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It's boom and bust forBielfield!

Sydney singer Bielfield has a new single, a new EP, a new video and a whole new attitude to music by gay artists. He’s performing his new single Blow My Mind at Midnight Shift on Friday, September 30.

Few 29-year-old singer-songwriters even have a career, much less two. Kyle Bielfield has been doing himself proud in the world of opera and classical music, for which he trained from a very young age.

He’s from Miami, and attended NYU before doing his Masters in music at Juilliard. He recently sang opera for companies in Philadelphia and Montreal.

He moved to Sydney last year and launched headlong into a pop career. Sony picked him up and released his first single, Frequency, exactly a year ago, and, this month, his first EP, Boom + Bust, and first video, Blow My Mind, the first single from the EP.

Watch an exclusive preview of Blow My Mind below:

In the middle of all that, Bielfield came up with Kings & Queens which he was asked to sing at various venues for Mardi Gras this year. It’s on the EP.

It’s an incredible pedigree, supported by loads of talent, not the least feature of which is his oft-referenced five-octave range. Though, to be sure, it’s not vocal calisthenics which distinguish him.

What makes him fresh and exciting as a young gay singer-songwriter is a heartfelt commitment to writing and singing about what it’s like to be gay. Not so unusual? Yes it is. Read on.

Same Same: It’s not often that pop singers find their way into pop music via classical music and opera! Did you always like pop or is that something new?

Bielfield: [laughs] I am a bit of a late-starter in the pop game. I really love pop music but when I was younger I honestly felt I wasn’t good enough to do it. So I started singing classically and trained my voice up a lot and spent many, many, many years training.

This opened my voice up to so many different parts of the instrument and I started being able to do so much more than I ever could before I trained classically. Which I think is rather unusual.

More singers would be frightened of doing opera than doing pop!

[laughs] Honestly I just thought I wasn’t good enough. I’d done some recordings when I was a teenager and I wrote some songs with some friends and they were OK but I just felt I wasn’t good enough, you know what I mean?

But there was a sound I loved and that sound is what I was after with this EP. It was like this big quest to find the sound I was really in love with.

What was so restrictive about classical music, opera, that pop and RnB freed you from?

I did a show once with a famous conductor and he made a comment about how when you do a classical concert you’re performing for a sea of grey [hair]. That stuck with me.

I couldn’t forget it. Eventually I got to this point where I realised I wanted to do music that was alive, I wanted to record music that was living.

This EP has given me that chance. And people are dancing to it! When I saw the dancers in my first music video, Frequency, I almost started crying. I never thought that’d ever actually happen, making music and seeing people dancing to it and enjoying it and expressing it. I really just never envisaged that, you know, ever, ever.

Many musicians manage to strike a strong link with gay audiences, not so many manage to maintain it. Gaga, who has a classical background like you, was instantly embraced for Born This Way. Most of us cried when we first heard it and it galvanised a gay movement. It made her what she is. But so far she hasn’t followed it up with another gay anthem.

Mmm, that’s right. I agree.

I’m not saying she owes us anything, but gay guys and girls need music to identify with, songs that are affirming, that’s why Born This Way was so huge. Let’s leapfrog from there: Why are so many love songs by gay artists gender-nonspecific?

Well, let me begin by saying I wrote albums full of music before I wrote this EP. I mean, we’re talking _albums_ of music. And I have some songs that _are_ gay, specifically. I don’t even have to talk about being with a guy, you hear the lyric and you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Give us an example?

I wrote a song with John Foreman, called Think It Over, and it goes like this:

Take off your shoes, let my world fall at your feet
It’s just you and me and you know I will be discreet
Take off your shirt, I’m tracing every line
Don’t be afraid to reveal yourself

No need to think it over
Be free in sweet surrender
There’s nowhere else we’d rather be
Your heartbeat’s getting faster
I wanna feel you closer
There’s nowhere else we’d rather be

It’s kinda strange that you’ve been on my mind
Will there be a day when we don’t have to hide?
Tell me it’s true, we can do it all again
Don’t be afraid to reveal yourself

No need to think it over
Be free in sweet surrender
There’s nowhere else we’d rather be
Your heartbeat’s getting faster
I wanna feel you closer
There’s nowhere else we’d rather be

© Kyle Bielfield and John Foreman (used with permission)

We wrote this like a year and a half ago. And it’s beautiful, you know, but when we were choosing tracks for the EP it kind of ended up coming down to serving many masters. I had to serve, you know, my label, Sony, and make sure they were happy, I had to serve myself, my own ears, and make sure _I_ was happy and that it was something I wanted to represent me, and then, you know, I also had to serve everyone helping me with the album.

There are a lot of challenges with songs you write that are specifically targeted towards the people you’re trying to sing for [laughs], you know? And then all the other challenges.

I think that definitely, definitely now I have this EP I plan to really try to serve myself and my community in every way I can. I’m starting a campaign right now to help the talk about marriage equality in Australia, something that’s really important, and I’d love to use some of my music to say those things.

And I think that with love songs, look, I think when you write a love song you want everyone to be able to connect with it in some way and the first instinct of any singer is to assume you have to be gender-nonspecific to connect and – you know what? – I think to a certain extent that’s not necessarily true.

I think that instinct is potentially wrong. And I want to definitely explore that but it’s something, well, I had to put out a bit of music first and then think some more as I get more experience.

We were thrilled when Ricky Martin came out and many thought we’d be treated to some hot gay Latin love songs; well, he continues with the love songs but his videos are all completely straight, not even a gay reference point.

Yeah.

He may as well not have come out as far as his work is concerned. He rarely does interviews or addresses issues which affect gays around the world. His voice as a gay man has gone quiet.

That’s a very valid point. And it makes me think. I have a video for a song on the EP called _Blow My Mind_ . It’s very ‘80s, very Heart of Glass. It’s one of my favourite songs and the video’s a bit confusing, on purpose. There’s a connection to the guys and girls in heels in the Kings & Queens video. It’s kind of androgynous but I think many will interpret it as hetero-normative. It’s not at all. You’re s’posed to look a bit deeper, if you take the time.

I’ve never claimed to not be gay. I remember the first time a magazine asked me and I was like, well, yeah, what’s the problem here? I said what do you mean, like if anyone meets me will they think I’m gay? I thought it was pretty obvious. And that’s what I told Sony, honestly, at the beginning.

We all talked about the gay thing. I said I don’t even need to talk about it, do I? Like when people get to know me a little, if you see my videos, if you hear my music, I think you know.

It’s not something that has to be hidden anymore, it’s not something shameful. I know Australia is slightly behind on marriage equality right now but I think for most people it’s a non-issue.

I was talking to someone last night and I asked what happens after marriage equality? What’s the next battle? You know what I think? I think the battle is not won on equality until gay people don’t have to come out to their parents.

What a good point!

When no gay person has to come out to their family then the battle for equality is won.

Do we hear a song in that?

[laughs] Yeah! There’s definitely a song in that. Lots of things are still to be said about this and I’m starting a campaign to do that. I want it to influence my music.

If the gay thing should not be an issue these days why did you have to talk about it with Sony?

Because they asked. Look, Sony is really trying to be with the times. It’s their job, you know. It’s what the company is made of. On one side they do technology, films, it really is about being on the cutting edge and Sony Australia is men, not gay men, it’s a lot of straight men, and it’s very, very Australian and in the last couple years all their personal views have become more and more liberal.

None of them were ever against gay people but I think some were scared, you know. I mean if you think about it, if you’re asking me why so many gay people are scared of equality can you imagine how all the straight people feel about it? [laughs]

If it was in their personal lives they’d have no problem with their son or daughter being gay, you know, but can you imagine all the things that go on in their minds when an artist says “Can I say I’m gay?”

The whole point of Frequency was that it was faceless, person-less, so people would really interact with it as a song and it worked. It was on NOVA and all the major stations here. And abroad – it really saw a lot of light in London. And it’s still seeing a lot of light.

Now I can come out and people see I had this song that had traction and I actually have a voice and can say something and not be held back by certain preconceptions, you know? I actually have something to build on.

Is there pressure in the music industry at large to keep the gay out of songs because it’ll restrict sales?

That’s a really important question and I’d say it’s something I battle every time I go into the studio for sure.

For me, it’s not about something being gay or straight, it’s not about that. It’s more about if someone views something a certain way will that mean they won’t connect with it in the same way?

For me it’s about connection but I think thanks to the progress that’s been made with the LBGTI community worldwide, especially in the United States, I’ve been hearing a new usage of gender pronouns in music.

I hope I can be an artist who can pioneer the proper use of pronouns. And play with gender in music positively and sexual identity in music. I want to do that.

I’ve been spending a lot of time searching to get the right people around me, people really into being part of the change.

I’m hoping to work out a thing with Sony so we can release some truly ground-breaking material on B-sides, maybe on SoundCloud if they don’t want to officially release them.

I often write with other people, like John Foreman, and I have music with Marcia Hines, Courtney Act. There are a lot of people who are really inspirational to work with. Now I want people to get the chance to hear it!


Meet Bielfield and hear him perform his new single ‘Blow My Mind’ at Sydney’s Midnight Shift on Friday, September 30. Details here.

Visit Biefliend’s website here.

Comments

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Dissily Mordentroge

Dissily Mordentroge said on the 25th Sep, 2016

I was right with him until - - - - - - -

Carpe-Diem

Carpe-Diem said on the 25th Sep, 2016



I was with him until he was asked

What was so restrictive about classical music, opera, that pop and RnB freed you from?

... Eventually I got to this point where I realised I wanted to do music that was alive, I wanted to record music that was living.


He could've just said something like I didn't find it restrictive at all, I just wanted to try a different genre.

Hope you make it in the pop world sweetcheeks, cos we wouldn't want you to have to fall back on your 'restrictive' classical training when you end up playing suburban RSL clubs to make ends meet. :rolleyes: