The Shapeshifters Featuring Billy Porter – ‘Finally Ready’

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Billy Porter debuts on Glitterbox with this empowering anthem, produced by The Shapeshifters. A label debut for the Grammy, Tony and Emmy Award-winning singer, actor, director, composer and playwright, ‘Finally Ready’ will be released digitally during Pride month, on Friday 26 June.

As a gay man coming out in 1985 in the middle of a plague, love was not an option, love was transient, love was what other people had. Because if you allowed yourself to be vulnerable enough to be in love that person could be dead in a matter of weeks. So we cut ourselves off from that unconsciously ….. I’m ready. I’m finally ready. To experience what real love is.

Billy Porter

The message behind the music is that no matter where you come from, on the dancefloor there’s acceptance and hope. Co-written by Billy, ‘Finally Ready’ is a declaration of Pride, of breaking free from past traumas to take a chance on love. Motivated by his personal journey through the AIDs crisis and the emotional scars that left him with

‘Finally Ready’ hits on so many levels for me. First, being ‘finally ready’ to experience what real love is. And thankfully, I have somebody who loves me enough to love me through trauma, to be present, and allow me to grow, into this. I’m also ‘finally ready’ to be who I am, who I’ve always been. It has been a rough road, I’ve been through so many changes, but I always kept the faith and now I’m here. And lastly, I’ve made a lot of different kinds of music – R&B, show tunes, ballads. But it should come as no surprise to anyone at all that disco is in my blood! I love to feel sparkly and have that light shine back into the audience. So, yes, I am ‘finally ready’ to make a classic disco record. And I am so very lucky and blessed to be working with the best in the business, Defected, Glitterbox, and The Shapeshifters. Now, let’s dance!”

Billy Porter

The Shapeshifters’ Simon’s dedication to his craft has resulted in singles that could stand up alongside golden era disco records as much as they sound fresh on dancefloors today. His relationship with Glitterbox has previously yielded tracks like ‘Try My Love’ and ‘Life Is A Dancefloor’, tracks that lyrically and musically epitomise the label’s ethos, preserving disco’s mission to uplift and empower.

The Shapeshifters’ cinematic strings and live horns give a suitably theatrical backdrop to Billy’s voice. Crafted and brimming with emotion, the joyful message of ‘Finally Ready’ rings true through Billy’s lyrics, aiming to create dancefloor moments for years to come.

The Shapeshifters & Billy Porter deliver a future classic…  ‘Finally Ready’ is out now on Glitterbox Recordings.

 

 

 

 

Love Me Like You Should

Disco icon Sylvester may best be known for the international hit singles ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’, ‘Dance (Disco Heat)’, ‘Do You Wanna Funk’ and ‘Menergy’, but the recording artist’s groundbreaking career also furthered queer visibility in popular culture. Leaving a legacy that continues to influence today’s pop music.

Through the compelling new documentary ‘Love Me Like You Should: The Brave and Bold Sylvester’, produced for Pride 2020 by Amazon Music in collaboration with filmmaker Lauren Tabak and writer/consulting producer Barry Walters. The short documentary details the life and times of Sylvester James Jr., known mononymously as Sylvester.

When I saw Sylvester, my life was altered, my life was changed for the better. As a Black queer gay man, any glimmer of seeing oneself reflected back at them, through our culture, changes lives.

Billy Porter

The legacy of a musician who set new precedent for genderqueer, gay and black entertainers has been revisited the new mini-documentary. Sylvester’s story comes to life once more and the true extent of his impact – inside and out of the music industry – is explored.

It is a compilation of archival footage, as well as rare performance clips, charting Sylvester’s rise from Los Angeles choir boy to glam 1970s hit-maker. Starting with his birth in South Central Los Angeles, it charts the course of his move to San Fransisco’s Castro District and later breakthrough as a singer/songwriter.

He crossed over, he was a genderfluid Black man in mainstream music. That hasn’t happened since. There’s been a lot of us who have tried – and I’ve been trying for 30 years – nobody did it like Sylvester.

Billy Porter

While the significant influence of black culture on mainstream music extends back at least a century, James was among the first non-binary artists to achieve superstardom. As pointed out in the documentary, he championed gender fluidity years before it would be called that through his unapologetic style and demeanor.

The filmmakers also incorporate interviews with Sylvester’s sister Bernadette Baldwin, singer, actor and activist Billy Porter as well as collaborators like musician Peter Mintun, producer/songwriter James ‘Tip’ Wirrick, former background singer Martha Wash (Two Tons of Fun/Weather Girls), and Sylvester biographer Josh Gamson.

Sylvester was always ahead of us. He did things like talk about being married to a man before gay marriage was a thought. He responded to Joan Rivers saying that he was this drag queen by saying, ‘But I’m not a drag queen, I’m Sylvester.’ He wasn’t saying there’s something wrong with being a drag queen, he was saying that’s not how gender works. It was gender fluidity and nonbinary gender before we were really there.

Josh Gamson

In addition to interviews, and with his version of ‘God Bless The Child’ on the bacjground, – its is musical treasure! The kind of music he loved more then disco! – the 15-minute doc shows rare archival footage of Sylvester, including performances at The Stud, the historic San Francisco gay bar that recently shuttered. It also depicts how a 1979 show at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House was a healing, joyous moment for the city in the wake of the assassination of gay politician Harvey Milk.

Sylvester died at the age of 41 on December 16th, 1988 after a long battle of an AIDS-related illness. He had attended the San Francisco Pride parade in a wheelchair shortly before passing on to show solidarity even in his final years. His legacy, however, continues to live on…..

Watch the 15-minute documentary:

Amazon has also curated a playlist called Pride History on which ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’ is an entry.

Want to read the whole story of Sylvester? Use the ‘Sylvester’ tag….