27-year-old lead singer of Years & Years Olly Alexander covers the latest edition of Paper Magazine in a daring shoot by photographer Joshua Wilks.
In many ways, this is the very best time to be a gay artist ever. We wouldn’t be where we are today without all the gay artists that have come before us and broken down so many barriers. But barriers aren’t gone. Particularly for less privileged members of the queer community. There is this very insidious casual homophobia that exists in the fabric of everything including the music industry. Labels and people in positions of power pay lip service to supporting LGBTQ artists. And that’s great. But when are we going to see a gay artist really thrive and succeed? Selling out arenas, hitting number ones. I guess that kind of happened with Sam Smith, but I just think from my personal experience, the amount of comments like ‘Oh, this is very gay’ or ‘This is going to turn some people off’ is a real problem. I would hesitate to say, Yes, I’m engineering this brave new frontier of queer music to infiltrate the masses with my gay agenda. But that’s kind of what I want to do and has always been one of my goals. Now seems like the right time. — Olly Alexander
Years & Years have increasingly become all about one man as they release their second album. Singer Olly Alexander is the only one on the cover of Palo Santo, the only one giving interviews, and the only one wearing PVC shorts at the release party. — London Evening Standard
Every generation needs its defining pop star and Olly Alexander has the potential to fill that role for the woke millennials. — The Times
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