Out Music: Heather Strange “Ruthless”

Chris Kittrell as ‘Heather Strange’ (photo: Adrian Stucker)

Chris Kittrell’s new solo project Heather Strange debuts with this first track, “Ruthless.”

Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter & artist Chris Kittrell drops the lead music video for his latest project, Heather Strange.

The track, titled “Ruthless,” is produced by Chris Hines and Dave Sitek (who’s previously worked with Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Yeah Yeah Yeahs).

Part EDM with hints of classic Human League, if you’re a fan of The Smiths/Morrissey this will be right up your alley. And let’s face it – who doesn’t like some shiny, pretty things to look at?

Kittrell says the inspiration for the song came to him “at a low point in my life.”

“I had insecurities and doubts about where I was going, and the world around me,” he shares. “It was rough, but I kept holding on and pushing myself forward, creating music and art. Perseverance is so important. If you hold on and put energy into the things you love, life will balance out.”

After years as the frontman for Baby Alpaca, Kittrell is looking forward to the new solo project.

“Heather Strange is my stage name, inspired by the street where I first started writing the music in Cold Water Canyon, Los Angeles,” says the six-foot-five artist. “I like the name because it’s something bigger than me, something I can create and become a character in front of my audience.”

Music critics have gushed about Kittrell’s fearless alt-pop aesthetic for years.

Reviewing his 2016 track “Teenage Wasteland,” Vice’s Kim Taylor Bennett described Kittrell’s sound as “slinky, soulful crooner pop,” and the track “sparklingly beautiful.”

Vogue’s Jacob Brown fell in love with Kittrell’s “hypnotic” voice which “somehow made time itself seem to slow down.”

Check out “Ruthless” and let me know what you think in the comment section.

New Music: Parker Matthews Proves Nobody Is “Running From Me”

Parker Matthews in ‘Running From Me’

Out singer/songwriter Parker Matthews debuts his latest single and music video, “Running From Me.”

I’ve been listening (and watching) the talented musician since he proved he’s definitely no “Hit and Run” last May, and he’s had me “Feelin’ Right” ever since.

In each release, Matthews consistently brings top-shelf production, pop-synth goodness and a hooky chorus with smooth vocal delivery.

Music writers agree:

“An infectious slice of pop music” – Music Is My Radar

“Pop music just might have found its next star in Parker Matthews” – The Musical Hype

“Matthews’ confidence in his sexuality glows onscreen” – Pop Dust

I chatted with the handsome singer about “Running From Me,” the power of confidence and the importance of vibe in a recording session.

The Randy Report: After bouncy upbeat bops like “Hit and Run” and the liquid-sexy “Feelin’ Right,” your new single “Running From Me” is a dance floor banger. Do you plan on switching it up or is just this how the music comes?

Parker Matthews: I think I’ve grown a lot as an artist and had a great time exploring the different sides of who I am, and what I want to write.

This record was a very defining one for me, not only because it’s the first of some amazing new material I have on the way, but also because I wanted to instill a sense on confidence in the listener.

I wrote this record based off a personal story of mine, but I want the listener to realize that they hold the power and the confidence to do whatever they want because with that mentality, nobody’s gonna be running from them.

TRR: You dance in the new music video – is this the first time fans see you bust a move other than some party bouncing in “Hit and Run?”

PM: It was so great! I grew up dancing, and to be able to be on camera doing that was absolutely thrilling. My team and I brought in some incredible dance talent and I will definitely be bringing that vibe onto future records/ videos as well.

TRR: Your lyrics tend to express confidence in yourself. Are you as confident in real life?

PM: You know, it’s interesting… When I’m being the artist side of me as ‘Parker Matthews’ on a shoot or on stage, I am super outgoing and confident. However, when I’m just with my friends, or out for the night, I’m pretty quiet and always kinda stay in the background.

Somebody told me that you’re trying to own me
But I’m never lonely cause ain’t nobody running from me
And don’t say you know how to win over me now
You know that I don’t don’t bow cause ain’t nobody running from me

TR: At this point, do you have a “process” in writing/recording? Or is every project approached differently?

PM: Every record has a general outline of being written and recorded the same way, but at the same time, it’s always a little different. A lot of the time, when writing, I’ll start with the chorus, and build from there.

However, for “Running From Me,” I actually started with the very first line of the record, ‘You make me feel like everybody’s watching me…’ and I sat down and went from there.

When it comes to recording, I am all about the VIBE. Depending on what studio I’m in, I make sure all the candles are lit and we’re going in on that session. Having a good vibe during a recording session really translates to the record, in my opinion.

TRR: Who are you listening to today? Who’s at the top of your playlist?

PM: I’m listening to a little bit of everything right now. If the record speaks to me, I’ll get down with it for sure.

I love pop and dance music, but I also love a good power ballad, much like the record I have coming next (hint hint, wink wink). Thank you and the LGBTQ community for you amazing support!

You can follow Parker Matthews on Instagram here, Facebook here and check out his official website here.

“Running From Me“ is now available on iTunes and all digital download sites.

And you can check out my podcast interview with Parker by clicking the play button below.

News Round-Up: April 17, 2019

InstaHunks Ben Zerbst and Donald Romain took each other to Disneyland for some Hump Day fun. #FutureDILFSofDisneyland
Ben Zerbst and Donald Romain

Some news items you might have missed:

• InstaHunks Ben Zerbst and Donald Romain took each other to Disneyland for some Hump Day fun. #FutureDILFSofDisneyland

• Brunei has defended its punishment of death by stoning for gay sex in a letter to the European Parliament. Under the country’s new law, not only are LGBTQs targeted but adultery garners the same punishment, and thieves and robbers risk amputations.

• Prosecutors plan to seek a sentence of four to 10 months’ jail time for actress Felicity Huffman for her role in the college admissions scandal.

• This year’s Time 100 – the 100 most influential people of 2019 – includes Lady Gaga, Indya Moore, Ryan Murphy, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

• Nevada could soon join the three other states – California, Illinois, and Rhode Island – that ban the ‘gay panic’ or ‘trans panic’ defense in cases of assault or murder.

• Folks were wondering why queer rapper Lizzo performed at Coachella Music Festival this past weekend when it came to light owner Philip Anschutz has given his money to anti-LGBTQ organizations.

Lizzo explained:

“Whether we like it or not most major organizations are run by bigoted millionaires that donate to bigoted organizations. I realize my activism is to disrupt those spaces and spread my message to thousands of ppl.”

“Y’all may not agree w it and that’s ok. But know that I’m doing what I gotta do to make sure my big black ass voice is heard. Can’t wait to dismantle the hate that funds this country… but until then, imma be putting big, black, femme, lgbtq+ bodies on stages and telling our stories.”

Here’s Lizzo’s latest music video “Juice” featuring a whole bunch of RuPaul’s Drag Race queens for added fun. Her new album Cuz I Love You drops Friday.

CONAN: Benjamin Gibbard Covers The Beatle’s “And I Love Him” For “Universal Love” EP

Benjamin Gibbard made an appearance on CONAN recently to promote the new “regendered” love songs album from MGM Resorts, Universal Love.

For the all-star EP (Bob Dylan, Kesha and more) which reimagined pop classics with new gender pronouns suitable for same-sex weddings, Gibbard covered the Beatles’ “And I Love Him.”

Gibbard, who has a lesbian sister, is a long-time LGBT ally.

For more info about the awesome music project, check out my original report here.

Music Video: Kesha “I Need A Woman”

Last week I reported on the new collection of re-gendered songs – Universal Love – recorded by some of the biggest names in the music industry and produced by longtime LGBT ally MGM Resorts.

From the press release:

The album includes boundary-changing songs from some of today’s most-beloved artists. Bob Dylan, one of the most influential and successful recording artists in American history, is among the visionary artists participating in this unprecedented project. Dylan re-recorded “She’s Funny That Way” as “He’s Funny That Way.” The album features five additional stellar artists whose involvement is a testament to the urgency of equality in entertainment: Kesha (“I Need a Woman to Love Me”), St. Vincent (“And Then She Kissed Me”), Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie (“And I Love Him”), Kele Okereke of Bloc Party (“My Guy”), and Valerie June (“Mad About The Girl”).

Phyllis James, MGM Resorts’ Chief Diversity & Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, said, “We believe projects like this will help all of us reach a point where seeing the world through the lens of people who happen to be different from us becomes natural and commonplace. It is an immense honor for MGM Resorts to spearhead this inspirational project which celebrates LGBTQ dimensions of the universal emotion of love.”

Today we get the music video for Kesha’s contribution to the project “I Need a Woman.”

The video was shot on location in my town of Las Vegas at The Bellagio.

The music video not only features Kesha’s take on the song, but she also officiates the wedding of lesbian couple Lindsey and Dani.

The nuptials took place on March 26th, the anniversary of the first U.S. same sex marriage license.

This is pretty awesome. Watch below.

Fischerspooner’s New Music Video “Butterscotch Goddam” From New Album SIR

Queer pop duo Fischerspooner releases their first album in nearly a decade, Sir, today via Ultra Records.

Entirely produced by REM’s lead singer Michael Stipe, the artists say the project presents “a resistant narrative with an overtly queer and celebratory body of work in response to the current atmosphere in America.”

Reviewing the new album, OUT gushes:

The end result is not only the most compelling full-length the group has committed to tape, but a record with overwhelming immediacy. Sir courses with the excitement of a first foray into cruising and spins tales of lust lost and found under the spell of the dance floor, told through songs made precisely for said dance floor. It is a true rarity—even in today’s crowded musical landscape—to find an album that so wholeheartedly celebrates the complexities of the gay male experience—in particular, sex—from one extreme to the other.

In addition to the new album, Fischerspooner releases the gorgeous and evocative music video today for “Butterscotch Goddam,” which was directed by Carlo Van de Roer.

Watch the video below and check out the new album here.