aware I wasn’t supposed to be having those feelings from a very young age. And the boys in the music video, I only wish that I could’ve had that kind…”
He stops again, this time taking a deep breath before meeting my gaze with a warm smile. “Well, let’s just say I guess I’m a little jealous of the kids in the music video because they get to experience that — if only for a brief second, but they get to experience that relationship without any baggage.”
The subject is obviously one close to his heart, and Sivan says the video is the first installment of his “Blue Neighborhood Trilogy,” which will follow the story of these fictional boys as their relationship develops over years.
“To me the old ways of thinking about sexuality, these are all inevitable things that are going to change and my attitude is, let’s pretend as if they are changed,” he says. “Let’s pretend it’s not an issue to have two boys kissing in a music video or whatever it is. Let’s just do it and do it unapologetically because that is our honest experience. That is our truth.”
He adds, “Hopefully these videos will be the most viewed thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
With his latest music video garnering more than 2.5 million views in its first week and ringing endorsements of his new EP from famous fans like Taylor Swift, the singer appears to be well on his way to achieving that goal. Furthermore, his growing popularity is proof that young LGBT artists making music about their experiences can be power players in the same field as their straight counterparts.
Sivan teases that “a lot more music” from him will drop before the end of the year and he’ll be kicking off a tour “very soon” as well. Nevertheless, throughout it all he plans to stay focused on his primary mission: Creating a more inclusive music landscape for LGBT people.
“Over the years I’ve met a lot of fans who will whisper things in my ear like, ‘I’m bisexual and no one knows except for you now.’ Those are always awesome moments and I love that people feel like they can confide in me…but I’m fighting for a day when that won’t be necessary,” he says. “It’s my hope that somewhere, a young gay person who is struggling with who they are will see something like ‘Wild’ and say, ‘Maybe I do like boys, and that’s completely fine because there’s those kids in that music video — so I think I’m going to be just fine.’”
The star performed at the London club in honour of his 85% Proof record topping the charts
Will Young ended up half-naked and covered in paint as he celebrated his chart-topping album in style.
The singer put on a seriously raunchy performance at G-A-Y on Saturday night which saw him stripped down to tight pants.
The venue is famous for its racy shows, and former Pop Idol winner Will lived up to its reputation with his on-stage outfit.
Opening the special gig – which was a celebration of 85% Proof hitting the Number One spot earlier this year – the star looked cool and composed with dyed blue hair and a fairly plain ensemble.
However, it the star didn’t let his fans down at the London hot spot, getting stripped down and covered head to foot in brightly coloured paint and confetti
Will was delighted and proud of his performance, sharing a series of before, during and after snaps to show the different, whilst also revealing a short slow-motion video clip form earlier in the night.
His fans – both those lucky enough to be there and jealous they missed out – approved of the snaps, with many teasingly asked if they could expect the same for his upcoming tour.
One cheeky Twitter user joked: “Looks amazing! Wish I could have been there! Has it given you ideas for the tour?”
Meanwhile, Will recently revealed he has a love of dresses and skirts as he opened up about his style – and insisted there are ways to keep it “masculine”.
He told Sunday Times Style magazine: “My [fashion] discovery is dresses and skirts. Men can occupy a dress and skirt and actually end up looking more masculine. I promise.
“The catwalks have been awash with them for the past two years. I like to anchor a tea dress with boots, and I often throw a jacket on top so the look isn’t so in your face. A tea dress is very flattering for a bloke. The key is remembering to keep it manly.”
The singing string quartet puts a classical spin on Lorde’s smash.
The boys of Well-Strung: The Singing String Quartet are closing out their busy summer with their latest pop-classical confection.
First violinist Edmund Bagnell, second violinist Chris Marchant, violist Trevor Wadleigh and cellist Daniel Shevlin are Fifth Avenue subway buskers in the black-and-white clip, which mashes Lorde’s smash “Royals” with the Karl Jenkins composition, “Palladio.”
It’s yet another taste of Well-Strung’s sophomore album, “POPSsical,” which will be released Oct. 2. Last month, they dropped the whimsical video for their mashup of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” and Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Partita No. 3 in E Major (BWV 1006).”
Meanwhile, their video for “Chelsea’s Mom” racked up over 200,000 views on YouTube after being featuring on The Huffington Post, MSNBC and People, among other media outlets. That song, which repurposes Fountains of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom” as an ode to Hillary Clinton, was shared by the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate herself on social media.
The group’s latest show, “Summer Lovin,'” wraps Sept. 12 at The Art House in Provincetown, Massachusetts. They’ll also travel to Rome to play a mass at the Vatican on Sept. 6
To celebrate the fantastic Dusty being extended through to 21 November, it feels only appropriate to take a look back at some of Dusty Springfield’s most illustrious and definitive moments.
The multi-media “fusion musical” celebrates the life and career of Dusty, one of the most recognisable media figureheads of the 21st century. Using the most up-to-date 3D technology, the audience experiences Dusty’s finest moments and how she broke the rules of music.
Here are a few of the 60s icon’s best moments…
 Probably her campest moment of her life had to be her collaboration with the Pet Shop Boys. 1987’s What Have I Done to Deserve This — which we hope is on one of your playlists somewhere — resurged a new found love for Dustyamongst millennials. Lady Gaga joined the Pet Shop Boys at the 2009 BRIT Awards following an Outstanding Contribution to Music award.
2) The Grammy Hall of Fame awardee rose to fame following the release of Island of Dreams, and Say I Won’t Be There while in folk-oriented trio the Springfields. The early 60s trio; Dusty, her brother Tom Springfield and Tim Feild, had an impressive run with the release of three albums and a handful of EPs.
3) Dusty’s interview on infamous British TV show French and Saunders has proven to be one of the most iconic televised and hilarious interviews in modern history. The semi-comedic/semi-informative interview explored Springfield’s life and asked deeply personal questions like “what’s your favourite colour?”
4) Nothing Has Been Proved is one of those timeless “walk to work” tracks and probably one of Springfield’s campest songs. Most likely to appear as a lip sync battle on RuPaul’s Drag Race, the 1989 single dominated second place in both the UK and US charts.
5) And finally, you knew it was coming didn’t you? Dusty’s Son of a Preacher Man formed itself as one of the most quintessential sounds of the 20th century, let alone the 60s. This imperative soul classic really establishes Dusty as a cultural icon.
It’s impossible to watch this and not think of Pulp Fiction…
Due to popular demand the DUSTY show has been extended to 21 Nov! To celebrate we have a special offer – best price tickets are down from £49.50 to £20. It’s first come, first served and tickets should be booked using this link:www.ticketmaster.co.uk/promo/yik5pl. And if you mention ‘Memphis’ at the box office you’ll get a free brochure worth £8.
The lead vocalist for Brit trio Years & Years opens up about his past and his plan to change the global landscape for out artists.
BY JASE PEEPLES
AUGUST 03 2015 3:00 AM ET
Pictured above: synth-pop trio Years & Years, Emre Turkmen (left), Olly Alexander (center), and Mikey Goldsworthy (right)
Like many young people, Olly Alexander had dreams of stardom from an early age.
“I grew up loving artists like the Spice Girls and Britney Spears — artists who seemed to live this fantasy lifestyle, and I remember always wanting to join these fantasy people in that world,” he says, slightly embarrassed. “But as I got older I began to think, Maybe I really could be a singer or musician.”
Today, the 25-year-old Yorkshire native is living that dream together with his band mates, Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Turkmen, as the synth-pop trio Years & Years. It’s a reality that began taking shape when the group’s breakout hit, “King” — an infectious track that perfectly captures the feeling of one wanting to escape the confines of a possessive love — shot to number 1 in the U.K. and cracked the coveted Billboard U.S. Mainstream Top 40 this spring. The track’s music video, which has racked up more than 67 million plays on YouTube, is a testament to the power of the spell this British band has cast, and it shows no sign of fading anytime soon.
The release of the band’s debut album in July, Communion, has continued to propel the group’s rising star; topping charts around the globe including Billboard’s U.S. Dance/Electronic Albums chart.
Nevertheless, Alexander is taking the band’s early success in stride. “I don’t know if there’s ever a point where you go, ‘Oh, I’m successful now. Look at all this great stuff I’ve done,’ because I don’t think it can be tangible in that way,” he says. “Maybe that’s because I’m still not used to any of it and it still feels strange and that kind of numbs things, like when [I hear one of our songs has] 67 million hits on YouTube. It’s so difficult to comprehend that many people. I try not to think about it too much.”
On the surface, Years & Years’ success story doesn’t appear to be much different than that of any other breakout band. However, Alexander’s decision to live as an out gay man in both his private and public life has made him a rare find in today’s mainstream pop music landscape. But it’s his insistence on using male pronouns in two of the album’s tracks that has secured the singer’s spot as a trailblazer.
“Growing up, many of my favorite songs were mainly ‘you and I’ type of relationship songs that weren’t gender-specific, and I loved those songs because they were universal, but it was important to me to get some male pronouns in there on this album because we don’t have enough songs like that,” he says. “I feel very lucky because there was never, to my knowledge, anyone standing in the way of that, and I don’t think I could’ve worked with anyone who did. But my whole team has been really supportive.”
Alexander says he was emboldened to reference his sexuality in his music after witnessing the way in which crowds embraced Sam Smith when Years & Years toured with the out singer throughout Europe last year. “After touring with Sam I realized most of his fans are women, and they didn’t care in the slightest that he was gay,” he says, brushing off the old misconception that heterosexual female fans would lose interest in out artists. “So why [would my being out] change the way our female fans treat us?”
He suspects his comfort level with being out in the public eye is due in part to the unconditional support of his mother — who was so unfazed by her son’s sexuality, he had to come out to her twice.
“It’s funny, I came out to her once on the phone when I was 19 and living in London,” he says. “I remember telling her, ‘I’m having a terrible time living in London, I hate everything, and I’m gay!’ She just listened, said, ‘Cool,’ and then we talked about something else. Then a year or two later, when she asked me what I was up to one day, I told her that I’d just got back from Paris and I was seeing a guy. She said, ‘Oh, are you telling me that you’re gay?’ and I had to remind her, ‘Um, I’ve already said this to you, Mum.’”
He stops and laughs before continuing. “I come from a single-parent family and my Mum is super liberal. She had gay friends when I was growing up and I was aware she had gay friends, so I always knew my Mum would never have any problem.”
But while Alexander isn’t afraid to live an authentic life in the spotlight, he says he was terrified the first time he played a song he’d written about his boyfriend — Clean Bandit violinist Neil Milan Amin-Smith — for his muse.
“I wanted to crawl in a hole and die,” Alexander admits. “It was really horrible because I didn’t care if anyone else liked it or not, and I know he would’ve said he liked it, but it really mattered to me whether he truly liked it or not. But he did, and I was so relieved.”
His love is not the only one who approves of the song. “Shine,” the third track on Communion, has proved to be an excellent follow-up single to the band’s smash hit “King,” claiming the number 2 spot on the U.K. Singles chart and landing comfortably among the top 50 of Billboard’s U.S. Hot Dance/Electronic Songs. “I have an intense feeling for all the songs on the album, but I feel really attached to “Shine” because it’s the most positive track on the whole album, and it was quite difficult to write a song like that,” he says. “I never did anything like it before, and I’m so glad I was able to pull it off.”
Nevertheless, Alexander hopes the day isn’t far away when men openly singing about the men they love will no longer be a rarity, and he’s working toward a future where LGBT youth will have more than straight female pop divas to look up to.
“I’m a big believer that if you want things to change you have to embody that change,” he says, “and that’s what I’m trying to do.
With the Skivvies
Meet multi-talented actor and singer-songwriter Matt Doyle.
You might have already heard of him, but if not he’s been making a name for himself on broadway and with his fantastic EPs Daylight and Constant.
Matt Doyle (@mattfdoyle) • Instagram photos and videos
Chad King (left) and Ian Axel
Ian Axel and Chad King set the world afire with their 2013 single “Say Something.” Coming seemingly out of nowhere, the track exploded and caught the attention of Christina Aguilera who later appeared on a re-recorded version of the song. Earlier this year, that version of the song netted the duo their first Grammy.
Two years on, history seems to be repeating itself. Once again, A Great Big World has dropped a single—this time “Hold Each Other” a cut of their upcoming second album—that’s whipped up a groundswell of support.
“[The reception] has been really good, overwhelmingly positive,” says King, who sings the most buzzed about lyric on the single: “Something happens when I hold him.”
“Originally the lyric in the chorus was ‘something happens when I hold her,’ ” says Axel. “And after a day away from the song, I was like, ‘Wait a minute, how is Chad going to sing that line? We need to change it.’ So we changed it and it became a very powerful song for us.”
The change was subtle, yet it greatly magnified the track’s emotional resonance, especially for its singer. “I think what is really interesting is that I was [at first] uncomfortable singing it as ‘Something happens when I hold him,’ ” King explains. “The fact that I was uncomfortable singing it, as someone who’s gay, it showed me and Ian that we have to spread this message because I shouldn’t be scared to say what’s in pop music. It isn’t done in pop music often, not in this way. The fact that I was scared to say that showed us that we needed to do it.”
As Axel explains, it wasn’t originally a statement. “But it became a statement in a way. It’s so subtle that I don’t think people really hear it on the first or second listen and it’s just Chad singing about the person he loves and wants to hold and it’s really not a big deal.”
The moment was somewhat revelatory for the pair, who had, in swapping a pronoun, slammed into pop music’s generic heteronormativity.
“After that first day when Ian changed the lyric it became second nature,” King says. “The initial switching of that pronoun, I’m not used to seeing [in pop music]. Even when we’re writing, there will be some stream-of-consciousness moments where I’m singing about ‘she’ and ‘her’ and ‘the girl,’ but in no way do I actually feel those things. I feel that it’s a habitual thing that I learned over the years listening to pop music.”
It’s songs like “Hold Each Other” that work within pop’s framework while still innovating and challenging convention that will mark A Great Big World’s upcoming LP, slated for a November release.
” ‘Hold Each Other’ is a positive happy love song because we’re in a much better place than we were when we wrote the last album,” Axel says. “I’m getting married, and we were just writing a love song.”
King agrees: “I’m hopeful that we can bring an emotional aspect to pop music that you haven’t seen before. I feel like ‘Hold Each Other’ is in the direction of our new album, where it’s really emotional songs underlying this track that you want to bob your head to and I’m hopeful that we’re on to something.”
“We were being as vulnerable as we could, writing a song that we needed to write because it was our therapy and all of a sudden it found a lane on pop radio,” Axel says. “I think the pop world is the place we want to be because we get to reach the most amount of people. ”
“I feel like if you’re scared to say it, or you’re embarrassed or ashamed or insecure about it, I feel that the general rule of thumb for us is ‘let’s sing about it.’ Because those are things that need to be said and need to be heard and are what people connect to the absolute most and what people need to hear because we’re all in this thing together and we all feel the same things and our stories are everyone else’s stories.”
Considering that “Hold Each Other” has been met with so much positivity and praise, it seems that everyone is ready for Axel and King’s brand of catchy, yet emotionally honest, pop. Well, almost everyone that perhaps. “I thought we would have had a little more resistance to ‘Hold Each Other’, especially getting it played on radio,” King explains. “There have been a couple stations in the South that have refused to play it because they feel it’s too progressive. But I’m OK with that, because it means we’re doing something right. If they can’t play a song like this, which is only about love, if they can’t play a song about love then I don’t want to listen to their station.”
The duo’s putting the finishing touches on their sophomore LP and say that the album will still be classic A Great Big World, just a bit more “grown up.”
“I feel like we’re trying to marry the theatrical sense of what we do and the emotional sense,” Axel says. “Trying to hit a little bit more in the pop arena because we want to reach the most amount of people. I feel the album is a little bit more beat driven as well. I think that our fans aren’t going to be disappointed at all, because it sounds like us and it has the same heart that it did in the first album.”
Beyond finishing the album and gearing up to tour in early 2016, the guys also have a Broadway musical in the works that Axel says they’ve been developing for three years. “It’s been a dream of ours to do this since we’ve known each other. We’re pretty much finished with revisions on the first draft, we’re about to go to a director, and there are some Broadway producers onboard,” he says. “It’s a show about family and what family is and how family is what you make it. There are definitely some twists and turns we can’t give away.”
While things are still coming together, King and Axel do have some information that they can share, including the tentative title: Two Blocks Away. “It’s a pop musical,” King says, “So there’s our music but some songs are eight minutes long.”
“It’s kind of our music but on steroids,” Axel sums up. “We don’t have to write to any form or structure and we can just do whatever our hearts desire because of the stage; anything can happen on the stage.”
A Great Big World’s second LP is due in November. “Hold Each Other” is out now.
He’s a pinball wizard…
From Barry Manilow lyrics to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s furry feline friends, there have certainly been some interesting choices of topic for our glitzy musical theatre. No more so than rock musical Tommy, currently playing at the Greenwich Theatre, London. The show takes its deaf, dumb and blind protagonist from The Who’s classic Pinball Wizard and produces their formidable Tommy album live on stage.
Hitting the theatres way before the likes of American Idiot or Jesus Christ Superstar, Tommy was a groundbreaking piece in its original form and is now given a fresh and exciting revival by Michael Strassen. Slightly put back at first, we soon got used to the unique style of this production and we were toe tapping away and rooting for Ashley Birchall’s endearing Tommy long before the midway cocktail run.
Stylish and slick, Strassen places the story in a white wash wonderland reminiscent of 70s glam rock that could also be a timeless dystopian future. Complimenting the musical underscore to great effect, Strassen tells this obscure story clearly and fluidly with the help of the functional design and sparky cast.
The small ensemble of performers brought energy in abundance and soared through the roof with some fantastic rock vocals. Smaller moments worth mentioning include Carly Burn’s sensational Acid Queen and James Sinclair as Captain Walker, providing gravitas beyond his years. Nevertheless, all the cast had time to shine in Mark Smith’s show stopping choreography. Drawing on a Fosse inspired style, Smith’s work compliments the narrative, aiding the story whilst giving ample room for entertainment and joyous fun. The cast executed his technical movement brilliantly, keeping us truly engaged in those longer musical breaks.
Credit is also due to the band doing sufficient justice to The Who and bringing the house down to the very last note. Very rarely do we see an audience staying until the end of the play-out, let alone on their feet clapping, dancing and cheering like we’re at Wembley. But with the talent and energy on stage, rest assured we could have been!
Ticket information for Tommy can be found here.
GT gives Tommy – 4/5
Words Tom Cox
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