Words: Steve Brown
Gabe Lopez has opened up about being an openly gay artist ahead of the release of his new album 'God Bless the Queens'.
For those who haven't heard his name before, Lopez is an American pop-rock singer/songwriter and producer. Signed to Spectra Music Group as an artist and Universal Music Group as a songwriter, Lopez has produced and written for the likes of Belinda Carlisle, New Kids on the Block, James Brown, Krayzie Bone, Shinee, Super Junior, Tae Yang, Charice as well as for TV and film.
Now, Lopez is releasing his own music with his official video for his single 'Lasso' showing a push and pull relationship between two men and two women.
Lopez sat down with Attitude to discuss inspiration for his latest single and how the LGBT community has helped with his career.
Your new single ‘Lasso’ is out now. Where did you get inspiration for this song?
I was trying to think of a way to describe being in a relationship where you feel like you’re stuck without having a way to escape and I saw a Wonder Woman preview. I’m a huge Wonder Woman fan. I thought, 'Lasso! That’s it!' and then built the song around that concept.
The video follows a push and pull relationship between two men and two women. Why did you want to shoot this video this way?
My good pal Patrick Broderick directed the video. I have to give him full credit for the concept. He had the idea to have the two women dancing with the rope and being figuratively and literally entangled - and how Kate Coleman choreographed that still blows me away.
She and Megan Merry are amazing. Patrick also had the idea to shoot at one of the Westworld locations outside of LA.
Two of my best friends, Blake English and Lucas Dell, played the two gents who drive in a symbolically empty valley. Their tension also highlights the push and pull of a relationship.
The DP Brookes Treidler and AC Blake Chang were so skillful in capturing the action and the drone shots, and Austin Burk was so slick with editing it all together. I have to thank Two Seas Media for putting together such a great team - all of them either LGBT or LGBT supporters.
You are working on Belinda Carlisle’s full album, how has the experience been working with her?
I absolutely love working with Belinda every time! She is so genuine, generous and funny. She’s so fast in the studio, and she has a knack for writing melodies and harmonies.
And she has been so incredibly supportive of me as an artist, songwriter and producer. I love opening for her on her US and UK tours. She’s become a really good friend.
She’s featured prominently on my song “California Blues.” And we share a passion for strong coffee, dark chocolate and Larry David.
How did you meet each other?
Her son James Duke Mason knew of my music when they still lived in the south of France. We became pals when he moved to LA and then I had a couple songs that I thought would be good for Belinda.
Duke passed Belinda the songs. She and Jane Wiedlin reworked lyrics on one of the songs. Belinda wanted to meet to try the song out acoustically - the mark of a pro.
We vibed so well right away. We’ve been on the same page since day one. She has been a big influence on me ever since I first became passionate about music, so it’s been amazing to work with one of my inspirations.
You identify as gay, do you use your sexuality to help with your music?
I try to use all parts of me to write and communicate my songs. I try to paint with as many colors as I can - love, lust, heartbreak, sexuality, regret, confusion... and I think those themes are universal.
Were you ever forced to hide your sexuality to help with your career?
There were people who advised me to not be out - various A&R, bigwigs, etc. - , but I feel that music is how I communicate the most sincerely and, therefore, it has to be honest and pure.
It must be. I’m sure I would’ve been offered a record deal sooner had I been closeted, but that portrayal wouldn’t have been fair to me, to the audience, and especially to the music.
I had to be me. I HAD to be a part of the NOH8 Campaign by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley. I was the 16th person to take a photo for it. I did it at the very beginning before it caught on.
It wasn’t trendy yet - it was my truth. And now I’m happy to have just signed with Spectra Music Group for my new album 'God Bless The Queens'. They support me for who I am.
How has the LGBT community helped with your music?
The community has been supportive from the very beginning. A lot of my first shows were on the Sunset Strip here in LA. Some friends or fans would be nervous about attending a show in that scene and would ask, 'Is the Roxy a gay venue?', 'Tonight it is!' I’d say. Haha. Half of the audience is gay, the other half is gay-friendly.
We are sort of in a queer movement in the music industry with the likes of Olly Alexander, Troye Sivan and Hayley Kyoko, is this something you ever thought would happen?
It’s all so wonderful! How awesome is that? The arts are usually ahead when it comes to forward-thinking. We have a lot of people to thank for opening doors and breaking down walls. We owe a lot to George Michael, Elton, Ellen, Melissa Etheridge, kd lang, and advocates like Madonna, Cher, Belinda Carlisle, Cyndi Lauper and the B-52s.
It’s because of their voices that there can be the current queer movement. I had always hoped it would be easier for out artists to be so visible and accepted.
Speaking of Olly Alexander - I love his voice. I’m going to see Years & Years a few nights from now. And Troye - love that sweet guy. My friend Leland is his co-writer. I think “My, My, My” is one of the best songs out this year.
Will there ever be a time where someone’s sexuality won’t be an issue in whatever career they chose?
I certainly hope so. We are a ways off I think, though. We need to keep pushing ahead, keep uniting and keep rallying. Strength in numbers, momentum in enlightenment.
Do you think there are still artists who are being forced to hide their sexuality?
Yes, most definitely. Artists, actors, agents and people in every field. I do think we’re moving faster and faster toward a more open and safe environment. I really do have faith in humanity. I have hope.
Watch the video for 'Lasso' below: