My LGBTQ musical heroes
Hey, Mickey misfits! Jamie here.
Who? Excellent question.
I'm Jamie Beaglehole - the UK's #1 dad blogger and friend of MT. I met Mickey and his lovely entourage at Disney's Magical Pride in Paris last year where my family were reporting for our Daddy & Dad subscribers and we've been pals ever since. I'm a gay dad, by the way.
At first glance I'm probably quite an unlikely fit for the Mickey gang; a father of two, fairly innocuous in appearance and (a wee bit) older and possibly wiser 🤣. But, an irreverent chat over an enormously expensive Disney beer (£12!) and we found we had way more in common that you'd imagine - not least a love for pop music and a sparkly tee.
A year on, and here I am as Mickey's first esteemed guest blogger. It's quite the responsibility! So, here we go.
I grew up in the 80s and 90s - famously the era of new-romantic pop, glitter-ball camp and Top of the Pops; influences for Mickey's dark-pop sound, I like to think. However, the 80s and 90s were also a dark time for gay people. We only had a few unhelpful gay stereotypes on telly and a traditional government who painted gay people as diseased, debauched and dangerous to kids, which obviously we're not.
But despite this, LGBTQ pop stars back then were pioneering and accepted by the mainstream. My pop heroes during my childhood provided me with a myriad talented, glamorous people to aspire to.
With that in mind, Mickey asked me who my favourite LGBTQ musicians are. So, without further ado...
Oh David. My first David Bowie moment was Labyrinth. I mean, as a six year old, to be honest he was quite scary as the Goblin King. But there was something about him that drew me in. As I got to know David Bowie through Top of The Pops and his elusive telly appearances I found his style and voice totally captivating.
As a grown-up (I'm in my thirtees now, by the way), after I'd come out and made a life with my finance Tom, David's cameo on Extras was, well, literally amazing and hilarious and that's my prevailing image of him. A funny, stylish, wonderful musician who crossed borders and made everybody listen.
I first discovered Annie Lennox in my Uncle Stephen's CD collection when I was twelve. Back then, Uncle Stephen lived as a single lad in his thirtees in a beautiful apartment in Lausanne, Switzerland, Stephen was probably younger than I am now, which is bizarre to think about now I'm 39. In fact, thinking back he was probably my role model back then. Single, successful, lovely, great CD collection, a kitchen with shutter windows. What a lad.
Anyway, he allowed me the free reign over his CD collection and I discovered two CDs that became my holiday (and life) obsessions,,, Tori Amos and Annie Lennox. Annie Lennox was an enormous love for me for her harmonies, 90s beats and style. LOVE. I still have No More I love Yous in my top 10 fave songs ever.
I mean, Jimmy. What a voice. He's the pioneer of UK gay pop stars for the next century and beyond. Jimmy paved the way for Mika, Mø, Lykki Li, Will Young, Dua Lipa, even new Kylie and basically all my favourite 20s pop acts have pinched a bit of his cool.
A young, ordinary lad back then, in his 20s, Jimmy sang about leaving his small, homophobic town for a brighter future in the big city, I honestly think he's inspired a whole new generation of gay kids to do their own thing and make their own lives.
Small Town Boy is my favourite song ever. Not least because I grew up in Warwick and escaped to the Big City to find my Tom and become the Dad I am now. I LOVE Jimmy.
OK so we're fast-forwarding quite a few years suddenly. Let's talk about Rita. I wasn't sure at first - I felt a little like Rita was skating on the tail of Beyonce and Rihanna. But, all her songs are quality, underrated pop beauties.
Her interview in Attitude about being bisexual made me realise just what an inspiration she is.
Rita is our country's biggest mainstream Bi popstar! I love her and I loved her album, Phoenix, It was wonderful - I've no idea why it's not become an Ibiza classic (it might have done but I'm a 39 year-old dad in Leicester with kids)... I mean, it's AMAZING! Proper 2000s beach holiday cool album. We still have it on our playlist every vacay.
Mika's first album came out about the same time I moved in with Tom when I was 22. Without giving my whole life story away, I left uni early when I met Tom, came out to my family and moved in with Tom into a lovely old apartment in Loughborough, above a wine shop and a florist. Tom was still at uni and I tempd as a PA, Back then (2001) we listened to Moby, Fatboy Slim, Will Young and Mika,
Mika was my fave because he sounds like Queen. And he's stood the test of time - both my boys now ask Google for Take It Easy and Popular as though they're brand new tracks. TBH, given the choice I think they'd choose Adam Lambert over Mika, but only because Adam drops the F word every-so-often!
Adam Lambert is an example of hard work paying off. He was a young, theatrical, ordinary boy who tried and tried and tried, and, with only a splash of push from his parents became an enormous, world-leading, global star. He's basically THE example for gay kids. Find your talent and do it!
For me, the moment he became the lead singer for Queen was a huge moment. We kept the boys up (they were only 5 then) until midnight and sang along with every song on their Queen NYE show.
Thinking more recently, his appearance on Don't Cancel Pride was literally the most amazing, camp thing ever and our whole family sang along. It was wonderful.
I'm quite new to MNEK - and by new I mean I discovered him about ten years ago. He's basically the driver behind all my favourite pop music as a grown up. He's written and produced most of my fave songs by The Saturdays, Zara Larsson, Little Mix, Dua Lipa, Clean Bandit, Julia Michaels, Craig David, Christina Aguilera, Becky Hill - MNEK is basically the man behind all our favourite dance anthems today. But, he's still quite unknown for his voice, which by the way is BEAUTIFUL.
Finally, he's had a big, well deserved mainstream smasher with Joel Corry (also amazing) on this year's biggest (in my opinion) best dance track, Head & Heart. It's wonderful! He's my 2020 LGBTQ music legend.