Sexuality In Music.

I’ll just get to the point here- why are straight singers never referred to by their sexuality? Yet if a singer is bisexual, lesbian or gay- their sexuality is named before they are.

I’m not a fan of her music at all (she can sing, I know- I just don’t like her songs) but any time I have read anything mentioning Jessie J, the fact that she is bisexual is mentioned first. Why is it important?

Why isn’t it ever written, “Heterosexual singer Florence Welch…..” Why must the fact that someone isn’t straight be announced before their name? It’s beyond ridiculous.

I’m not someone who gives a shit about the sexuality of artists I like. I love The Horrors- do I care if any members are gay? No. Do I care who they are going out with? No. Do I care about their music and only their music? Yes. 10% yes. Their personal life is their personal life. It’s not my business; it’s not your business. It’s highly irrelevant to what they do.

Maybe there is still a hint of homophobia within the music industry, but nobody will ever bring it up. Something tells me no one would have been able to shut Beth Ditto up if they told her to not mention her being a lesbian when the band got big with the release of Standing In The Way Of Control. However, on the flip side of this- it can be a good thing. Knowing you have strong figures such as Beth Ditto that are open with their sexuality can make someone feel more at ease with their sexuality. If it wasn’t for the Gossip I honestly would have struggled a hell of a lot more with being a lesbian. Maybe I’d still be “in the closet.” I have no idea; all I know is that Gossip made it so much easier for me to accept who I am. However, I do not and will never use my sexuality to define who I am. I don’t apply for jobs and say “I am a lesbian, give me a job.” Let’s be honest, if I did that I probably would never have any chance with ever getting a job. There’s still homophobia around, if anything I feel it is a lot worse than it used to be.

There are so many ways to look at this. One thing that pissed me off more than anything was Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl. To some, it’s just a song. To others, it’s a mockery. It’s tacky and offensive. The lyrics to start with are awful and the meaning is even worse. It’s basically saying, “I’m not really gay/bisexual, I just kiss girls when drunk.” There are people that do this, and it’s just pathetic. They have no hint of lesbianism in them- but they will do it when drunk or to impress a guy. Yeah, girl power right? Fuck off. It’s just drunken fun? Drunken fun is stealing trolleys or kidnapping your friend’s dog and refusing to give it back (I’ve done neither.) Drunken fun is not taking the piss out of someone’s sexuality. Does Katy Perry know what the struggles the LGBT community face? No, because she’s straight. She doesn’t know what it’s like to be called various expletives based on who you fall in love with. This isn’t a personal dig at her, if I was going to do that- I’d dedicate a whole article to her. I don’t like her music, and I Kissed A Girl just sums up stupidity and desperation.

Moving on.

One singer in particular that I admire and have done for such a long time is Holly Miranda. I’ve loved her since she was in the band The Jealous Girlfriends. I love her voice. It’s quite bluesy and it grips you. I just think she’s fantastic. Is she super famous? No. But she should be. She’s currently working on a new album. Something that struck me about Holly Miranda was what she said about her sexuality, “I have no problem being out, but I don’t think it has anything to do with my music. I like who I like. I don’t want people to not listen to my music because of that and I don’t want people to listen to my music because of that. I haven’t had to deal with it in a professional way very much yet.” This is how it should be. She should be known based on her musical talent not her sexuality.

Would people care for Elton John or George Michael if they weren’t gay? Is that what sells them? Have they used their sexuality to sell records? I could name drop a certain person who I feel has done this, but- there’s no point. Let’s just say, their name is part of a Queen song. Has the penny dropped? It should have.

I’m fully aware that I am alone with my thoughts and feelings with this, but I’d be a bit of a wanker if thought and felt like everyone else really. Then again, that seems to be an issue with most.

What I am trying to say is that music should not have a gender or sexuality. It shouldn’t have a colour.

Do lesbians feel they cannot listen to straight singers because they are not straight? Do black people feel they cannot listen to Classical music because they’re not white? It’s all the same thing. Sell your music based on your talent (if you have any) not on parading around half naked, pretending to be “bisexual” to sell records. If you have to rely on a gimmick to sell your music- then stop. Just stop because you are preventing those with actual talent of making it.

Will anyone ever pay attention to bands that are openly gay such as  Uh Huh Her, The Cliks, Sick Of Sarah? Will anyone regard The Organ as one of the greatest female groups ever? No. Probably because they are gay. It’s a shame but homophobia is still alive and polluting peoples minds. However, singer kd lang has made her mark. Not by being a lesbian but by having one of the strongest voices ever.

I could easily go into a rant about how lesbians seem to love certain singers and bands. I really don’t get it. Not because I’m a pretentious oik, but because I don’t get it. I don’t think that because Spiritualized are one of my favourite bands that I know more about music than you or that I’m better than you. Far from it. So far from it. I’d like to know why people buy into what is forced upon them.

It becomes like a uniform almost. Gay men are forced to “enjoy” the music of Madonna and Lady Gaga. Lesbians are forced to “enjoy” the music of Pink and Paramore.

Personally, I don’t give a shit what anyone listens to. I like what I like, you like what you like.

Music unites people, so stop segregating it by labelling a musician based on their sexuality before you write their name.

Is Anyone Worthy Of Looking Up To?

If there’s one thing that irks me mire than anything- its people overlooking those who deserve respect and admiration. It annoys me when artists that are ever so bland and recycled are held up so high- that we are forced to idolise them. At aged 24 fast approaching 25, I can see right through these people those younger than me are forced to look up to. Even when I was in my teens, I always looked up those nobody really cared for. I suppose I felt some kind of connection. You know, being the odd one out etc.

So, Gaga frequently says she is FOR THE GAYS. Gay men, but not lesbians it seems. She declares she is for the freaks. Am I missing the point, or is she claiming us gays to be freaks? Call me a freak all you want, but I’m not the one going on about a disco-stick or wearing a meat dress. My mum used to play a lot of kd lang around the house. Constant Craving was one of my favourite songs when I was younger- it still is. Her voice is so powerful but at the same time, extremely delicate. She doesn’t use her sexuality to sell records. She doesn’t bang on and on about being a lesbian to sell records. She doesn’t go on about doing it for the gays. She does her job- she sings, she performs, and she entertains.

Obviously I understand that when you are launched into the public eye you are given this unwanted responsibility to be a role model. One person who I feel should be looked upon more than anyone else is- a family member. The one you are closest to. That’s the first person you should look up to. For me, I’d take looking up to my mum more than anyone else in the world. She raised me on her own, she is constantly there for me, her wise words make me feel less useless and her humour gets me through the day. The bond I have with her is one I know I could never ever live without. She’s not just my mum- she’s my rock and best friend. She’s pretty much everything to me.

There are so many people I admire in music and in literature- they have created work that just blows my mind and makes me wish I could create something so powerful and inspiring. I hope one day I write something that will make someone feel how Morrissey and Patti Smith make me feel with their words. However, I’m not a genius so this is just another empty aspiration of mine.

So, what kind of person should we look up to? Should it be someone who sells millions of records? Should it be someone who promotes hair products? Someone who mimes on stage? Someone who sings about being the only girl in the world? Someone who creates a false reality for others to foolishly attempt to follow in? Personally, none of these reasons are as to why I would look up to someone. I admire those who have struggled on the way to the top. Someone who doesn’t sell out. Someone who stays true to them and doesn’t give a shit what anyone else thinks. Someone that isn’t a gimmick. This is why I look up to those such as Morrissey, Patti, Lester Bangs, The Kills, Hunter S Thompson- I could list others, but these are the main ones. Those who have been around long enough (or were) to create something memorable. Their art is something I hold very dear to me.

Morrissey’s words, the way Lester put all his passion into a review, the way The Kills play- it’s just all so inspiring. Words are a huge thing for me with music. I love lyrics. Words are the most beautiful thing in the world. The way things are said and sung can instantly change how you think and feel. See, I cannot feel any connection at all with Gaga’s lyrics to Born This Way at all. I feel nothing towards her music. Give me a song by The Kills, and I will feel something I cannot put into words. For instance, when I hear Alison sing on The Last Goodbye, “Can’t quite see the end. How can I rely on my heart if I break it, with my own two hands.” It just rips me apart inside but at the same time this wave of comfort takes over because it feels like someone understands. Never rely on your heart, it’ll crush you.

Then I listen to Warpaint and I feel like I am being thrown into some kind of magical whirlwind. Music is the best way to escape. Warpaint’s music has done this to me for the past 2 and a bit years. Their sound catapults me elsewhere. Everything I want a piece of music to make me feel- theirs does. As for Morrissey? What can I say. That man is a life saver. He gives one hope in a hopeless world. I’m not the only one who feels this way about him. His fans are so passionate and loyal. I think if you like Morrissey- that’s it for life. You love him no matter what. He’s not really someone you can enjoy just the odd song of. You love him with all you have, and even then it doesn’t feel enough. His live shows reignite your soul and give you something to hold onto. The times I have seen him, as soon as he walks on stage the tears just fall. No other artist has ever done this, or will do it. Why? Well, the just don’t mean as much as he does.

I pretty much grew up on Morrissey and Bob Dylan (told you I’ve got the best mum in the world) and I think that’s what instilled my love for words and how they are presented in various forms. I am not saying looking up to someone like Rihanna is wrong. Well, I personally wouldn’t because I don’t feel any connection to her music nor do I think she’s done something worth looking up to. Neither do I think Gaga is worthy- but sadly, millions do. If I have to look up to someone, I want it to be someone who has been around long enough to leave a mark.

Patti Smith. Where does one begin when talking about this beautiful human being? She is the Godmother of Punk. Punk for me is one of the most important genres ever. The rawness and sheer honesty in this genre is ever so vital. Most say you had to be there to appreciate it- maybe that’s the case. But I understand the frustration and rage these people felt- because I feel it most days. There is something better, and you can’t get out because nobody will give you a break. I’ve got a degree and over 4 and a half years worth of experience with freelancing. Does anyone want to know? Do they bollocks. Do they want to pay me to write for them? Not at all. But I love writing and music too much to give it up. That is why I love Patti Smith and The Kills amongst others. They’ve come from nothing and they have created something so beautiful. They have created art that just leaves you wondering, covered in goose bumps, in awe of what they have done. That is something worth looking up to.

I’m not one for using my sexuality at all as a way to define who I am. I personally feel me being a lesbian to be something that doesn’t define who I am at all. It’s not important to me. However, I feel that there is a distinctive lack of lesbian representation within music (and other art forms.) When a lesbian is played in a TV role- she always seems to be quite butch and/or emotionally damaged. Trust me; we are not all like that. Do the media care for this? It seems like it doesn’t. A lot are portrayed as woman who cannot commit. It does nothing for the lesbian community. Then you have the music side. Elton John and George Michael- two highly successful gay artists. Who do lesbians have? Kd lang isn’t as “commercially” known as those two. Holly Miranda isn’t as big as she deserves to be (her voice is gorgeous, give her a listen.) The Organ was one of the best bands ever- they split up a few years ago, but their album Grab That Gun is amazing. Obviously a musician- or anyone should not be defined by their sexuality.

But sometimes the community want a voice. A voice that can be trusted. Gaga isn’t a lesbian- so how could she possibly know what it’s like to be a lesbian? If anything, she seems to be like some kind of massive “fag hag.” A phrase that I detest so much. I find it highly offensive and I have no idea why someone would want to call themselves that. Yes, I understand why people admire her- but let’s be honest, she’s not doing anything that hasn’t been done before. Before her- we had Madonna, and before Madonna- the beautiful Grace Jones. Nothing is different anymore. If you want to look up to someone- look up to those who have done it before, and before them. Everything seems to be a carbon copy.

Being an individual isn’t about throwing glitter on your face and yelling you are a free bitch. Being an individual isn’t about embracing who you are- that should be automatic. Someone shouldn’t have to tell you to accept yourself. It’s your skin and your bones- you are the one who has to accept it without being told.

Look up to whoever you want- but make sure in 20 years time, it is someone you’re not ashamed of doing so.