Hi everyone! Today I am pleased to welcome author Sam Kadence to the blog. Sam is here to talk about a new release, Evolution, and about being an out gay musician.
Please help me give Sam a big welcome!
Practicing the music didn’t help. It was crap—stuff I didn’t want to listen to and really didn’t want to sing. Some of the songs were love songs with female pronouns. Did they expect me to pretend I was straight? I took a black Sharpie and changed the wording to make it more universal. ~ Genesis Sage in Evolution by Sam Kadence
Most people look at modern day music and think it’s a pretty equal place. There are some amazing figures out there representing the gay community like Adam Lambert. But what a lot of people don’t see is that it’s a real uphill battle to be a gay artist in today’s world.
Now most of us can name several gay recording artists, my question to you, is how many of those are still making music? How many are considered “popular?” And what are your chances of seeing them in concert?
Recently Lance Bass from ‘N Sync wrote an article about how likely it was that someone from One Direction was going to be gay. Statistically it’s highly probably, however, the response was quick and hateful, “How dare he?” Of course he stood in the same place himself, ten years ago. He was young, handsome, talented and a large influence on young men and women, so of course he had to toe the line and pretend to be straight. Once the lime-light had passed he was free to do what he wanted, but at what cost? Fame of course.
Many other musicians battle the same issues, coming out only after their “fame” has faded. Their music is often purposely ambiguous. But with all the wins in marriage equality, you have to ask, why is this still an issue? Everyone loves Adam Lambert, right?
But that’s not true. Yes, he’s one of the most popular openly gay recording artists in the world, he still is nowhere near the Lady Gaga or One Direction rank in sales. Because he’s gay or because people just don’t like his music? Probably the former more than the later as he almost won American Idol and was purposely told by the show not to say anything about his sexuality until after the show was over. Why? Ratings, of course. In 2008, an openly gay singer would have been voted off the show way before he got to the top ten.
Adam faces a lot of issues that most of us don’t think about. Imagine having to travel somewhere for work and knowing it’s not safe. That at any time someone could throw a bomb at you or wave a gun in your direction simply because you’re gay and famous and have to be in the public eye? Now decide that it’s too dangerous so you’re not going to do it all and instead you travel places where no one cares, mostly overseas, leaving a large part of your fanbase longing for a chance to see you perform. Take a glance at Lambert’s tour schedule and you’ll see exactly where it’s safe for him to travel and where it isn’t.
It’s not the first time this has happened. If you all remember back some ten years ago there was a band called Savage Garden, known for its really sappy love song Truly Madly Deeply. They traveled around the country, two attractive young men. Two albums and a break up took Darren Hayes on a solo path he never expected. He found that working with American record labels boxed him into a corner both musical and personally. It wasn’t until he’d been freed of his contract that he left the USA behind and found a life in the UK. Shortly after he came out to his fans in a long letter about how he’d married the love of his life and would still keep making music, but would do it his way.
Most people don’t know who he is anymore because he’s an independent recording artist now. Mention Truly Madly Deeply, though, and everyone is like “Oh, I remember him.” No, not a one hit wonder as Savage Garden had several number one singles from two albums. His following is mostly across Europe now, and he never comes to the US to perform.
Adam Lambert has gone the same route, performing in New York or California or a Pride event in Florida where he’s surrounded by supporters. The rest of the time he spends in Europe. Yes, he’s one of the most popular gay artists in America. Now take off the gay label and you’ll find he’s hardly a blip on the radar of popular artists in America. He gets more hype for the gay part than the musician part, which I think is sad because he’s got an amazing voice, but we all know that music isn’t really about the music anymore.
I write about musicians a lot in my fiction. Media has a lot of money and it hides things or sweeps things under the table that they don’t want you to know about. This is one of those things. Gene battles being recognized for who he is and playing his own music instead of being forced into a role that the higher ups think will make money. But Gene refuses to play that game, and in doing so beings to teach other’s that standing out really shouldn’t be something to fear. He’s different, but he’s going to keep moving forward, doing the right thing and taking care of those he loves.
So whether you’re a singer, a writer, a painter, or even an accountant, do what you do, be what you are, and let others be who they are. Don’t be afraid to love what you love. Maybe someday the whole world will get with the program.
Gene Sage has only ever wanted to sing, but his band, Evolution, is pushing him toward the big time. He finds it hard to focus on making musical history when he’s dreaming of graveyards and seeing ghosts. And while all he can think of is hiding who he is from a world unforgiving of anyone different, he discovers he’s also the ultimate snack for vampires and demons. When Gene literally runs into—over—his idol, Kerstrande Petterson, rock god, vampire in hiding, and music cynic, his life falls over the edge into chaos.
Jaded by the world and nearly a decade in the music business, Kerstrande thinks Gene wants to use him to make Evolution immortal in more than one way, but he can’t seem to brush aside the young singer’s enthusiasm.
Getting involved with Kerstrande drags Gene into otherworldly power struggles. Between the ghosts stalking them, the media painting supernaturals as villains, and a vampire out of control in the city, the only way for Gene and Kerstrande to survive is for Gene to embrace his powers—and his destiny.