We chat to the multi-talented singer-songwriter, Derek Bishop, about his love of Fleetwood Mac, his hate of friend’s boyfriends and his new album.
Derek is a sponge for all of life’s experiences, ringing them out into his own unique style of music mixing vintage 70’s piano with 80’s electro pop. Plus he tells us which audience member is quite likely to get a ride home with him!
Hi Derek I hope you are well?
I’m quite well! Thrilled to be here at The Gay UK. Thank you for having me – I love your site! [Thank you it’s great to talk with you]
Where were you born and where are you living at the moment?
I was born in a very small town in rural Virginia but have been living in New York City for the past 18 years. NYC is my home!
Have you ever been to the UK and where was your favourite place?
Yes! I love the UK and get the chance to visit it semi-often. Plus, I have some great friends that live in London, so it’s always a treat to be there. I’m very at home in London, its feels very much like New York in a lot of ways.
For folk in the UK who may not have heard your music how would you describe your style and who are you musical influences?
My business cards read (yes, I do have business cards) “extra-catchy, eclecto piano-pop.” What that means is a unique mix of instrumentation and song structure yet still hummable and user-friendly. One reviewer described it as “amalgam of many different styles with a pop sensibility, catchy beat and smart lyrics.” I like that description. My new CD, “Resistance is Beautiful” is pretty much a love letter to all my musical influences. It sounds like a mash up of all my favourite sounds and songs from when I was young. You’ll hear some great 70’s vintage keyboards, 80’s synth pop, and other references from the entire past century thrown in there too. Yet, even with all that, it still sounds fresh and modern. Lyrically the songs are about resisting change: the struggles of coming out of the closet, ending a relationship, and getting off my butt and making a difference. Thematically they all tie together and tell a story of how those struggles create and shape a person.
Do you play all your own instruments?
I play anything keyboard based. So, All the pianos, synthesisers, xylophones, and accordions you hear on the record — those are all me. All the vocals and “oohs” and “ahs” are me too. The control freak in me would certainly love to play every instrument on every track. Though I learned during the recording of this record, when you find someone who is an excellent drummer or guitarist it’s in your best interest to trust them and let them bring their expertise to your songs. They can take those songs to a place you never imagined. It is a wonderful opportunity and experience I’m happy I did not pass up.
Do you have any tours out or coming up?
Yes, I have an East coast States tour in the works with another gay artist for this winter, which I’m very excited about. Of course I would LOVE to hit the UK soon. I’ll definitely keep you posted on that! [Please Do!]
On your website you say ‘The lyrics speak to hating friend’s boyfriends, wanting to win every argument [and] secretly sabotaging relationships’. Is your music reflecting the Real Derek Bishop off stage?
Indeed. Every lyric is something I went through or experienced or observed. Im the same fella on stage as I am off. I’m quite positive but that’s often because I have a wonderful outlet with my music. Playing, writing, and singing are all extremely cathartic. It is a great way to exorcise the demons, expunge the bitter, but still reflect on the good. I’ve definitely disliked some of my friend’s boyfriends/girlfriends and wished they’d just vanish. That’s not a positive thought but that ended up inspiring a fun, cute song. Love and relationships are always good source for material but I think it’s more interesting to write a song about the smaller, more precise moments in our lives, like failing miserably at a goal only to later realise it was one of the best things that ever happened to you.
If you had to cover another artists songs who would that be and why?
It would have to be Fleetwood Mac. I’ve been playing their songs on piano since I was 9. I love and grew up with their music. There’s a lot of emotion in those songs, and I think that’s what drew me to their music at an early age. I know nearly every song by heart. Many of their tunes serve as a daily vocal and piano warm up.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
New York City. There’s no other place that feel so much like home and also continually inspires, challenges and impresses me.
Do you have a partner at the moment?
I do indeed. I have a wonderful fella, Ken. We’ve been together for 4 years. He’s there at every show and hears all the songs being written & rehearsed ad nauseam. Thankfully, he’s not sick of any of them yet. [and nor are we!]
Where’s your favourite place to clothes shop?
Ebay. I like to look for unique pieces that no one has. Often at times it’ll be a great vintage find but because you can’t try anything on beforehand, you might end up with something that doesn’t quite fit. When that happens you turn around and sell it. When it works, you can end up with some really great items. My favourite item is a pair of red, white and blue stripped leather pants from the 1960s. They look a little Austin Powers, but they fit great and I’ve never seen them anywhere else.
Are you a boxers or Y-fronts man?
Im more of a boxer briefs kinda fella.
What is the most “rock ‘n’ roll” thing you’ve ever done?
Just getting on the stage and singing, playing, screaming and showing my inner-most emotions to everyone in the audience. I know it’s not as cool sounding as say, trashing a hotel room on tour, but to me music and rock and roll has always been about the passion. It’s electrifying to watch, and nothing can really compare to being a part of it.
Have you ever slept with an audience member?
Well, my boyfriend is usually in the audience… But I don’t think that’s what you meant 😉
Do you have any crazy fans and if so what’s the strangest thing they’ve asked or sent you?
I WISH I had crazy fans. I have wonderful, pleasant, sweet fans and I’m thrilled to have them. I would certainly welcome the crazy, it would keep me on my toes, and probably make for some great song material!
What’s your favourite fruit?
It’s a tie between a pomegranate and Jake Shears!
If you were being beamed into space, what would be the first thing around you to grab?
A piano! (though that might slow down the space travel. It is rather heavy and cumbersome in terms of being a carry-on.)
Can folk buy your album and if so where from?
You can also buy physical copies directly from my website: www.derekbishop.net
We’d like to thank Derek for taking time to chat with us and if you’d like to know more then do visit or follow Derek on his social sites…