Greco-French singer George Perris speaks his truth – the veteran performer (who sucks!) has come out publicly as gay.
Just before the release of his ninth album, No loveappearing on Wednesday, the 38-year-old talks about his experience coming to terms with his identity.
“I grew up believing there was something wrong with me because when you were a kid in your 80s or 90s, you started to believe that there was something wrong with you,” he said. People† “Back then, people always used words like ‘tolerant’ or ‘open-minded’, and I always hated those terms because I think they hide a rebellion; there is contempt for it. I don’t want you to tolerate me. I want you to accept me because we are 100 percent equal.”
Growing up in Athens, Perris said he hid his sexuality due to a lack of representation of gay people.
“I grew up in a society where you couldn’t see the normality of a gay relationship,” he said. “It wasn’t on TV. It didn’t get into the media. It was not part of a discussion.”
That dynamic started playing out for him in 1998, when pop star George Michael came out as gay.
“My first experience with a public figure coming out was George Michael. I was 15 years old at the time and for me it was like a revelation because I never thought it was possible,” said Perris. “I didn’t know you could have a superstar who was an extraordinarily talented and incredible artist and a beautiful man and everything and he was gay, and he lived a normal life.”
Still, it would be a while before Perris would come to visit friends and family. “There was a little bit of resistance” when he told his family when he was in his early 20s, he said, “but everyone was fine, and they all accepted it.”
Now he is “relieved”, “happy” and “proud” of himself to have come out.
“Although I didn’t hide at all in my private life anymore, as a singer, as a public figure, it had a price for me because there was a part of me that wanted to talk about it,” Perris said. “A lot of people said to me, ‘Don’t come out,’ ‘Don’t talk about that in public,’ ‘It will destroy your career.'”
He sees this step as fulfilling his “responsibility, as a person but also as an artist and public figure, to speak out about this.”
“There are a lot of people who don’t have that luxury,” he said. “Even today, being gay is a cause of death in so many parts of the world.”
He added: “I feel a responsibility, as an artist, to be as honest and true to myself as I can be and to share that with my audience. There is a difference between privacy and secrecy. I am not a secretive person. I have never hidden or pretended to be someone else. So I’m sure [me being gay] won’t be a shock to them or anything. But I feel like my relationship with my fans, my tribe, we just got one step closer. That’s what I feel this will be because they will have the full picture of who I am, free and completely open.”
on No lovePerris has arranged a selection of English-language covers that he finds inspiring.
“I felt the need to go back to my roots. I realized that the only music I wanted to hear was the songs that shaped me, the songs that made me who I am,” he said of No love† The album features “My Future” by Billie Eilish, “Both Sides, Now” by Joni Mitchell, “I Have a Dream” by ABBA and “Somewhere” by West Side Story† “My only goal in music has always been to create emotion and move people. For me, this is my healing album.”
Watch his beautiful version of “Somewhere” below:
And in case you’re wondering what a Greek summer looks like…