Despite only having one release under his belt, British singer Paul Usher is already making waves in the music world. His debut single ‘Jesus is a Preston Boy’ was immediately met with critical acclaim and just whets the appetite for what else is to come.
To show us that he’s much more than just a pretty face, Paul Usher has released a stripped-down performance of the track. Accompanied by only a piano, it turns the soulful, uplifting track into an acoustic wonder.
To coincide with the release of the video, we caught up with the singer to find out how he’s been enjoying the reaction to his debut and why embracing his queerness has been an important step in his career.
Hey Paul! First of all, how has the response been like since the release of ‘Jesus is a Preston Boy’?
It’s been wonderful! I’ve been lucky enough to have had great support from LGBT blogs, such as QWEERIST and Attitude magazine, which has been so rewarding to see it embraced by the community.
It’s also been great to see non-LGBT people loving the track and not remarking on the fact that it’s a queer pop song but simply loving it for its melody and cheeky lyrics. It shows that the mainstream is ready for queer art!
You’ve filmed an acoustic performance of your latest track. If you were to appear on BBC Radio’s Live Lounge, what cover track would you love to perform?
Oh, I adore the Live Lounge! I think we have all fantasised about what songs we’d cover on there, haven’t we? I think I’d choose an Amy Winehouse track because I think she is phenomenal.
‘Tears Dry On Their Own’ has some beautiful lyrics which have the potential to go under-appreciated due to the up-tempo nature of the track, so I’d probably do a piano version of that.
Acts like Troye Sivan and Hayley Kiyoko are showing that being openly queer can still lead to a successful music career. How do you feel being part of (what feels like) a rising music scene of queer acceptance?
It’s incredibly exciting! Queer art has always been a niche and the tide is finally turning. Ironically, queerness has always been present in pop culture but largely as an influence or a reference point by straight artists.
It’s liberating for openly queer music to now be owned and performed by LGBT artists and to have it not just ‘accepted’ but loved by the mainstream. I am standing on the shoulders of giants though. I have to thank the generations prior to mine for fighting for equality and enabling me to live the life I am. However, I do believe we have to stay strong.
Prior to the release of ‘Jesus Is A Preston Boy’, I did have advice given to me, from certain parts of the industry, to be wary of releasing a song that was so outwardly gay.
Jesus Is a Preston Boy, a song by Paul Usher on Spotify
Can you share a random fact about yourself? Any unexpected party tricks?
I have two extra ribs….and they are in my neck! I know that makes me sound like I’m part of the X-Men, but it’s true – they’re just near my collar bone. I’m hoping one day to discover they have given me superpowers and I will be called in to help The Avengers.
What’s next for you in 2019? Where can we see you in the future?
2019 is looking to be a brilliant year. I have my second single coming out in March, I am shooting the video in a couple of weeks. I have just finished recording the third single (which is a banger!) too. I will be playing live a lot, I’m also in discussion to support some big artists as well so if that comes off it will be heaven.
All in all, lots more music, videos, gigs, festivals. Will you come along for the ride with me?