Part of what the LGBTQ community has had to do over the decades was co-opt popular music for ourselves when it wasn’t possible for an artist to be open about who they really were.
I’ve loved this gorgeous, poignant cover version of Whitney Houston’s mega hit, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” by popular out singer Matt Alber for years.
Alber’s brilliant reimagining of the tune reflects a universal feeling many young LGBTQs have experienced forever. Let’s face it – how many of us thought we’d never find someone to dance with?
The lyrics really are front and center in this thoughtful take on the song.
From the single release notes: “I grew up listening to Whitney on my Sony Walkman cassette player while wandering my apartment complex in St. Louis. No one knew I was gay, and I spent a lot of time alone singing along to Whitney, and this song in particular.”
“It’s lonely growing up as a teen in the closet and Whitney helped me express the deeply hidden desires of my heart– I wanted to dance with somebody who loved me.”
A portion of the proceeds from the single benefit Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco, an organization directly meeting the needs of homeless LGBTQ youth in the bay area.
I want them to understand the boundlessness of love. There’s a reason the first verse focuses on the straight couple alone — that’s what they are used to seeing. I want straight people to be drawn into a familiar story, one they understand and relate to.
Once there, I want to show them that this exact same story is being lived by the LGBTQ community.
As a gay man, I don’t want special privilege. I just want to love – passionately, fearlessly and completely.
Accidental Bear’s Mike Enders also has a short Q&A about the making of the video and what exactly Mr. Albers wanted us to take away from the musical respite:
AB: What is the story going on in this new video for “Handsome Man?”
Matt Alber: Well, there’s always room for interpretation, but I see this as the story of two guys who find the spark of love the morning after a pivotal sleepover. Maybe they’ve jut been hooking up until now, keeping things casual. But something changes when neither of them wants the morning to end. One of the fellas hides a love-note for the other on the back of a photo-strip, and when the other one finds it… well, it’s ON!
Hit the play button below and enjoy. And check out the full album on iTunes here.
Steven Holden of the New York Times has much praise for the fab out singer/songwriter Matt Alber’s recent concert at Lincoln Center.
Here’s just a bit of the big love:
But it’s the music and Mr. Alber’s singing that make “End of the World” one of the most wrenching ballads to be heard in years. And to hear him perform it on Friday evening at the Kaplan Penthouse as part of Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, was to be transported to beautiful, but scarily treacherous emotional terrain.
This was exquisite folk-pop singing anchored in classical discipline.
Other high points were his sensitive cover versions of Fleetwood Mac’s “Songbird,” and Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love.” Stripped of its dance beats and slowed into an acoustic ballad, the Whitney Houston hit “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” — sung as duet with the guest singer Celisse Henderson — was turned inside out to become a naked a cry of loneliness and longing. Who knew that such depth lay just beneath the surface of that peppy dance hit?
I had a great time watching the LIVE streaming feed of the uber-talented Matt Alber performing live at Lincoln Center last night. The internet is a wonderful thing 🙂
Now you can watch the full concert thanks to Lincoln Center. Click the video below or head over to Lincoln Center’s website.
Matt does original songs, a few covers, and of course his internet viral hits “End of the World” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”
On top of all the talent, Matt is a great guy. He’s very charming thanking the audience again and again for being there and how cool it was to be performing at Lincoln Center in the heart of New York City.
Take a look. He’s terrific. Congrats, Matt, on a great concert.
Matt Alber, who is currently touring his latest solo album, Constant Crows, following a debut at No. 2 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter Chart first teamed up with Saul Ruiz for remixes on the soaringly romantic single “End Of The World” off Alber’s Hide Nothing (Tommy Boy Records) album.
The single was an international chart sensation with a video that went viral, garnering 500k+ views and winning Alber an OUT Music Award.
With Ruiz additionally riding high on worldwide #1 club remix success on singles including “Katy Perry – ET”, “Kelis – 4th of July”, and “Natalia Kills – Mirrors” to name a few, the two quickly decided to collaborate on new projects, with a vision and direction of producing dance covers of iconic female classics.