Nate James is an independent soul artist with a successful career to date, having sold over a million albums, received MOBO nominations and urban music awards, and he has headlined festivals across Europe. He has also toured with the likes of Amy Winehouse and John Legend. Nate joins Alexa today to fly the flag for the music industry’s LGBTQIA+ community, sharing his own personal story, including how his school teacher supported him in his early years. He discusses the response to particularly gay male-presenting singers within music, which is the topic of his thesis.
- Nate has encountered numerous instances of individuals concealing their sexuality as a means of advancing their careers within the music industry. This was particularly widespread during the 1980s, a period marked by substantial stigma and apprehension related to HIV and AIDS. Nate also observed the adoption of coded language and individuals altering their personas when interacting with specific individuals to mask their true identities.
- It wasn’t long ago that if you were gay and in a boy band you couldn’t come out as it would hurt the record label financially. Now acts are actively signed because they are gay or trans because it’s seen by some in the industry as a marketing tool.
- Freddie Mercury once told a friend that he didn’t come out as gay because he didn’t want to tarnish the brand that Queen had built. It was an admirable thing to do in one way to protect his bandmates’ livelihoods, but tragic on a personal level for him.
- As a student, Nate discovered solace and security with his teachers after experiencing bullying from fellow classmates due to his sexuality and race. He would confide in them, sharing how disheartened he felt that expressing his passion for dance and singing provoked homophobic reactions.
‘I was effectively living two lives, that’s the case for most gay male pop stars’
‘You can’t tell someone to be themselves but have parameters and boundaries over that’
‘From the consumers point of view things have got better, but if you look beneath it there’s still a lot to be done’
- Instagram: @thenatejames
- Facebook: Nate James Official
Relevant Links & Mentions:
- Artist Mentioned: George Michael; Wham; Little Nas X; Frank Ocean; Duncan James; Stephen Gately; Will Young; Freddie Mercury; Da Brat; Elton John; Harry Styles; Sam Smith; Kim Petras;
- Charlie Kristensen (#CheerUpCharlie): youtube.com/channel/UCNPMcAgo2byrS6XgbuH3udA
- Daniel Lismore: daniellismore.com
- London College of Contemporary Music (LCCM): lccm.org.uk
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ABOUT THE GUEST
Nate James, is a singer-songwriter who, since his 2005 debut, has sold over 1,000,000 albums. His debut album, “Set the Tone,” earned Nate three MOBO nominations and the Urban Music Award for Best Soul Artist. Nate’s live performances have been equally impressive, selling out venues like London’s Jazz Café and winning the prestigious Festivalbar in Italy in 2006.
In 2007, Nate self-funded his second album, “Kingdom Falls,” inspired by a charity mission to Rwanda. It received critical acclaim, winning him Urban Music Awards for Best Album and Best Neo-Soul Artist. Currently, working on his third album “In My Skin” with Mark Hill, it explores themes of love and life’s trials.