Bloc Party's Kele Okoreke Comes Out of the Closet
Andy reports today about the coming out of Bloc Party singer Kele Okoreke. In a candid interview with the Guardian, Okoreke explains that he is ready to publicly discuss his sexuality now that it directly relates to the music on Bloc Party's upcoming new album "A Weekend In The City."
"I think I'm going to have to [talk about it]. With the first album I didn't think it was essential to the experience. I didn't want to have to talk about it in a tabloid way," Okoreke says. "It wasn't there in the songs, so why did people need to know? But yeah, there are songs on this record that do feel like they're about desire, longing. So yeah, I am gonna talk about that."
I have interviewed plenty of artists who prefer not to talk about their sexuality and like to have their music speak for themselves. In a world that still lacks alternative gay role models, I have nothing but respect for Okoreke to share something so personal with the rest of the world.
"To speak to young people in their impressionable formative years - and say something that could help them make sense of their lives. Lessen the sense of alienation and isolation that they might have. I think that's something that definitely ... I'd be proud of," Okoreke concludes.
Dan Gillespie Sells Comes Out in Attitude
I think we might have found ourselves a brand-new gay icon in the making. Yesterday, I alerted you about hot new British pop band The Feeling. In a pile of magazines here on my desk, I found the July issue of Attitude that features the group's enigmatic frontman Dan Gillespie Sells. In an interview with Martin Aston, the singer talks openly about his homosexuality and feeling "the odd one out."
Given his charismatic stage persona, sense of style and fashion and heartfelt songwriting with tremendous mainstream potential, Gillespie Sells is a new gay heartthrob to lust after.
Some quotes from the interview:
About feeling different: "My mum's gay, my uncle too, so I grew up thinking it was perfectly normal, but I certainly felt strange in the gay community, like the odd one out. (...) I wrote 'Strange" at that point in your life when you realise you feel the odd one out."
About having a lesbian mother: "The first time I discovered not everyone had two mums and a dad was when I went to school."
About London's gay nightlife: "Nobody in Soho ever really feels beautiful or desirable, do they? Because everyone's going around like peacocks (. . .) Everyone is oozing sexuality, but they're quite clearly dying for a hug."
Read the entire interview Dan Gillespie had with Martin Aston here (courtesy of Attitude). The Feeling's EP "Four Stops And Home" was released on October 10 and is available on iTunes. Watch their new video "Sewn" here.
Listen to The Feeling "Strange"
Hot New Talent Alert: The Feeling
The Feeling has gotten a hold on me. This London and Sussex quintet brings a refreshing '70s inspired tone to the U.K. pop-rock scene with their upbeat music that is a welcome change from the mopey manners of many popular British bands such as Keane and Coldplay. Imagine 10CC jamming with Scissor Sisters inspired by Supertramp plus a cameo by Bryan May. Could it get any more fun?
According to reports, The Feeling's lead vocalist Dan Gillespie Sells is openly gay. The singer allegedly commented on his homosexuality in a recent issue of Attitude. Bob emailed me that Gillespie also said that his sexuality has inspired some of the songs he wrote for the group's current album "Twelve Stops And Home." The song "Strange" is directly related to him feeling different as a gay man. "If you feel it, and if you mean it, don't apologize. And you'll be just fine," he sings. (Update: More about this here.)
Musically, The Feeling doesn't mind to be a new guilty pleasure for the masses. "We like getting away with murder," says Gillespie in their press biography."We like great big choruses with great big hooks." The truth of the matter is that The Feeling knows how to make those hooks memorable. No wonder they name Queen, Karen Carpenter and Mick Fleetwood as people that have influenced them.
In June, their debut was released in the U.K. in conjunction with several television appearances. The group is now gearing up for more exposure stateside. They are currently on a short tour in the U.S. together with The Fray to promote the release of their EP "Four Stops And Home" that is available on iTunes. also, catch their in-store performances at Borders in New York and Washington. According to my source at Interscope Records, their full-length album will be formally released in the U.S. early 2007.
I believe that The Feeling has huge mainstream potential in the U.S. It is a clever move by Dan Gillespie to come out of the closet now and avoid all the gay innuendo, so we can all focus on what's really important: the music.