YEARS & YEARS' OLLY ALEXANDER RELEASES POWERFUL STATEMENT OF SEXUALITY AFTER BAND RELEASE VIDEO FOR NEW TOVE LO COLLABROATION 'DESIRE' 0 208

Years & Years are back with a brand new music video – this time for their revamped version of former single ‘Desire’, with singer Tove Lo along for the ride as a guest vocalist.

But it’s Olly Alexander – the band’s frontman – who takes centre stage for this powerful video, which he says was important for him to showcase something different to the usual male-female music video romance.

“Most of the pop videos I’ve seen that have any male and female interaction are usually centred around a romance, and that’s great, I am all for romance, but let’s face it there are a lot of other sexualities and identities that are well deserving of some shiny pop video love.

“I’ve been wanting to make a video with some of my queer family for a long time and ‘Desire’ felt like the right time to do it. Every Y&Y video has some similar elements that run through it: magical worlds, symbolism, pretty lights and this time I wanted sex added into that mixture.

I wanted the video to feel sexy. Everyone has a different definition of what they find sexy, so why do we so often get given one version of what sexy is time and time again? Is there a rulebook for men and women on how to feel sexy or what sexy is? For me, whoever it is, two women, two men, a group of gender-queer people, it’s all cute. It can all be a positive and a joyful expression of sexiness and sexuality, you don’t have to be a specific gender to enjoy it.

“Pop music has a pretty good track record of embracing queer culture, it’s been a safe place for some of our most visible queer icons, we have more out and open non-straight stars than ever before. The word queer first started being used in the late 1980’s by members of the community who wanted to reclaim something negative and turn it into a positive. It’s still a painful word for some and lots of people don’t identify with it but for me it’s a helpful and empowering term that unifies an ever growing community.

“I LOVE POP (obviously) so, why is it that in 2016, a Pop video featuring people expressing their sexuality who aren’t cis-gendered or heterosexual, feel at all unusual or progressive? Well for a lot of people, it doesn’t- they live and think outside of the societal binary most of us are used to, but for a lot of other people, myself included, it does. It shouldn’t, but it does. I am an openly gay male singer, in a band called Years & Years, we make pop music. We’re not the only queer-frontman-led acts nor am I the only openly gay male singer but all that being said there aren’t that many of us and at times I’ve felt real pressure to hide or to limit my sexuality. Some of that pressure has come from myself and my own internal struggles and some of it has come from the wider world. Most often I see the following kind of attitude – we don’t mind if you’re gay, just don’t be too gay or that’s a bit much; a bit camp; a bit weird; don’t shove it in our faces etc. Well, if “shoving it in your face” essentially refers to the way that lots of straight pop stars get to assert their sexuality then I’ll be damned if I’m not gonna shove it in your face if I want to.

“So yeah, gay people have sex, and it’s not just gay people, it’s all kinds of people! All these non-straight people, they’re out there, having sex! Sex, between two consenting adults, can be a healthy, positive, safe and enjoyable thing! Hopefully most of you know this and you don’t need me to give you a sex ed lesson (I didn’t have any sex ed at school so I’d probably be bad at it) and to be fair, not everybody wants to hear me bang on about my sex life. But here’s the thing, I like having sex, being able to assert myself and talk about my sexuality is an empowering thing for me. It’s a difficult road from shame to acceptance and part of making that journey easier is owning and embracing it all. As a teenager I was inspired by stars who I felt were doing just that. They were almost exclusively women; Madonna, Destiny’s Child, Alanis Morisette, Britney and Whitney – they asserted or acknowledged their sexuality in varying and different ways and to me they were ways that felt powerful. They were singing about men and I wanted to sing about men. They were seductive and sensual in their videos – I wanted to be seductive and sensual in my videos (and believe me I made a lot of these kind of home videos). They were so much more interesting to me than the majority of male musicians whose Type A macho masculinity felt completely un-relatable. Now, I feel like it’s important to state here that I will never be Beyonce, I am a white male and that is an extremely large privilege, I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman. I can talk about sexuality all I want but I will never know what it’s like to be a woman. Women in Pop music are expected to be sexy, most of the time they don’t have any choice – I have the privilege of choice. I chose to make this video about sex, to portray myself as a sexual character. I choose this because I do not want to hide or limit my sexuality, I want to make videos and songs and art that celebrate all different kinds of sexuality and queer identities.

“What do we expect from pop music? From our pop stars? What do we expect from the ones that are gay? I don’t know the answers to these questions but I for one don’t want to see a narrow representation of gender and identity on our screens or in our music. I want diversity. We shouldn’t have to feel scared about putting our sexualities and identities on display in all their beautiful, interlocking, multi-layered multi-coloured glory. I want to be proud. Proud to shove it in people’s faces if I want to.

Thank you for reading – it’s the support from you guys that has got me to a place where I’m able to say things like this, to not feel so scared to shout about what I believe in. Hope you enjoy the video. Lots of love, Olly xxx”

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GRAHAM NORTON & ALAN CARR CONFIRMED AS JUDGES ON RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE UK 0 116

BBC Three has confirmed two of TV’s best loved presenters and personalities, Graham Norton and Alan Carr, will be joining RuPaul and Michelle Visage on the judging panel for RuPaul’s Drag Race UK.

Eight-time Bafta TV award-winner Graham Norton is no stranger to RuPaul’s Drag Race, having already appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars season two in the US as a guest judge in 2016. Whilst comedian Alan Carr is a long-time fan of RuPaul, having made his acquaintance when Ru appeared on his chat show Alan Carr’s Chatty Man.

Both Graham and Alan share a passion for the drag scene and RuPaul’s Drag Race.

The first UK adaption of the global hit will showcase the most fabulous drag queens that the UK has to offer, and Graham and Alan will appear as rotating resident judges. Each week, they will join RuPaul, Michelle Visage and a celebrity guest judge.

For the grand finale, Graham and Alan will both appear on the judging panel alongside previously announced judge Michelle Visage, where together they will assist host RuPaul in crowning the UK’s Next Drag Superstar.

Graham Norton says: “Becoming part of the drag race family makes me ridiculously happy! I can’t wait to see what the UK drag queens bring to the party, but they better weeeeerk!!!”

Alan Carr, says: “Wow! To be sat next to Michelle Visage and Mama Ru as a guest judge on possibly one of my all-time favourite shows EVER is a dream come true. I can’t wait to see what the UK Queens have got in store – it’s going to be sickening! *does death drop*”

RuPaul, says: “I was both shocked and delighted when Graham and Alan told me they’d be wearing tucking panties when sitting at the judges’ table. I told them it was not necessary, but they insisted. Now that’s what I call dedication!”

Kate Phillips, Controller, Entertainment Commissioning, says: “I am so excited that self-confessed Drag Race fans Graham and Alan have agreed to join Ru and Michelle on our judging panel. Their immense wit and wisdom will be invaluable in ensuring the most deserving Queen sashays away with the title.”

2019 GRAMMY WINNERS ANNOUNCED 0 114

Dua Lipa, Kacey Musgraves and Childish Gambino were among the big winners at this year’s Grammy Awards.

Country-pop star Musgraves took home four prizes in total, including Album of the Year for Golden Hour. The singer-songwriter, who bagged the top prize over the likes of Cardi B, Drake and Janelle Monae, thanked her “sweet husband” during her acceptance speech, who she met and fell in love with during the recording of the collection.

Musgraves also picked up awards for Best Country Album, Best Country Solo Performance for Butterflies and Best Country Song for Space Cowboy. Golden Hour is the singer’s first Top 10 on the Official UK Albums Chart, debuting at Number 6 upon its released last April.

Meanwhile, Dua Lipa won Best New Artist and Best Dance Recording for her Silk City collaboration Electricity. The singer thanked her fans, “who have allowed me to be the best version of myself.”

Lipa also paid tribute to the “many female artists” in the category, adding: “I guess this year we’ve really stepped up”. The comment was a not-so-subtle dig at Grammys president Neil Portnow, who last year brushed off criticism of the lack of female winners by saying women needed to “step up” in order to be considered.

Elsewhere, Childish Gambino won Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Music Video of the Year for This Is America, and Lady Gaga picked up prizes for Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Pop Duo Performance, the latter for Bradley Cooper duet Shallow from A Star Is Born.

Here are the winners and nominees from the 2019 Grammy Awards:
Album Of The Year — Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves
Record Of The Year — “This Is America,” Childish Gambino
Best New Artist — Dua Lipa
Best Rap Album — Invasion Of Privacy, Cardi B
Best R&B Album — H.E.R., H.E.R.
Best Rap Song — “God’s Plan,” Drake
Best Country Album — Golden Hour, Kacey Musgraves
Song Of The Year — “This Is America,” Childish Gambino
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance — “Shallow,” Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical — Pharrell Williams
Best Rap/Sung Performance — “This Is America,” Childish Gambino
Best Rap Performance — King’s Dead, Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, Future & James Blake / Bubblin, Anderson .Paak
Best Rock Album — From The Fires, Greta Van Fleet
Best Rock Song — “Masseduction” St. Vincent
Best Metal Performance — Electric Messiah, High On Fire
Best Rock Performance — When Bad Does Good, Chris Cornell
Best Urban Contemporary Album — Everything Is Love, The Carters
Best R&B Song — “Boo’d Up,” Ella Mai
Best Traditional R&B Performance — Bet Ain’t Worth The Hand, Leon Bridges / How Deep Is Your Love, Pj Morton Featuring Yebba
Best R&B Performance — Best Part H.E.R. Featuring Daniel Caesar
Best Latin Jazz Album — Back To The Sunset, Dafnis Prieto Big Band
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album — American Dreamers: Voices Of Hope, Music Of Freedom, John Daversa Big Band Featuring Daca Artists
Best Jazz Instrumental Album — Emanon, The Wayne Shorter Quartet
Best Jazz Vocal Album — The Window, Cécile Mclorin Salvant
Best Improvised Jazz Solo — Don’t Fence Me In, John Daversa
Best Reggae Album — 44/876, Sting & Shaggy
Best Dance/Electronic Album — Woman Worldwide, Justice
Best Dance Recording — Electricity, Silk City & Dua Lipa Featuring Diplo & Mark Ronson
Best Contemporary Classical Composition — Kernis: Violin Concerto, James Ehnes, Ludovic Morlot & Seattle Symphony
Best Classical Compendium — Fuchs: Piano Concerto ‘Spiritualist’; Poems Of Life; Glacier; Rush, Joann Falletta
Best Classical Solo Vocal Album — Songs Of Orpheus – Monteverdi, Caccini, D’india & Landi, Karim Sulayman
Best Classical Instrumental Solo — Kernis: Violin Concerto, James Ehnes
Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance — Anderson, Laurie: Landfall, Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet
Best Choral Performance — Mcloskey: Zealot Canticles, Donald Nally
Best Opera Recording — Bates: The (R)Evolution Of Steve Jobs, Michael Christie, Garrett Sorenson, Wei Wu, Sasha Cooke, Edward Parks & Jessica E. Jones
Best Orchestral Performance — Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11, Andris Nelsons
Producer Of The Year, Classical — Blanton Alspaugh
Best Engineered Album, Classical — Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 11, Andris Nelsons & Boston Symphony Orchestra
Best Pop Vocal Album — Sweetener, Ariana Grande
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album — My Way, Willie Nelson
Best Pop Solo Performance — Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?), Lady Gaga
Best Country Song — “Space Cowboy,” Kacey Musgraves
Best Country Duo/Group Performance — Tequila, Dan + Shay
Best Country Solo Performance — “Butterflies,” Kacey Musgraves
Best Music Film — Quincy, Quincy Jones
Best Music Video — “This Is America,” Childish Gambino
Best Regional Roots Music Album — No ‘Ane’I, Kalani Pe’a
Best Tropical Latin Album — Anniversary, Spanish Harlem Orchestra
Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano) — ¡México Por Siempre!, Luis Miguel
Best Latin Rock, Urban Or Alternative Album — Aztlán, Zoé
Best Latin Pop Album — Sincera, Claudia Brant
Best Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books & Storytelling) — Faith – A Journey For All, Jimmy Carter
Best Children’s Album — All The Sounds, Lucy Kalantari & The Jazz Cats
Best Folk Album — All Ashore, Punch Brothers
Best Contemporary Blues Album — Please Don’t Be Dead, Fantastic Negrito
Best Traditional Blues Album — The Blues Is Alive And Well, Buddy Guy
Best Bluegrass Album — The Travelin’ Mccourys, The Travelin’ Mccourys
Best Americana Album — By The Way, I Forgive You, Brandi Carlile
Best American Roots Song — The Joke, Brandi Carlile
Best American Roots Performance — The Joke, Brandi Carlile
Best New Age Album — Opium Moon, Opium Moon
Best Song Written For Visual Media — “Shallow,” Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media — Black Panther, Ludwig Göransson
Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media — The Greatest Showman, Hugh Jackman (& Various Artists)
Best World Music Album — Freedom, Soweto Gospel Choir
Best Roots Gospel Album — Unexpected, Jason Crabb
Best Contemporary Christian Music Album — Look Up Child, Lauren Daigle
Best Gospel Album — Hiding Place, Tori Kelly
Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song — “You Say,” Lauren Daigle
Best Gospel Performance/Song — “Never Alone,” Tori Kelly Featuring Kirk Franklin
Best Contemporary Instrumental Album — Steve Gadd Band, Steve Gadd Band
Best Immersive Audio Album — Eye In The Sky – 35th Anniversary Edition, The Alan Parsons Project
Best Remixed Recording — “Walking Away (Mura Masa Remix),” Haim
Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical — Colors, Beck
Best Historical Album — Voices Of Mississippi: Artists And Musicians Documented By William Ferris
Best Album Notes — Voices Of Mississippi: Artists And Musicians Documented By William Ferris
Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package — Squeeze Box: The Complete Works Of “Weird Al” Yankovic, Weird Al Yankovic
Best Recording Package — Masseduction, St. Vincent
Best Arrangement, Instruments And Vocals — “Spiderman Theme,” Randy Waldman Featuring Take 6 & Chris Potter
Best Arrangement, Instrumental Or A Cappella — “Stars And Stripes Forever,” John Daversa Big Band Featuring Daca Artists
Best Instrumental Composition — Blut Und Boden (Blood And Soil), Terence Blanchard
Best Alternative Music Album — “Colors,” Beck
Best Musical Theater Album — The Band’s Visit, Original Broadway Cast
Best Comedy Album — Equanimity & The Bird Revelation, Dave Chappelle