Ahead of his new album Fun City, pop musician and DJ Bright Light Bright Light (Rod Thomas) was a guest on our Instagram Live this week to perform a few tracks and answer questions about his career as a gay musician. Born in Wales, the New York-based artist has performed and collaborated with pop stars like Elton John, Cher, and the Scissor Sisters.
This latest album is a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, he said during the Q&A. "Year after year, day after day, we suffer prejudice from every single angle, especially trans people, especially Black trans women. It's really important to me to use this record and this platform to raise awareness for causes and people that are very close to my heart. Throughout the album, you will see stories about queer history, queer people, and tying it in with organizations who are really important."
The tracks feature guest appearances from queer artists like Brendan Maclean, Sam Sparro, Justin Vivian Bond from the New York cabaret scene, and Andy Bell from Erasure.
"I went on tour with Cher last year, and somebody on Instagram described me as 'very gay, very dramatic, very lovable.' I think that’s probably the most accurate description of my music — it is pop music that is influenced by a lot of pop culture, particularly 80s-90s movies and queer history. I love the Desperately Seeking Susans, the Breakfast Clubs, Gremlins, lots of old horror from the 70s and 80s, and then obviously things like Cruel Intentions and She's All That."
Thomas also discussed a recent interview with Attitude, where he said he sometimes feels alienated from the queer community because of body shaming and the focus on partying and drugs.
"People don't clock that there is fracturing within the queer community," he said. "LGBTQ+ is such a gigantic umbrella that not everybody fits into every space, or not everybody fits neatly alongside everybody within that very broad umbrella. When you're part of nightlife, especially — I don't do drugs, I do drink alcohol. Particularly 10 years ago when I was living in London, I was called the boring one because I didn't do drugs and people would be partying. And fine, great, have fun, go along with it, live your life — just don't judge me for not doing it."
Listen to the full performance and Q&A below, and visit The Advocate's IGTV channel for more.