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Words: Jason Kattenhorn
Artwork: Tales of Black Eyed Jack
Pop icon Will Young releases his eagerly awaited seventh studio album Lexicon today and we are living for it. Lexicon sees Will reunite with the creative team behind his critically acclaimed 2011 album Echoes, so expect viscerally upbeat sounds, filled with heartbreak and joy. In-between recording Will has been an outspoken campaigner for LGBTQ+ rights, most recently with his LGBTQ+ podcast HOMO SAPIENS that he co-created with Chris Sweeney. With a 21 date UK, tour starting in October Will is set to take 2019 by storm.
What was the inspiration behind Lexicon?
I really love atmospheric pop, people like Miles Kane, Empire of the Sun, MGMT – that mid-tempo, electro, melancholic pop, which I love!
How did it feel being back in the recording studio?
It was great fun because I have worked out a way that suits me and helps with my anxiety. I chose not to write all the songs; however, it meant I got to work with Richard X. I worked with him on an album called Echoes with Jim Eliot and Mima Stilwell, who worked on the same record.
What can we expect from the visuals?
Well, the visuals I am proud of. The videos so far have both been with Rankin, and I play a male stripper playing four different roles. The inspirations were gender fluidity for the cowboy inspired by Vivienne Westwood’s show , and the outfit was actually from that runway collection; Querelle inspired the sailor.
The tour will also draw on Jean Genet and explores the Brain.
Do you have a go to favourite track from this album?
It is very hard. At present I think it is the first single All the Songs and I’ve just realised the title could give me a get-out cos I could just say “All the Songs” from the album.
How do you manage the promotion cycle and touring with keeping a balanced life?
It is easier now than it was. I work a four-day week and I very much keep work “within work”, so when I am done I make sure I do other things. My dogs and my garden are huge passions of mine, and I find not having to travel anywhere a joy.
The conversation about queerness is a lot more open these days. What changes have you seen in the music industry since your first album?
Blimey, it is a completely different atmosphere now [with] more openness and acceptance. And I suppose the big changes, if I had to condense, were legal changes: inability to discriminate in record companies and media and then people realising they could make money out of LGBTQ artists!
Oh God - there was a time with Chrissie Hynde! I will leave it there!
Who are your queer heroes?
Bowie, Grace Jones, Jean Genet, Annie Lennox.
What would be your vision of a Queertopia?
A mixture of Arcadian Gardens, equality of the sexes; everyone wore Demeulemeester, and John Grant was Minister for the Arts!
Will's full tour dates are:
Tuesday 1 - Princess Theatre, Torquay
Wednesday 2 - Pavilions, Plymouth
Friday 4 - Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Saturday 5 - Regent, Ipswich
Sunday 6 - Cliffs Pavilion, Southend
Tuesday 8 - St Davids Hall, Cardiff
Wednesday 9 - Brighton Centre, Brighton
Friday 11 - Eventim Apollo, London
Saturday 12 - Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth
Monday 14 - New Theatre, Oxford
Tuesday 15 - Guildhall, Portsmouth
Thursday 17 - Philharmonic, Liverpool
Friday 18 - Apollo, Manchester
Sunday 20 - Barbican, York
Monday 21 - Bonus Arena, Hull
Tuesday 22 - Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham
Thursday 24 - City Hall, Sheffield
Friday 25 - Armadillo, Glasgow
Saturday 26 - Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Monday 28 - City Hall, Newcastle
Tuesday 29 - Opera House, Blackpool
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