“There’s plenty that I could have put out by now, I just had to make sure that I was absolutely crazy about the music first.”
Jake Shears is a man of confidence, more-so-than-ever now he’s in full control of his forever-camp, forever-wondrous antics. “Most importantly, it had to feel like me.”
He remains equally as honest and declarative over the course of the conversation, possibly aided by being mid-road trip to Las Vegas for an Elton John show (where else?) at the time. Now five years down the line from the last Scissor Sisters’ full-length record, Shears is gearing up to go it alone with his most personal, rewarding and “truly, the best music I’ve ever made.” Having earnt his status as gay teen role model and LGBTQ+ activist racking up over 15 years with the band, he’s now going for gold on the condition it’s entirely on his own terms.
The first taste, Creep City, arrived alongside a self-penned letter to friends and family detailing a “reassessment” of surrounding and the inevitable impact of a locational change on his creative output from “taking a couple of years trying to find friends and trying to fit in.”
“Moving from New York to L.A was already pretty tough on me,” he urges. “That’s where I decided that I needed a new change so I made the decision to move to New Orleans one day and go.” Such spontaneous decision making tends to be reserved for those within a fictional rom-com setting, ultimately paying off with the return of music worthy of self-approval. “Once I got there, the good music just seemed to start coming. That was a crucial turning point.”
The move, both geographically and artistically, would erase any worries of a solo outing falling below-par (“I found the notion a little cheesy,” he’s recently stated) and assisted in creating music that he can simply “have a great fucking time with.”
Sonically, we’re not too far a throw from his past efforts with Scissor Sisters, channelling the glam-rock of the quartet’s first few releases into theatrical, grooving cabaret. Even the track’s title makes a connection to the Sisters’ legacy of portraying the fantastical, elusive world of LGBTQ+ culture and nightlife in an, often, frank and honest light like four leaders of a great big, queer world. Let it be known though, that Shears is more than capable of reigning alone.
“I got to call the shots on everything which was an incredibly liberating feeling,” he insists. “Being in a band means writing material that all members can relate to and it’s quite fun to not have to do that now. There’s an honesty with these songs that comes from not having to filter anything through three other band members,” allowing the music to cross boundaries unseen from Shears and welcoming “my own unique style and sound to be solidified.”
Those of a certain age group can likely credit the foursome’s back catalogue as a queer coming-of-age eye-opener whilst this year’s one-off single SWERLK, released conjointly with GLAAD, saw profits benefited to non-profit LGBTQ+ charities. As he now gears up for his Broadway debut in Kinky Boots next year, this aspect of Shears’ being remains, unsurprisingly, unchanged.
“My hope is that the music finds the people who need it,” he urges, speaking of his imminent record with “the potential to mean something to people which my audience can relate to” and connect with just as prior. “That’s the wonderful thing about music.” Truly, the King of the Creeps; the man has for sure earnt his crown.
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