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Andreas Wijk is a new person after his single ‘if I was gay’

Exclusive: Speaking to Attitude the Swedish singer opens up about growing up in a religious setting, true faith, and what's next.

By Alastair James

Andreas Wijk
Andreas Wijk (Image: Alexander Collin)

In just a few weeks Andreas Wijk has become an entirely new person. “This is where my life starts for real,” he comments in regard to his new single, ‘If I was gay’.

Written at the beginning of October ‘if I was gay’ signifies a new era for the Swedish singer. It represents the long journey Andreas, 29, has been on to get to this point where he can sing honestly. “Everything that I actually speak about in the song is something I’ve been singing about before. But I haven’t said it straight out.”

Since debuting a brief snippet of the song via his TikTok, where his parents were seen hearing it for the first time and reacting, Andreas has been overwhelmed by the love and support he’s felt from fans old and new.

Much like Cat Burn’s ‘Free’, ‘if I was gay’ sees Andreas reflect on his upbringing and his fears of being open and honest about his identity. “If I was gay there would be no friends left and I don’t want that/If I was gay my mum and dad would treat me and I can’t handle that sh*t,” he sings poignantly, touching on the fears many LGBTQ people feel before coming out.

But the song also sees Andreas aspire to feel love, live authentically, and be free. Despite only having released a bit of the song (the full version is available to stream from 11 November) Andreas is surprised at how many people have connected with his words. “I think what touched me the most is that people find every line to be like, ‘oh, that’s my story’. We’re so connected. Even if all LGBTQ people have their own journey, the way we connect, in that way, we all know what it is to take these steps and that’s the most beautiful part because I’ve felt so alone in my journey for my entire life. The love I’ve felt for the past two weeks is bigger than any love I’ve received before.”

Andreas Wijk
Andreas Wijk (Image: Alexander Collin)

Andreas grew up in a Christian household in Stockholm. He and his family are people of faith. Even in Sweden, which legalised same-sex relationships in 1944 and is ranked high on ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Europe map, this presented difficulties when it came to Andreas’ sexuality. Between music and the Church Andreas has been caught in the middle of two conflicting views; one celebrates his identity and the other condemns it.

But at home, Andreas was always told that he was loved by his parents. He came out to them at 15. “At the time, they were like, ‘We love you so much Andreas, but if you’re going to hell for this, we want to help you, because we love you so much.'” Immediately this might be uncomfortable for people reading. But Andreas implores people to try and understand where his parents were coming from as he does. Their words were inspired by their faith and what they’ve been taught to believe, not hate.

“My mom and dad would go to hell for me if they could,” he tells Attitude. “But they weren’t the gay people, I was. So that was the reason for them to do everything in their power to help me to change,” Andreas continues. He and his family started looking at what Andreas calls ‘conversation therapy’. After looking at options his parents told another pastor who came to Andreas’ home to ‘pray the gay away’. Andreas speaks honestly about being afraid as a young man in his early twenties wanting to do right by his faith and wanting to be free of the torment he felt. “Every time he had been to my place I woke up in the morning and was like, ‘am I straight today? Oh no, I’m not straight’. It pushed me even further back because I felt so shameful that I couldn’t be free.”

Cut to 2022 and Andreas’ TikTok shows his parents reacting emotionally to hearing ‘if I was gay’ in the car. Andreas’ Dad, a pastor, is visibly moved by the lyrics and manages to say, “It really feels like you are reflecting your whole life story in this song,” as he embraces his son lovingly. “I’m so happy that that’s the first perspective that people get from them, because of how tough the story actually is,” Andreas says of the moment. He adds, “My parents have gone from a place where they believed in their faith, they thought I was going to hell. And now they definitely don’t. They believe that God loves me and created me.”

Andreas’ dad now works as a prison pastor (“he’s now chilling with the guys who definitely needs him”) Meanwhile, Andreas’ view on faith and religion has changed, “but my faith is stronger than ever,” he notes. “All these years, whenever I thought about God, I felt judged. And now when I think about God, I feel free. I’ve never been happier in my entire life.” Remarkably, Andreas is not bitter about his experience when understandably he would have every right to be. He reasons, “I would call their beliefs a cultural faith. Now I would say what they have is, in my opinion, true faith.”

Sadly, not everyone in Andreas’ life was as loving as his family. Andreas shares he told some friends, also Christians, of his sexuality in 2019 and was effectively cast out of the group. But again, rather than retreat into bitterness, Andreas responded by showing up to a friend’s birthday celebrations he’d been left out of and showering them with love and kindness. Having moved on from those people his faith is stronger than ever now. “I’ve separated all these people from the God thing. And I can actually look at myself as loved.”

In a discussion about how people who preach religion can often manipulate the ideas and lessons in faith to suit their ideas and cast hate on those, they wish to target, Andreas looks over to the United States and the rise of the evangelical right. “It’s crazy,” he surmises.

2019 was the turning point for Andreas with the eventual realisation that he could not get rid of his gay identity. “Homosexuality and being who I am, is who I am,” he states clearly. Since then he’s been on a journey, surrounding himself with new friends, and a lot of introspection. Come to October 2022 and we see the culmination of Andreas’s journey so far. Stepping into the studio with regular collaborator, Carl-Philip Ström, he had one goal in mind: “I’m gonna write the most honest song I’ve ever done.”

Andreas Wijk
Andreas Wijk (Image: Alexander Collin)

The words flowed naturally. “I’ve never been so clear,” he professes. “The first demo and what it sounds like now are basically the same thing. We haven’t even changed anything. It’s like a draft that you’re hearing.” With a gentle piano melody, Andreas’ gentle and delicate voice recalls his younger self and the fears he was gripped by. “I’ve never kissed a boy/Would I like the way it feels?/Picturing his face and I lose a piece of me/Play me all the classic love songs on repeat/None of them talk about what I feel,” Andreas sings, pulling at the heartstrings.

Naturally, after his experiences, Andreas was trepidatious about stepping into the LGBTQ community completely. But his experience has been nothing but positive. “Everything is so much better than I could ever imagine,” he beams. And after pushing away anything to do with the LGBTQ community for so long, Andreas is embracing everything he can. He’s watched Brokeback Mountain but has yet to see Heartstopper. He’s celebrated his first Pride in Stockholm, is surrounding himself with queer people and people who love him for every part of him, and is looking forward to being a new artist.

Andreas shares that ‘if I was gay’ is the song he would have wanted to hear when he was young. It’s the same message he has for others. “You’re loved. You’re perfect just the way you are, and we are in this together. I know exactly what you’re going through, every single thought that you’ve had, every single doubt, all the shame, I felt the exact same thing. We’re in this together. And I hope that the love of my parents and where they were and where they are today will give you some kind of hope that anyone can change.”

On what’s next Andreas isn’t able to reveal much but teases that, “next year is going to be the best year of my life,” and that he has a “life-changing project” on the way, which he promises is “very gay.”

“The future is so beautiful,” he concludes.

‘if I was gay’ is available to stream now.