The music industry in America is definitely slower than other countries in developing LGBT artists to the mainstream. While we have fantastic artists like Sam Smith, Alex Newell, Perfume Genius, Steve Grand and others, even the brightest of them all, Adam Lambert, still recognizes the imbalance.
There’s no doubt that the U.S. has made giant shifts in LGBT acceptance, but the American Idol alum is still aware of the music industry’s “gatekeepers” that tend to keep gay artists in glass closets.
“I think there have been a lot of things in general that have shifted within the LGBT community and mainstream acceptance,” Lambert told Digital Spy. “There’s not as much of a reason to be scared of it, because people in general aren’t scared of it.”
Lambert also spoke about how gay British artists (particularly singers Smith and Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander) are helping to change attitudes in the music industry, and he wishes America can reflect the same progress.
“I think it’ll happen slowly but surely…”
“It’d be nice if there was more,” he added. “I think it’ll happen slowly but surely. There are success stories happening and that’s the biggest thing for the music industry. They need to see that it actually works in order for them to feel comfortable with it. The audiences are there for it, but the industry needs to come around a bit more to it. They are, but it’s the last piece.”
Thus raises the question: what is taking these gatekeepers so long to come to their senses?! Recent artists like Sam Smith tend to make their songs gender neutral to please mainstream audiences. “Stay with Me” for example, or Smith’s recent cover of Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know,” in which pronouns were changed: “There’s a boy! I know!” to “Oh it’s you!”
“Luckily we’re in a moment right now with streaming where there’s more power put back into the artist’s and audience’s hands,” Lambert added. “But the gatekeepers who make a lot of the other big decisions in the music industry, those are the ones hardest to convince on certain things. That’s the reasoning for some of that pronoun stuff.”