On September 18, Bright Light Bright Light (the performance alias of Welsh international pop star Rod Thomas) will open the gates to Fun City, his meticulously crafted collection of ’80s-inspired disco-pop that he built as a statement of perseverance during restless times. To be released on his own label YSKWN! (in partnership with Megaforce Records and The Orchard) and to include collaborations with a yet-to-be-announced “who’s who” of LGBTQ+ icons and musical trailblazers, Fun City is his love letter to marginalized communities who feel scared or forgotten.
To celebrate the album announce, he has dropped first single “This Was My House,” a sugar-rush of dancefloor pop featuring Madonna’s longtime backing vocalist duo Niki Haris and Donna De Lory. The song was produced by Initial Talk who has been delighting throwback production fans with his recent reimaginings of Dua Lipa, Janet Jackson and many other pop artists. Originally written as an banner-waving ode to LGBTQ+ safe spaces, the song should ring universally true to individuals worldwide who are struggling to find peace and refuge during the current political climate and public health situation. Paper Magazine praised the “Studio 54-worthy single” saying “it’s not every day that we get a perfect disco song.”
“The song is about how the safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community have been fractured of late with a palpable uprising of anti-LGBTQ+ and xenophobic rhetoric, which is scarily even more real now as these public spaces are closed for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bright Light Bright Light about the origins and evolution of the track. “LGBTQ+ people – most notably trans women – are attacked and killed at an alarming rate, and so this song is a fierce statement that every living person deserves to feel safe in the place they call home, whoever you may be.”
Stream This Was My House https://orcd.co/thiswasmyhouse
While creating Fun City, Bright Light Bright Light was sonically inspired by the legacy of iconic LGBTQ+ artists like Sylvester, Erasure, Scissor Sisters and Hercules & Love Affair, and to capture the spirit of the queer trailblazers before him, he recorded the vocals for the album on the empty dancefloor of East Village gay club Bedlam. He hopes Fun City will examine the ways marginalized people stay strong, focused and creative through times of social and political hardships. The album title itself is a historical reference to a quote said by NYC mayor John V. Lindsay who on his first day in office in 1966, amidst a crippling transit strike, said “I still think it’s a fun city.”
“The idea of a deeply flawed but still beautiful world is what the album is about, so I thought it was a fitting image for how the LGBTQ+ world has had to find laughter and solidarity in face of prejudice through history, dancing through pain and living for love in spite of hate,” said Bright Light Bright Light.
Bright Light Bright Light has been a staple of the international LGBTQ+ music scene for over ten years, having released three prior albums and touring as both a solo artist and has support alongside pop royalty like Elton John, Cher, Erasure, Ellie Goulding and The Scissor Sisters. He also collaborated with Elton on his 2016 banger “All In The Name” which he also performed with the music legend on “The Graham Norton Show.”
For the past four years he has curated, hosted and served as the DJ for regular afternoon dance parties (which he affectionately calls the “Romy & Michele’s Saturday Afternoon Tea Dance”) at Manhattan’s Club Cumming and Brooklyn’s C’Mon Everybody. Aside from using his music as a powerful platform for equality, he has also actively fundraised for The Trevor Project, Ali Forney Center, Hetrick-Martin Institute, ACLU, and Elton John AIDS Foundation over the years.