Category Archives: Interviews

Take the chance and play it gay….

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Tyler Ross

Growing up in northern Florida in a Southern Baptist church, I didn’t know any openly gay people. Not until high school did I even meet my first openly gay man, a very talented performer with a heart of gold. As I deepened my involvement in the Jacksonville community theatre scene, I got to know him and a few other openly gay people, and it was during the time of getting to know these lovely souls that my church-instilled sense of homophobia began to dissolve and my compassion for the gay community took root.

Working on Nate & Margaretgave me insight into a community where homosexuality is greatly accepted. Playing Nate, and just living in Chicago actually, I was surrounded by people who believe that being gay really isn’t a big deal. Nate & Margaret paints a refreshingly progressive picture of such a community. Having grown up in an environment where homosexuality was condemned, I did not see the gay community as a supported, thriving group of people. My experiences working on the film showed me just how truly supportive and embracing the gay community can be, especially when it is supported and embraced in return.

I almost didn’t audition for Nate & Margaret. Nathan Adloff, the writer and director, saw a rough cut ofThe Wise Kids and wanted me to audition for his new film as Nate. I read the script. I was apprehensive at first, for two reasons. One, just because I’m O.K. with playing a gay man doesn’t mean I’m naturally comfortable being physical with another guy, and in that regard Nate in Nate & Margaret is a bit of a step up from Tim in the The Wise Kids. The second reason holds more weight: I admit it, I was afraid to be caught in a “type-cast” trap. Taking two lead roles in a row, both gay, would mean setting a pattern. And unfortunately, “type-casting” is a very real issue. I don’t mind playing gay, but I don’t want to only play gay roles.

 

Full report in The Advocate

Jason Shaw talks to Brandon Anderson

Gay writer, broadcaster and Rainbow Post contributor Jason Shaw interviews American singer song writer Brandon Anderson about his latest single ‘I’ll Keep On Driving’  his career and life that took him from the midwest to New York.

You may not know his name, at least not yet, but Brandon Anderson is on the cusp of great things, this handsome young man is already an award winning singer/songwriter who hails from Wisconsin, USA.  He creatively blends folk with piano rock with a pinch of other alternative influences to create a delightful sound that he terms ‘edgy folk rock’.   It is a sound when combined with his provoking lyrics is already garnering many fans all over America and further afield around the world.  

 

He was born and raised in a Mormon family from Kenosha, a medium sized city on the western shores of Lake Michigan, Wisconsin, USA.  Music was a key background ingredient to life in Brandon’s home during his early years, yet there was always something creative hiding under the surface and Brandon got involved with school plays and school musicals as a kid.  It was during his early teenage years when his family situation changed that Brandon began to have questions not only about his own Mormon faith but also about his sexuality. There were questions he needed answers to, but at the time answers seemed few and far between. However it wasn’t long before the young adolescent found the perfect outlet for his creative desires and ideas which was putting pen to paper and writing songs.

 

Brandon is now a resident of New York and regularly plays gigs at many of the Big Apples premier singer/songwriter hotspots as well as touring across America.   It is along these travels that he picks up stories, ideas and inspirations that form the basis for many of his songs.  Indeed his latest album, Guitars and Grievances, is largely inspired by the stories of hardship, human spirit and grievances he picked up along the way.  

 

His latest single is a perfect example of just that, taken from Guitars and Grievances,  I’ll Keep Driving is a moving, evolving story inspired by a young gay fan’s sense of despondency, isolation and the desire of seeking out a better place to be.  Brandon’s effervescent voice delicately conveys the emotion with surprising depth echoing feelings that we can all identify with at some stage during our lives, at least to some degree. 

Diversity Rules Magazine

 

The April issue of New York’s premier queer monthly publication is out now, loads of features inside, including, Abby Dees is a Los Angeles based civil rights attorney-turned-author, speaker, syndicated columnist and IMRU radio host. Abby wrote the book Queer Questions Straight Talk to help bridge the communication gap between the LGBT and straight communities.   Ruthie Alcaide has appeared on MTV’s Real World Hawaii, and The Challenge programs. She’s now a college lecturer.

There is also a page dedicated to gay writer and broadcaster,  Jason Shaw!


Check out the April issue of Diversity Rules Magazine featuring Abby Dees and Ruthie Alcaide at http://www.diversityrulesmagazine.com

Once there,  just click  on the current issue tab,  to visit and read the wonderful online version of this fine publication.

 

 

Super SIRPAUL interview

Guest Post from music blogger Howard Stump





SIRPAUL The Horse

In preparation for the stampede this week caused by the release of The Horse, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the creative force behind the album, SIRPAUL™, to learn what might hear on the album, and to just catch up with the amazing talent. But before we jump in, I thought it might be nice to get some background info on SIRAPUL. After moving to New York City in 1998, he released his first album, a self-titled collection now out of print. That was followed by Sexual.Human.Being, Robotika, Switch, and a favorite of mine, 2006’s Dismantle. And there was also Objectified and the most recent, Music & Me. And that is only the full albums, for there were also several EPs and Remixes available. I’ve been a fan for a while, fascinated by the way SIRPAUL is able to skim the best of Pop and Rock over the past few decades, and make startling new music that, at it’s core, has amazing heart and soul.

The music has all been released on the Controversial Records label, for which he is the CEO and Founder. The company as also released music by Cherylyn, as well as a recent release by Simulover. SIRPAUL has also released several videos in collaboration with director Andreas Anastasis. These videos have been featured on LOGO and MTV, and have topped the charts on LOGO’s ClickList and the NewNowNext, as being featured on MTV.com. With you all caught up now, let’s get to his latest release, The Horse. I couldn’t resist, I had to know what inspired the album title.

SIRPAUL The Horse SIRPAUL The Horse

“Well I felt that the two of the things I feared but am strongly attracted to are falling in love and riding a horse,” he answered. “Both are strong and powerful. Both require practice, patience and confidence, and when you get thrown off you have to just get back up and try again. I’m fascinated by horses and I have learned to trust my instincts…the title came to me and I just knew it was what the album was going to be called before I even wrote the songs.”

After getting an opportunity to hear an advanced copy, I couldn’t help but notice The Horse has a harder edge, harkening back to Punk roots, like the great music of Blondie and Debbie Harry. What drew you in that direction?

“I’m really at a very specific place in my life right now,” he told me, “and I really feel like I’m starting to understand the side of me that is a very head strong, powerful man. In a lot of way I think my last album Music & Me was my way of saying to the world: “Here I am! I can make really catchy music!” and with the exception of Colors and U it was more about me showing off my production skills more than it was about revealing anything too deep or intimate. The Horse is about the process of owning my strength, being unapologetic about my intense sexual energy and exploring the depths of my masculinity.

Body Connection featuring Loco Ninja
http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F36077273&show_artwork=true

I see that on the first single, you collaborate with Loco Ninja, a great new LGBTQ artist some of the blog regulars might recognize from previous posts. How did that come together?

“Loco’s my boy,” SIRPAUL exclaimed! “Believe it or not, we never even met until after we collaborated! Someone I know tweeted about him so I checked out his music and I loved his style. He checked out my stuff and he offered to collaborate. At this point, Body Connection was already done but I felt like the song lends itself really well to feature a rap break so I sent him the track. I was on pins and needles waiting to hear what he came up with,” he told me excitedly, “and was very happily surprised with the result. I think he has a very good career ahead of him.”

With a blog filled with the music of so many talented artists in the gay community, and enjoying the collaboration with Loco Ninja, I was interested in knowing if there were any other LGBTQ artists SIRPAUL would like to work with.

SIRPAUL The Horse SIRPAUL The Horse

“I just finished remixing Christopher Dallman & Baby Alpaca” he answered proudly. “They are both BRILLIANT and amazingly cool people that just so happen to be out AND have an immense amount of talent. I’m really not a fan of any of any mediocre “out” artists who think that by just being gay it’s enough to make their music good or interesting. When you listen to an artist’s music the last thing you should be thinking is “Is this person GAY?” Who cares?? I think some-how gay people have been credited with having good taste and that is hardly the truth. At the same time, enough with gay publications writing about Britney Spears, Madonna, Kylie and Rihanna. We have plenty of talented people in the LGBTQ community and if the music is GOOD, we should lift each other up.”

After hearing and loving the new music, I was dying to know what song SIRPAUL felt came the closest to capturing the man himself.

“I’d say Like A Horse feels like a true, classic SIRPAUL song to me… but then again,” he said with a laugh in his voice, “I have musical multiple personality disorder so, all of my songs are really very authentic to me as an artist.”

Like A Horse off the album, The Horse
http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F40741486&show_artwork=true

I have to admit, the density of sound at the top of Strict really grabbed me straight away. In fact, Strict, Hardcore Crazy and Dark Beat seemed to be coming from a different place than the others. They sound like they come from a darker, edgier part of your soul. Do they bring some light in there for you?

“No,” he told me mater-of-factly. “They reveal the darkness by pulling you into it with me.” Hmmm, I like the way that sounds.

Strict off the album, The Horse
http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F40744650&show_artwork=true

There is no way I could talk to him about this album without mentioning the cover art, which is artful indeed. It features SIRPAUL draped across a black horse. At first glance, it took my breath away. The cover is exquisite. Was it your idea to be naked atop a horse?

“Thank you,” he said appreciatively. “Yes it was. We were first trying to reinterpret a very famous painting called Mazeppa. I was to be tied naked to a horse, which is how the painting shows the character. It was a crazy idea but I worked really hard to make sure I didn’t make a fool out of myself. I put myself on a very strict diet and exercise regimen – six days a week at the gym for two hours a day, no wheat, dairy, soy or sugar.”

Mazeppa by Horace Vernet SIRPAUL The Horse
Mazeppa, by Horace Vernet. And SIRPAUL by Michael Young

I have to say, that seems pretty impressive to me. But so does SIRPAUL, looking young and strong, that is for sure. Was this just for the cover shot, or something more permanent?

“I’m trying to just make it a lifestyle now because I’ve never felt better in my life,” he answered. “I’ve also been working very closely with a brilliant photographer named Michael Young (Website here) and I trusted that if I got my body in really good shape and I made sure the location, set, props and styling (if any LOL) were all on point, we could create something magical and for me, it was a transformative moment in my life.”

As a man with many titles, including singer, songwriter, producer, CEO, and just about any other job it takes to make music in the current day and age, I had to know if SIRPAUL had a favorite part of the entire process of putting together and releasing an album.

“My favorite part is writing and recording the songs,” he told me, not surprising me at all. “I also love conceptualizing the artwork. Believe it or not, I actually love every part up until the point where I have to switch gears and do all of the business side of things. Booooooring,” he told me, rolling his eyes. “I need to sign with a record label…I can’t keep doing everything on my own anymore. I just want to focus on making the music and performing now.”

With a change in the New York law, SIRPAUL took advantage of the opportunity to marry Paul Petersen earlier this year. So I was dying to know if and how this made a difference. How has married life affected your music?

“Married life has given me the freedom to explore both the darkness and the light,” he said thoughtfully. “I feel more willing to look at the parts of myself that I was too afraid to see before because I know now that I’m unconditionally loved. You couldn’t ask for a better husband or a more supportive partner. He has given me the courage to fly.”

I have to thank SIRPAUL for taking time to answer my questions. The Horse will be released Tuesday, April 3rd. It will be available on iTunes and Amazon. I will post the links when I have them. Meanwhile, you can visit his official website for more about SIRPAUL. You can also check out a recent theme song from a movie, Going Down In La-La-Land.

To learn more about Going Down In La-La-Land, visit the official website. You can purchase the song on iTunes and Amazon. You can find SIRPAUL’s music catalog on iTunes and on Amazon.
Interview and post from Howard Stump

Leading to the light of love – Chris Dallman interview.

To make the new release from Chris Dallman,  Jason Shaw talks to the enigmatic mellow tunesmith with a voice of pure honey.

Article first published as Light The Love – Christopher Dallman Interview on
Technorati.

 

A tragedy of modern life I find is the painful truth that there are many people that really don’t seem to quite get the recognition they richly or rightly deserve.  In an effort to elevate some of that misfortune and injustice,   I’d like to introduce you to a singer/song writer whose blessed mellow evocative tones deserve to and should reach a multitude of fresh ears.


Christopher Dallman is a rare combination of incredible talent and unashamed niceness,   he was born in September  1978 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this handsome fella learned the piano from just 8 years of age, then picked up a guitar around the age of 16 and taught himself to play.  Sometime during 1996 he started playing Sunset Boulevard, no not the famous street in LA, but a coffee shop in Milwaukee!


Chris is a sensitive chap with a vocal style is a delight to the ears and his all round sound is of transcendental, authentic and rather moving.  Chris has already built up a small army of fans all over this globe of ours and is all set to release a brand new five track EP.   I caught up with the LA based musician to find out more:

 

Hello again Chris, so this is a very exciting time for you, with you just about to release a new EP, when’s it coming out?
It is very exciting.  I’ve been living with these songs for so long and I love them so much that I can’t wait to share them.  It’s out September 27th.
We will talk some more about that in just a little while, however, first I want to take you back,   to where it all first started, when did you know you wanted to be a musician and that you had a such an emotive voice?
Well, I’ve always been musical.  I sang a lot as a child.  I have many memories of singing in my pyjamas while my grandmother played the upright piano in our living room.
I started actually writing songs when I was 17.  I recorded a little album I called ‘Poison Jack’ on a four track recorder in my parents’ basement.  It was a collection of fuck-you songs,  I’d written to the older boy that had just broken my heart.  I dubbed a bunch of cassette copies for my friends and they responded really strongly to it.  I suppose that was the first time I knew my voice had any kind of emotional power.  And, you know  that’s what gave me the confidence to set up my first live show at a coffeehouse in the city.


You talk about singing around the piano with your grandmother as a youngster, did you always hold a dream of being a singer or an entertainer?
I always wanted to be a performer.  Other jobs have never much appealed to me. But I started out wanting to be an actor and that turned into music when I was 18.
Who was on the young Chris Dallman’s stereo? 
Earliest loves were Madonna and Prince.   In high school and college, I got very into Tori Amos and Ani DiFranco.  I was very Lilith Fair then.  I still love all that, but back then it was all I listened to, whereas now it’s a tiny slice of my taste.  I didn’t really listen to dudes until I was in my 20s and I think you can hear that in my voice.  Now I listen to everything. I’m stuck on James Blake at the moment.  Stuck hard.
So are these the same kind of people that you take your influences from now?
Absolutely.  I learned to play music by mimicking the musicians that moved me most.  Over time, my own style has emerged, thank God, but I can still hear their influence in my tunes.
Did you take guitar lessons or where you self taught?   Singing lessons?
Self taught on both fronts.  It’s wonderful and terrible at the same time.  It’s both liberating and limiting.
Fascinating, most of the great guitar players are all self taught,  now lets change the subject a little and talk more about locations.  You currently reside in Los Angeles with your husband, now please forgive me, being a simple Brit, I may have got this all wrong, but is LA like it appears in the movies,  an wanna be actor at every street corner?  And Do you all go down to the beach at the weekend to surf?
Haha,  the side of LA that’s shown in movies is true to life, but it’s just a sliver of what the city really is  It’s accurate, but narrow.  I’ve been to the beach 3 times this year.  But never to surf.  And yes… actors EVERYWHERE. 

Jason Shaw
Thank you for that insight, one of the reasons I wanted to know about LA, is that from your sensational  EP ‘Never Was, there’s a track I simple  adore called ‘Has Been’.  Which seems to typify the whole LA, New York, Paris or even at a push, London ideal, the aspirations of making it in the big city, yet finding the streets are not paved with gold, that dreams and realities are not always the same things.  Did you have that in mind when you wrote it?


Definitely. I wrote it on the road after a really rugged gig.  I’d been stuck in a period of time where I couldn’t get out of my own head onstage.  The whole THING of performing is letting go of that and allowing yourself to go to another place that has nothing to do with the brain.  If you’re in your head, it kills it.  And the thing is that when you remove that part from the performing experience, you’re left with just the bad stuff– the anxiety.
I was driving to my next destination after that show feeling all sorts of washed up.  But then I laughed because how could I feel like such a has been if I’d never really made it?  I wrote the melody and lyrics then and there.
Is the best of you, yet unseen?
Absolutely.  I’m just getting started.  I really dig where my voice is headed and my five newest songs are my five faves.   The older I get, the freer I feel.


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Children Of The Resolution.

Article first published as Children Of The Resolution on Technorati.

 

Jason Shaw talks to Author Gary Murning about his moving and thought-provoking novel Children of the Resolution.

A strong wind of change was starting to circulate around the educational establishment of England in the mid to late seventies – that change was ‘integration’      Society as a whole was changing back then and integration became the decades key word, especially prevalent  in relation to education.

Prior to the late seventies in the UK children with disabilities were mostly educated in ‘special’ or  segregated schools or at home, that’s if they were educated at all.  Disabled people then were more than twice as likely as non-disabled people to have no qualifications whatsoever.  Various moves took place to change that, to move those with disabilities away from segregation, isolation, stigmatization  and ‘integrate’  them into the mainstream school system.

For better or worse the whole social and educational experiment of integration under the guise of progress  was underway in some British schools in the late seventies.  It’s against this backdrop of change that Gary William Murning sets his deeply thought-provoking novel Children Of The Resolution.  No nothing to do with underage sailors on board the Captain Cook ship, but a moving account of a child going through this mode of integration. A deeply personal story as I found out when I spoke to author Gary William Murning.

 

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Getting in the head of Derek Nicoletto

Top music blogger  Howard Stump from Soundtrack To My Day presents a an interview with Derek Nicoletto.

 

I’ve been following Derek Nicoletto’s career since I saw the Orion’s Light video on Logo. I went right to iTunes, DL’ed the Telling On Trixie album, and have been following since. I was doubly thrilled when I discovered the handsome frontman was out and proud. In my collection, I have the self-titled debut album, and was part of the fundraising cleverly known as “A Band With A Plan,” which in some ways foresaw the coming of places like Kickstarter, allowing indie musicians a way to assist in the funding. I have my autographed copy of Telling On Trixie‘s second (and final) album, Ugly, Broke & Sober. And an autographed copy of Rock Face, the album by Derek & the Darling. So I am truly looking forward to my physical copy of Derek’s first solo outing, Kind Ghosts, set to release next Tuesday, July 26th, 2011.

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The day my 75-year-old dad told me he was gay

 

Mike Mills talks to Jasper Rees about Beginners, the highly personal film he had to make .

At Thanksgiving in 1999, a retired museum director issued a warning to his son. “Tomorrow,” he said. “I’m going to throw you a ball. I hope you catch it.” The father had lost his wife of 44 years to brain cancer only a few months earlier. “He was a widower in this house he’d been married in for ever,” explains Mike Mills, who is the son in question. “That was really sad and terrifying. I was like, ‘He wants to move in. What a drag.’ I was slightly relieved when he said, ‘I’m gay.’ ”

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Ben Daniels: An out and out success

 

With a diverse series of projects lined up until the new year, Ben Daniels tells Mark Shenton in The Stage Newspaper,  that being an openly gay actor has not held him back! 

Ben Daniels and Maz Bennett in Luise Miller at the Donmar Warehouse

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Interview: Alan Hollinghurst

 

The explicit voice of British gay literature has softened, writes CATHERINE KEENAN. When Alan Hollinghurst finished his fourth book, The Line of Beauty, he had a sense he’d brought something to a close. That novel started at the point where his first novel, The Swimming-Pool Library, had ended: in the summer of 1983, a period of gilded freedom, as his protagonist, William Beckwith, was cutting an explicitly rendered swathe through gay London.

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