With over 4 million Youtube views on his hit single “Falling for You”, Lyon Hart is one of the hottest acts coming out of NYC right now. Lyon Hart released his debut EP in 2015 and has worked with a host of artists including Noosa and Elephante. He recently dropped the video for “Delusional”—an evocative found-footage piece playing with unrequited love in classic imagery. I got to talk with Lyon Hart about his new track, the challenges of being a gay musican today, and what’s in store for 2017.
Ryan: “Delusional” is beautifully haunting. Is this a sign of a darker tone in music to come?
LH: Thanks! It’s definitely one of my favorite songs I’ve written, but I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily forecasting any new direction overall. That emo teenager is alive and well somewhere inside my head and still pops out to say a depressing hello every now and then. I’m currently working on a new track right now with “Falling for You” and “Delusional” producer Rob Grimaldi that goes in the complete opposite direction. I think the only thing you can expect from my new music is the unexpected.
Ryan: “Got My Love” is a great throwback track. How did that collaboration come about?
LH: Sam Padrul is fantastic! He reached out to me to do a collaboration. I get a lot of requests for vocals these days, but his tracks were just so fun and evocative of a different era that I had to say yes!
Ryan: Do you feel that you that as a musician who happens to be gay, you’re afraid to get pigeonholed into being a “Gay artist”?
LH: Afraid? No. Hopeful that the music industry is moving in a direction where that doesn’t happen anymore? Absolutely. I see the Troye Sivans and the Olly Alexanders and the Sam Smiths of the world and it gives me a lot of hope.
Ryan: Why do you think so many artists who start their careers as out and proud have to struggle for success so much more than artists who out themselves say when their debut album is dropping.
LH: It’s something we as a community have to come to grips with. (And it’s not just a music industry phenomenon!) I think it comes from the very human perception that the mysterious and vague is more compelling than the truth. Just like your mother always told you: a little skin can be way more titillating than letting it all hang out. Hinting and teasing will often get you a lot farther than open honesty, unfortunately. We have to fight against that instinct. I would imagine that from [a] PR team standpoint as well, gossip and speculation can be self-perpetuating, but you can only come out once, so they can get a lot more mileage out of mystery. And perhaps there’s also [a] touch of internalized homophobia in there.
I think it’s imperative that the record labels and managers ditch the craven instinct to keep people in the closet, but then it’s also on LGBT artists to strive to make art that is undeniable beyond sexual orientation or gender identity.
Ryan: At the end of your career, what’s one thing you’d like to be remembered for?
LH: How amazing it was that I was still writing and performing at 105.
Ryan: Who is one artist that you would love to write a track for or collaborate with?
LH: Hmm! I’m listening to the brand new Betty Who record as I write this, so right now I think I’d go with Betty Who. (It’s so good, go listen to it!)
Ryan: What’s coming next for you?
LH: More music! There are a couple songs I’m finishing up right now that I’m very excited about! Stay tuned!