The singer-song­writer on how Sink The Pink, Spice Girls and Ru­Paul all in­spired his lat­est floor-fill­ing dance an­them.

Gay Times Magazine - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­phy Jor­dan Eis­b­jerg Words Lewis Cor­ner

The Bri­tish singer-song­writer re­veals how get­ting lost at Sink The Pink, Spice Girls, and one of Ru­Paul’s most fa­mous quotes in­spired his lat­est floor-fill­ing dance an­them.

If there’s been one song on re­peat in the Gay Times of­fice this sum­mer, it’s been Blonde and Bryn Christo­pher’s Me, My­self & I. The thump­ing dance an­them re­calls the very best of 90s house and disco, de­liv­er­ing an in­fec­tious cho­rus and fierce vo­cals.

It con­tin­ued Bryn’s string of floor-fill­ing bops af­ter the mas­sive suc­cess of his Si­gala sin­gle Sweet Lovin’, and his co-write on last year’s Came Here For Love.

We caught up with the Brum­mie singer­song­writer over a latte to talk about the in­spi­ra­tions be­hind his huge club thumpers, why he re­ally wants to col­lab­o­rate with Ru­Paul, and how he’s feel­ing more em­pow­ered as a gay man in mu­sic than ever be­fore.

We’ve been lov­ing Me, My­self & I all sum­mer long. What’s the story be­hind that song?

I had the idea of Me, My­self & I as a ti­tle, but then the con­cept came from a Sink The Pink night I had with one of my best mates. But then my friend left me on my own and when it’s at the Troxy it’s re­ally hard to find any­one – es­pe­cially when ev­ery­one is dressed up. So for an hour and a half I was on my own and it was witch­ing hour – y’know, the time when ev­ery­one starts to kiss each other and pull each other. I came to a point where I was like, ‘Right, I ei­ther try my hard­est to find some­one to pull or I just dance on my own.’ In my head, what hap­pened was Spice Girls prob­a­bly played, and I re­alised I didn’t need any­one, I don’t need love, I don’t need a man. So it’s ba­si­cally about that: hav­ing the best time on your own. Lyri­cally, the mid­dle eight is mas­sively in­spired by the Ru­Paul quote ‘If you can’t love your­self then how in the hell are you go­ing to love any­one else?’ So it’s meant to be pos­i­tive. Luck­ily, Blonde ended up lov­ing it and it be­came a sin­gle. The gays have all latched onto it, be­cause it’s got ev­ery­thing we love about pop mu­sic. Great dance mu­sic, great melodies, a nice lyric, and a big vo­cal.

The mu­sic video re­ally adds to it with all the drag queens and plenty of queer vis­i­bil­ity in it.

Yes, and Blonde were re­ally cool with do­ing that idea. When I told them where the con­cept ac­tu­ally came from, they were like, ‘We want to make sure that comes across in the video.’ I was blown away by Freida Slaves in the video, and it kind of meant more to me. We were ac­tu­ally in­volv­ing the com­mu­nity. It’s also the first mu­sic video where I’ve been quite flam­boy­ant. It was such a mag­i­cal day.

How im­por­tant is queer vis­i­bil­ity in mu­sic, be­cause it’s gen­er­ally a place a lot of kids look to­wards?

Most queer peo­ple are usu­ally quite cre­ative, and so to see it in the mu­sic in­dus­try is a ma­jor thing. At the mo­ment there’s loads of great peo­ple like Years & Years, MNEK, Troye Si­van, there’s loads of re­ally great artists that are gay and are do­ing re­ally well. When I was young, the only ones around were Ge­orge Michael and Elton John who were straight first and then came out later. When you’re a lit­tle kid you want to look up to some­one. Just like be­ing of colour, not see­ing many mixed race guys on tele­vi­sion, you just don’t know who to re­late to. So then you straighten your hair be­cause you want to look like the white guys. But now I’m see­ing mixed race guys on TV and they’ve got curly hair. It’s the same with see­ing some­one who is gay on TV, you go, ‘I can be that – no-one cares.’

You co-wrote Came Here For Love which Ella Eyre recorded with Si­gala, which then went on to be the of­fi­cial Pride in Lon­don song last year. Was the in­spi­ra­tion for that LGBTQ-themed, or was it just by chance that it fit­ted so well?

I kind of feel sub­con­sciously I wrote that for Love Is­land! I mean, they’ve played it loads. It’s just per­fect by de­fault. I don’t re­mem­ber specif­i­cally writ­ing it for Love Is­land, but ev­ery time it gets played I’m like, ‘Oh my God!’

Have you ever writ­ten a song from a queer per­son’s per­spec­tive, but then it’s been given

away and had to be changed?

Yes, I have. Some­times I write quite pro­mis­cu­ous lyrics. So Came Here For Love for in­stance, we had to change the pre-cho­rus be­cause the lyrics I had were not suit­able for a girl to sing. About four years ago I wrote a song for Blonde called Heart­breaker and the lyrics were re­ally bla­tant. It was all, ‘You’re my man’ and I wrote it for a Jen­nifer Hud­son-type voice. They turned around and said they wanted to give it to Alex Newell – who I love by the way – but I was like, ‘Ac­tu­ally, I want to sing it.’ So I got to sing it once live with them and it was the first time on stage that I sang lyrics with male pro­nouns. It felt so pow­er­ful. It was like, for all those peo­ple won­der­ing, yeah, I’m gay. Re­cently I’ve been much more open to writ­ing what­ever I want and own­ing the pro­nouns.

Have you got any more dance an­thems in the pipe­line for us?

I’ve got a song with Jaded that I’m re­ally ex­cited about. At the mo­ment I’m work­ing with quite a few new artists. Other than that, I’m work­ing with loads of dif­fer­ent writ­ers and pro­duc­ers that I love.

How do you know when you’re writ­ing a song if it’ll be for you, or for some­one else?

If I’m ac­tu­ally writ­ing for an artist I have to take a step back. How­ever, with Came Here For Love, I wrote that for my­self and then seven months later it got given to Si­gala, and then they wanted Ella Eyre to sing it. At that point I have to be like, yeah, Ella can sing it. I love her – she’s an amaz­ing artist. So that’s when you can step back. Usu­ally, if they’re great singers, I will ac­cept it. Oth­er­wise they should just leave me on the track. I usu­ally try to sing it so hard that no-one else can do it bet­ter!

Go­ing back to Ru­Paul, have you ever reached out to see if you can work on some mu­sic with him for one of his al­bums?

I have! I’ve only ever mes­saged peo­ple who I ab­so­lutely love. One time I mes­saged Linda Perry about five years ago go­ing, ‘You don’t know me,

but I’m the bižest fan and one day we’ll work with each other.’ I al­most did it so that in 10 years time when I’m writ­ing with her I can go, ‘You can go on Face­book and see that mes­sage.’ But she ac­tu­ally mes­saged me back! It was two huge para­graphs and I was blown away. Ru­Paul is an­other one that I have been mes­sag­ing go­ing, ‘We need to write to­gether!’ I would die to write with him. I want him to hear Me, My­self & I, be­cause then he might let me write his mu­si­cal!

Imag­ine if Me, My­self & I was a lip-sync for your life...

I would die. I want to play Ru­Paul in his mu­si­cal. He needs to do one about his whole life. He’s such a good writer. He doesn’t re­ally need me to write with

him, but I would just love to col­lab­o­rate in some way.

I was go­ing to ask about your dream col­lab­o­ra­tion, but you’ve kind of al­ready an­swered that.

Well, there’s also Sia. When I signed to Sony ATV for my pub­lish­ing deal, they kind of got me by say­ing they could get me in a writ­ing ses­sion with Sia. It never hap­pened, but then I don’t know what I’d do in a Sia ses­sion. I’d be like, ‘You’re my idol, you come up with the best melodies in the world, and have great lyrics,’ so I re­ally don’t know what I’d do.

Who is your LGBTQ icon?

Oh I know, Gimme Gimme Gimme’s Tom Far­rell. He’s my idol. I loved that show – I used to know all the words. Me and my friends used to write on the back of our books the whole script, and then we’d act it out. It was prime­time and he was a gay char­ac­ter who was re­ally funny and you loved.

How was your com­ing out ex­pe­ri­ence?

I haven’t ac­tu­ally come out to my fam­ily, be­cause I’ve never been in love. I didn’t see the point of sit­ting my mum and dad down and say­ing, ‘I’m gay’. She’d prob­a­bly just say to me, ‘And..?’ They know. Like, my brother hasn’t come out as straight, but he’s got a fe­male fi­ance so that’s how they know he’s straight. When I fall in love, I won’t tell them I’m gay, I’m just go­ing to be at din­ner and say to them, ‘Oh, this is my boyfriend.’ Un­til then, I just don’t see the point.

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