Years & Years‘ Olly Alexander has revealed that he was told to not mention the fact he was gay, when the band got their record deal.
Speaking at LGBT charity Stonewall‘s fundraiser last night, he told how he was advised to stay in the closet, during media training.
“What happened after we signed was, we got offered media training,” he told the event’s guests.
“One afternoon I met a very nice lady whose job was to help us answer questions in interviews – give us tips, tell us what journalists might try to trip us up on.
“I asked her what she thought about me being gay.
“She said – with very good intentions I’m sure – ‘Why does anybody need to know about your sexuality? What business is it who you go to bed with? Do you really want to invite personal questions like that? Maybe it’s better to not say anything about your sexuality at all’.”
The singer then told how he “ignored her advice”.
He also spoke about the time he came out to the media.
“The moment came when a journalist did ask me what my sexuality was, and I said, yes, I’m gay, this song is about a man,” he revealed.
“It was a really big moment for me, and I realised I needed to say that for my 15-year-old self. I needed to say to him, look, we are not hiding any more.”
His honesty helped fans who were struggling with their sexuality.
“I saw first-hand how being open and honest and vulnerable in myself inspired that in others,” he said.
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about a year and a half ago I got asked if I would be interested in making a documentary, Its not something I ever thought I would do but I'm so grateful and happy that I did. It's been life changing. This entire process I've felt supported and encouraged to explore an area I feel extremely passionate about, mental health, and what it's like to grow up gay. I felt very nervous along the way, conscious that I couldn't represent the incredibly diverse LGBT+ community and that I couldn't do justice to the many different experiences, but ultimately I did not want to let fear stop me from trying to make a difference. I am very lucky I have this platform and I'm trying my best to acknowledge my privilege and do some good with it. If this film can help one person, then I will be happy. It's really just the tip of the iceberg, one film is not enough!, we need to carry on this conversation and get each others voices heard, we can do it !! Thank you to all the wonderful people I met during filming, my life has been truly enriched by meeting all of you and getting to know you, you've inspired me so much! Thank you to production company Antidote for getting this made and for making sure we had a badass queer team, our glorious director @cooper_vicki and kindest man on Earth @petegrant , thankyou to the whole team behind the camera and to @martha_kinn for always making it work. And thank you @bbcthree for putting it out !!! finally thank you to all of YOU guys, I never dreamed I would be in this position, that I could be this outspoken person, and that is all down to the support I've been given from all of you and I will forever be humbled and grateful !!!FOREVER !love to you all xxx be safe be kind aaaaand yeah ?? ❤️ x ALSO FORGOT TO SAY THE DOCUMENTARY IS CALLED OLLY ALEXANDER: GROWING UP GAY hahah x
Last summer, the Years & Years frontman released ‘Growing Up Gay‘, a powerful documentary which explored why the queer community are more vulnerable to mental health issues.
He opened up about his own depression, and the homophobic bullying which drove him to bulimia and self-harm.
He also spoke out about the “damage” people like Piers Morgan do to the LGBTQ community, with their disparaging comments.
Meanwhile, Years & Years recently made their comeback with new track ‘Sanctify‘ – the first single to be taken off their upcoming second album.
The trio released their debut album ‘Communion‘ in 2015, scoring their first UK Number One with it.