First, let me start this off with my take on sexuality. This is only my personal view which everyone is entitled to. I believe sexuality is neither black nor white.
I don’t really think for me, personally, I believe in or take to being labelled. I am not bisexual, lesbian, or straight. I am a person who follows my heart. When I fall in love I let myself and will always let myself love who my heart tells me to. Isn’t it pointless to go against it anyway?
So before you go off with a headline saying Sonia Leigh the OUT country music lesbian stop there in your tracks. Let me make this clear, I am not a lesbian, straight nor bisexual musician. My sexuality has no bearing on my vocation. I am simply a musician/singer/songwriter.
I am also a woman who has happened to be deeply in love with women pretty much my whole life. But that is not the platform for my music at all. Yes, I’ve loved a man before and Yes, I’ve slept with men, not that it’s any of your business, but I’m making my point clear that I’ve let myself be myself.
Now, to the subject. I’ve been asked to write about how sexuality affects the Country music industry.
This is a touchy subject for Country music isn’t it? Relax, relax!
The world is changing and it seems to me a lot of older, traditional thinking persons are still in places of power all over the industry. This is changing because well, to be blunt people die. What everyone needs to keep their eye on is the fact that there is a new wave of people in the cigar seat calling shots coming in and that will continue to roll over every decade or so.
Your sons, daughters, and grand children have and are growing up with, going to school with, making best friends with, played sports with, and even gone to church with, people who are not what YOU consider normal.
I don’t hold this view against you; I think it’s about exposure. Of course, traditionalist are afraid of “gay” people or frown upon the different “alternative” lifestyles. The truth is you’ve been raised in an era where these sorts of things were not talked about or WERE talked about negatively. But really as time has passed these lifestyles are no longer alternative.
Bare with me, I am setting up my point. The subject matters and the genre of country music has changed a lot. It’s a big debate amongst the country music scene. We’ve really now formed sub genres in country haven’t we? Way to catch up with every other genre of music! It’s about time! Before we all freak out and go bashing it, why not embrace it? It’s wonderful! it’s music! How blessed we are to have so much music! It’s a gift!
Along with these changes in country music inevitably comes all sorts of artist who live “alternative” life styles (by alternative this means so much more than sexuality, mind you). Either way, whether you know about it or not, these different ways are real and they are there in the country music industry.
A lot of these people are actually are doing quite well for themselves and are out!
They’ve written and sing many of the number one country songs that YOU LOVE! They’ve made remarkable and very respectable names for themselves. So does sexuality affect the country music scene? Yes, but I don’t think it is relevant honestly. I think most people don’t care anymore. It’s no big deal. However, the music industry is a shark with an insatiable hunger.
Everyone always talks about the numbers. So let’s stick to that then if that’s the way you want to play the game. Let the numbers speak. Let the music speak. It shouldn’t matter what ones sexuality is. If the song is good and the artist is genuine and selling records shouldn’t they be played? Of course! Are they? A lot of times NO. The truth is the traditional big wigs in power are still the puppeteers. However, if a light bulb could go off and it clicked that people have to be exposed to things to become accustomed to them we would make some major, much needed progression in Country music.
One day a “gay” person will be your boss, or a major music program director (there are some out there by the way) will be the one calling the shots. Would you want he or she to judge your music because you happen to be married to, in love with or dating someone of the opposite sex? Not at all. That sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Tables turn and maybe I am optimistic in thinking change is coming. I think it’s already here and I am excited to be apart of it. I’m not an activist I’ve never really talked about my sexuality only because I’ve not really been asked.
For the record I don’t feel I’ve ever been directly discriminated against. Maybe I am the “Ellen” of country… Ha! It may be naive of me but if I’ve not been supported because of my sexuality or because I don’t dress sexy enough
(However I get told I’m quite sexy by men and women thank you very much) then that’s left on the conscience of the person who has robbed me of an opportunity I deserved. I don’t think that is something an article will change. BUT maybe it will and maybe that person is reading this and I’ve somehow made them see that the music is what matters. Period. Let’s keep it at that folks!
Having said all of that I am so excited I’ve been able to share my music here in the UK. I’ve called it the #mindthegaptour because I want to bridge all the gaps in music and that goes for UK artist to America and vice versa. Let’s open the doors and let some music in and celebrate life together. That’s what it’s really about in the end. Not numbers, hit records and money it’s about living life to the fullest and connecting with each other while we are given this gift of life!
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Sonia Leigh plays at The Islington tonight Doors open at 7:30pm
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