Magazine article Out

Eye on the Sparro

Magazine article Out

Eye on the Sparro

Article excerpt

Warning: There is a new militant gay on the international pop scene. Lock up your sons!

"I picked up a Swiss newspaper the other dav and the headline was 'Militant Gar Sam Sparro Comes to Town' or some shit." the singer savs, laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. "It's so stupid, but it says a lot about how people still think. You're either in the closet or you're a militant gay!"

For the record, Sparro is not the gay Malcolm X. He is, however, refreshingly frank about his position on everything from sexuality to religion and drugs. It's all there on his self-titled debut, which manages to include songs about a stripper ("Sally") and ecology Recycle It!") without ever losing its sense of humor or a damn good pop tune. And thanks in no small part to the cool electro-funk of his rather superb debut single, "Black and Gold" (think Gnarls Barkley cavorting with Daft Punk), the 25-year-old songsmith has in a few short months become a breakthrough star throughout Europe and is now ready to do the same in America. Whether America is ready for him is another thing.

"America is generally a very homophobic country, and it's not shy about it," says the Aussie-born, Los Angeles-based singer. "You turn on respected news sources like CNN and you see people quite comfortably talking about gay people like they're second-class citizens, and it's just accepted."

It's little surprise that, after a couple of decades of globehopping, Sam's record deal was signed in Great Britain, where the likes of Jake Shears and Rufus Wainwright are top 10 crossover stars. It took quite a trip for him to get there, from a tough boyhood in Australia to singing in the churches of east Los Angeles as a teenager (thanks to his musician father's gospel connections) to an initial trip to London at 17 ("I thought I was going to be a star overnight") and even a very brief spell as a go-go dancer in West Hollywood ("I was really broke!").

Now that he's being launched globally, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that certain industry figures might have advised Sam to keep his lips sealed about his sexuality for the sake of sales. Admirably, Sam would never entertain such a notion.

"It's ridiculous that I should be ashamed of who I am. I don't care whether or not it sells less records," he says. "I don't want to live in a world where I should be made to feel ashamed of who I am. And I don't want young people down the line to feel the same kind of feelings that I did growing up. The only way to stop that is to say 'Enough of the bullshit'-just enough, already."

Sam has spoken before about how he was bullied during his school days in Sydney; it's a subject close to the surface. …

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