In Attitude's 25th anniversary issue - available to download and to order globally now - we're showcasing the boundary-pushing, trailblazing talents who'll be paving the way for the next next 25 years.
Fiorious is the US writer and vocalist whose uncompromising art fuses dance beats with politically-charged lyrics of queer love and defiance.
The Bronx-born musician's latest track 'I'm Not Defeated' is a call-to-resistance club anthem, with a video which captures the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ freedom.
As queer artists continue to break through the the mainstream, he explains why LGBTQ music fans need to keep lifting up their own...
Where did the idea for the track 'I’m Not Defeated' come from?
I was at a really low point, I was dealing with the aftermath of a painful break up and also feeling heartbroken about crimes against LGBT+ people around the world. I was trying to summon my own inner strength and create something to make me feel empowered in the world.
The music video includes clips of LGBTQ trailblazers — who do you feel a particular connection to or admiration for?
I feel connected to so many trailblazers for different reasons. In particular, the words and poetry of Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, and Federico Garcia Lorca, symbols of activism such as Marsha P Johnson, Silvia Rivera, Harvey Milk, and Bayard Rustin, and of course brilliant artists including Sylvester, Frankie Knuckles, and Keith Haring who continue to inspire me.
As a queer person, do you feel that your work is inherently political?
Sure, but even the most commercial pop is grounded in some ideology and value system. Pronouns are political. Omission is political. Ambivalence is political. Sexuality is something that many countries still legislate so sure it’s inherently political. It’s important for me to be intentional and reimagine the boundaries of what it means to be a queer pop artist.
Do you think clubbing and house music go hand in hand with politics and social progress?
Clubs have always been a sanctuary for many in the queer community. It’s a beautiful thing when we can find a space to explore identity without fear or shame.
What do you try to challenge about current queer culture through your work?
I know pop divas will always have their place in our community — historically they’ve spoken up for us and generations have lived vicariously through them. But this all-consuming obsession feels a bit outdated -- it’s time for us to step up and support a broader spectrum of queer artists. I think we’ve started to see that happen with the likes of Christine & The Queens, Kelela, Anohni, Arca, Sophie, Troye Sivan and Frank Ocean. It’s incredibly exciting.
What are your hopes and dreams for the next 25 years?
For LGBTQ folks and all people to feel safe living their truth on a daily basis around the world. Making sure no one gets left behind, that we all move forward together.
What legacy do you hope you have created by then?
Growing into fearlessness is a life-long process but I’m just trying to capture moments of it in my work. I can only hope that something I create can be inspiring and relevant to the next generations. The I’m Not Defeated video is a reminder to me that while we’ve come very far, there’s an important legacy there that must be honoured and continuously pushed forward.
'I’m Not Defeated' is available to stream now.
Meet more queer trailblazers in Attitude's 25th anniversary issue, out now.