Tag Archives: music

Manchester Pride Preview: Who we’re looking forward to seeing

Manchester Pride is just around the corner once again and there are some great artists who will be gracing either the main stage, Sackville Boutique stage or Gaydio Dance Arena. Here’s a few of our must-sees!

10. Kelly Wilde

Kelly is no stranger to Manchester Pride, having performed several times before and is a very popular act on the gay circuit. As well as some of her songs like “Gloria” and “Maria”, she is known for including covers of classics such as “Holding Out For A Hero” and “(I’ve Had The) Time Of My Life” in her live sets, which you can watch from when she was at Manchester Pride in 2012 below:

9.Jade Ellis

Jade was a finalist on the 9th series of The X Factor in 2012 and was mentored by Tulisa (who will also be performing at Manchester Pride). She has a daughter who she raises with her girlfriend and received a lot of positive reactions when she was very open and candid about her sexuality. Here is one of her best performances from the show:

8. Katy B

Katy has spawned a handful of top 20 hits on the UK singles chart and her debut and sophomore albums reached No.2 and No.1 respectively on the album charts. Over a few short years she has already got to collaborate with some big names, including Miss Dynamite, Craig David, Tinie Tempah and Mark Ronson.

7. Jordan Gray

Jordan certainly made a big impression when she enchanted coaches and the public on series 5 of The Voice earlier this year as the show’s first transgender contestant. We are very interested to see how she progresses as an artist in the future.

6. Sophie Ellis-Bextor

A veteran to the pop-dance and nu-disco music scene, Sophie is probably the biggest global name on this year’s bill with 3 top 10 albums and 6 top 10 singles on the UK music charts and several entries on Australia and many European countries’ charts too. She has a new album out in September called “Familia” but here is her most famous hit, “Murder On The Dancefloor”:

5. Frankmusik

Vincent James Turner – a.k.a. Frankmusik – is one of Britain’s top synth pop artists who has been an ally of the LGBT community for many years and will be performing at Manchester Pride this year.

4. Will Young

One of the biggest names to come from any of the UK’s reality TV competitions and one of the UK’s biggest gay celebrities, Will Young has come a long from when he won Pop Idol in 2002. All six of his albums have reached No.1 or 2 on the UK albums chart and 11 of singles charted in the top 10 – four of which went to No.1. This will be his first time performing at Manchester Pride. Below is our favourite song of his. “Switch It On”, in which he channeled Top Gun in the video:

3. Groove Armada

Arguably one of the UK’s best dance acts of all time, Groove Armada will be rocking the Gaydio Dance Arena on the Saturday. Here is one of their most famous worldwide hits, “I See You Baby”:


MNEK may only be 21 years old but the openly gay singer-songwriter and producer has already been nominated for a Grammy and worked with some huge names, including Beyonce, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Naughty Boy, Bastille, Little Mix and JoJo. This will be his debut performance at Manchester Pride. Listen below to “Never Forget You”, which was a top 5 hit:

1. Heather Small

Heather Small is THE voice of dance act M People. It’s been almost a decade since she last performed at Manchester Pride and we’re glad to see this gay icon return to the city where M People originated. With one of the most distinctively soulful voices the UK has ever heard, Heather is a legendary force to be reckoned with.

Check out the full list so far of who is set to perform here. Who are you looking forward to seeing most this weekend? Let us know!

Gay Homestays’ top 14 favourite but obscure LGBT musicians

If we were to ask you to name some of the world’s most popular out LGBT musicians, the first names that would pop into your head would probably be the likes of Freddie Mercury, Elton John, George Michael, Adam Lambert, Ricky Martin, Melissa Etheridge, k.d. lang, Tegan & Sara, Jessie J and Lady Gaga, right? But what about the lesser-known artists or those who have kept their sexuality more private and under the radar? Here are some of Gay Homestays’ favourite LGBT musicians who are perhaps not as famous for their sexuality as they are for their careers or discographies that we think you should take a listen to:

Bessie Smith

“Empress of the Blues” Bessie Smith was married but both she and her husband were known to have affairs – and she allegedly did so with both men and women. However, she never publicly announced her sexuality but bear in mind this was during a time when such ideas about LGBT people – particularly from the black community – were not condoned.

Dusty Springfield


Soul and blues singer Dusty Springfield helped change the face (and sound) of these genres as one of few white artists to record this kind of music, especially being British and female. She was openly bisexual, a risk she took at the time when LGBT people in the media and in the public eye were frowned upon.


Though married to handsome actor Josh Duhamel and being a Catholic who says she attends church regularly, Black Eyed Peas singer and rapper Fergie came out as bisexual in 2009.

Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean’s statement of having once been in love with a man was a landmark in the history of hip hop music, being the first out LGBT person from this industry – or at least the first to admit he has been in love with a person of the same sex (even though he says it was unrequited).

Janis Joplin

Soulful rocker Janis Joplin was known to have dated both men and women even though she never officially came out as bisexual. Joplin was one of the most influential female soul, blues and rock artists of all time.

Johnny Mathis


In 1982, legendary crooner Johnny Mathis allegedly came out as gay saying “homosexuality is a way of life that I’ve grown accustomed to” though this statement was later retracted. Since then he has rarely talked about the subject but has said he had to stop due to death threats and so has kept his personal life as hidden as possible from the public eye.

Kele Okereke

Lead singer of British indie rock band Bloc Party Kele Okereke came out as gay in 2010 but has not discussed his sexuality or private life much since then, admitting he is extremely shy and dislikes being interviewed.

Ma Rainey

Like Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey – “the Mother of the Blues” – was involved with women during a hard time for LGBT people, but unlike Bessie, Ma was unafraid of making sure people knew about it in her songs.

Patrick Wolf

English singer-songwriter Patrick Wolf is openly gay and well-known among the British LGBT community, but outside of it and the UK he seems to have yet received credit we believe he deserves. Since his début in 2003 he has released six critically-acclaimed albums.

Queen LAtifah


Though she is not officially out, rumours always seemed to have pointed to actress, singer, rapper and TV personality Queen Latifah as a lesbian so we believe she deserves a place on this list. Latifah was one of the biggest and most influential female rappers of the late 80s and throughout the 90s but has proven to be multi-talented as a singer and actress as well – as she showed us in “Chicago” as Matron “Mama” Morton.

Sam Sparro

Another well-known name among the LGBT community, Australian artist Sam Sparro has been praised by critics but has not yet hit the big time on a mainstream level, though his first single “Black and Gold” did peak at No.2 in the UK.

Steve Grand

American country-pop singer-songwriter and former model Steve Grand hit headlines in 2013 when his song “All-American Boy” went viral on YouTube. It is an autobiographical song that immediately cemented him as the music industry’s potentially next big openly gay star, despite not being signed to a label. He has since released two more singles and has been raising money via public donations to record his début album.



Dubbed as an “honorary” Queen of Disco in the 1970s, Sylvester enjoyed a successful career in the US on the dance charts throughout the disco era and through to the 80s, and his flamboyant nature and outrageous outfits certainly fitted well with the genre. He was famously out and proud but is perhaps a little less well-known compared to many other “disco divas” or other LGBT musicians who were around at the time.

Tracy Chapman

Like Queen Latifah, Tracy Chapman’s sexuality has never been confirmed but the singer-songwriter did openly date writer Alice Walker in the 90s, though details of her private life since then have not been in the spotlight.

Gay Homestays’ Top 10 Halloween songs

So, it’s that ghoulish time of the year again – 31st October, a.k.a. All Hallow’s Eve (or Halloween) so we thought we’d compile a list of our top favourite 10 Halloween songs or songs that remind us of this fun annual event and are some of the most popular you’d hear at a Halloween party. Some of the songs are perhaps quite predictable (yet still classic!) but we’ve also included a few of them which you probably wouldn’t have thought of off the top of your heads. Check them out below and let us know what you think of our list:


10) “Better The Devil You Know” by Kylie Minogue

This is obviously not a Halloween song but we thought we’d add Kylie to this list as we’re sure the gay community will approve of this Queen of Pop being mentioned just for the song’s apt title!

9) “Voodoo People” by The Prodigy

The Prodigy were well-known for their crazy songs and videos that resembled “trippy” visions or even nightmares and “Voodoo People” is a great example of this and probably one of the lesser-known Halloween songs people could think of.

8) “Bat Out Of Hell” by Meat Loaf

“Bat Out Of Hell” may actually be a song about love but much of the lyrics, the composition of the song itself and the video are very much Halloween-themed.

7) “Highway To Hell” by AC/DC

Another song that isn’t related to Halloween – “Highway To Hell” apparently reflects AC/DC’s gruelling touring schedules – but the heavy rock genre sound and lyrics could resemble this annual festival.

6) “Monster Mash” by Bobby Boris Pickett

A firm holiday favourite that surely needs no more introduction as one of the most popular Halloween songs of all time?

5) “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.

Taken from the blockbuster film of the same name, “Ghostbusters” is another of the most famous Halloween songs ever that we couldn’t not add to this list.

4) “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell/Beatfreakz

Originally released in early 1984, a couple of months after Michael Jackson’s smash hit “Thriller” (MJ also provides backing vocals on this song), “Somebody’s Watching Me” managed to cement itself as a timeless Halloween song. The Beatfreakz version – which samples the chorus – was also popular when released in 2006 and the video pays homage to Michael’s “Thriller”.

3) “The Time Warp” from “The Rocky Horror Show”

We don’t think this iconic Halloween-themed song from one of the most iconic Halloween films of all time needs more of a reason or description as to why we’ve added to our list, do you? Though, we wish we could have included more than just this one…

2) “Thriller” by Michael Jackson

Perhaps one of the most well-known Michael Jackson and Halloween songs ever, “Thriller”‘s lyrics, composition and music video were like that of a short Halloween horror film and nearly always tops every list of top Halloween songs. However, while it’s great, we’ve put it at No.2 – just to be different…

1) “I Put A Spell On You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins/Nina Simone/Bette Midler in “Hocus Pocus”

Originally written and performed by rhythm and blues musician Screamin’ Jay Hawkins in 1956, “I Put A Spell On You” has been named one of the most iconic and inspirational songs to shape rock ‘n’ roll and soul music. It has since been covered by numerous other artists, most notably jazz legend Nina Simone in 1965 and Bette Midler’s comical yet equally brilliant version from the film “Hocus Pocus” in 1993.

Do you like or agree with our list? What songs do you think should have made the cut? Let us know in the comments section below!

Top 10 singles from 10 Mariah Carey albums

Today marks the 20th anniversary since the release of one of Mariah Carey’s biggest singles (well, one of her many hit singles), “Dreamlover”, taken from her most successful album, Music Box. The song became her 7th Number One single (of her overall 18 chart-toppers) in the US and the album has sold an astounding 30 million copies worldwide. Mariah is still one of the world’s top-selling artists of all time, especially for a female, with an estimated 250 million records sold, so what better way to celebrate her achievements and this landmark date as well as to anticipate the release of her upcoming fourteenth studio album, Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse, with a rundown of 10 of her best singles from 10 of her albums – one for each? Albums not included in this are her two Christmas albums, the soundtrack to the film Glitter and her as of yet unreleased album.

Mariah Carey

“Vision of Love” from Mariah Carey

Her début single, “Vision of Love” immediately secured Mariah her first of many hits and put her on the map as a vocal force to be reckoned with.

“Make It Happen” from Emotions

A tale about her past that tells us of her trying to scrape money together to record a demo, this is Mariah’s “rags to riches” story that is full of gospel gusto.

“Hero” from Music Box

Probably arguably her most popular song to date, “Hero” remains as one of Mariah’s signature songs and is one of the most covered songs of all time on talent shows.

“Fantasy” from Daydream

One of her first forays into full-on R&B music and hip-hop, “Fantasy” helped Mariah shift into the urban music scene with ease.

“My All” from Butterfly

Connecting with her Latin/Hispanic roots, “My All” was a musical masterpiece that had influences of Latin music, used Latin/Spanish instruments and further showed Mariah’s versatility.

“Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” from Rainbow

Mariah released two versions of this Phil Collins classic – a solo version and a duet with Irish boy band Westlife, which was more successful (particularly in the UK) than the first one, giving her her second No.1 single in Britain.

“Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” from Charmbracelet

“Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” is another cover by Mariah, this time of the song by rock band Def Leppard. This remains one of Mariah’s best covers and one of her first and rare songs that has a rock element to it.

“We Belong Together” from The Emancipation of Mimi

After a shaky few years, “We Belong Together” – a huge torch ballad of a song that was the second single from this album – saw Mariah back in top form and on top of the charts once more and almost beat her own record of the longest-running Number One on Billboard. It also earned Mimi her fifth and sixth Grammy awards.

“I’ll Be Lovin’ U Long Time” from E=MC²

After many years of sticking to R&B and hip-hop, “I’ll Be Lovin’ U Long Time” hinted at more pop and soul elements, which Mariah first started off with at the beginning of her career and has been seen by many as a standout track from this album.

“I Want to Know What Love Is” from Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel

Another cover of a rock ballad, Mariah’s version of “I Want To Know What Love Is” adds more gospel influences to the song and dispelled rumours of her voice having suffered a huge decline.

What are your favourite Mariah Carey singles? Let us know in the comments section below!

Cher’s Top 6 Hits: 6 Decades of Cher

Cher is undoubtedly the ultimate gay icon and a legend. Having sold an estimated 150 million records worldwide as a solo artist and as a duo with then-husband Sonny and having been around since the mid-1960’s, she’s the definition of longevity. Now she’s back on the scene again with her 26th solo studio album and first since 2001 – entitled Closer To The Truth – due for release in September, and recently officially released its first single, “Woman’s World” – a female-empowering club anthem. So to mark this glorious occasion and return of this magnificent Queen of Pop, we have listed Cher’s six biggest and best hits (well, our favourites really) from her record-breaking six decades in the music business – one from each decade. Check them out below:


1960’s – Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)

Her third solo single and the second from her second album The Sonny Side of Chér, “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” became Cher’s first major worldwide hit in 1966. It has been covered many a time by other artists, the most famous being Nancy Sinatra’s version in the same year. Nancy’s father Frank also covered it, as well as Stevie Wonder, among others.

Cher’s other hits in this decade include début single “All I Really Want To Do”, and her version of “Alfie” for the US release of the film of the same name, as well as of course “I Got You Babe” with Sonny.

1970’s – Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves

“Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves” became Cher’s first solo Number One hit in the US when it was released in 1971 and is still one of her signature hits four decades later, as well as still being one of her biggest-selling to date.

The 70’s saw more hits for Cher, such as “The Way Of Love”, “Half-Breed” and Dark Lady”.

1980’s – If I Could Turn Back Time

The music video for “If I Could Turn Back Time” cemented Cher as a classic gay icon, with a huge wig (which from then on she soon became well-known for wearing a variety of them) and controversial, wacky and revealing outfit (which inspired the likes of Christina Aguilera to wear a similar get-up in her “Dirrty” video) as well as a ship full of sailors. It was her first major global hit in about 15 years.

Her other big singles during the 90s include “Dead Ringer For Love” with rock star Meat Loaf and “I Found Someone”.

1990’s – Believe

The 90’s was Cher’s most successful decade as an artist – she racked up a string of hits, including “Just Like Jesse James”, “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss)”, “Love And Understanding”, her gospel-tinged version of Marc Cohn’s “Walking In Memphis”, “Strong Enough” and the big ballad “All Or Nothing” (proving she really had a good set of pipes on her).

However, it was of course “Believe” that stood out above the others. A huge hit all over the world, this iconic single with its trance-like beat and ingenious use of auto-tune to give Cher’s voice a robotic effect, set and broke records for her – mainly for the being oldest artist on practically any chart to reach Number One.

2000’s – (This Is) A Song For The Lonely

The 2000s were a slow decade for Cher, as she toured for what seemed like years (and it was) with her Farewell Tour, while promoting her last – and astounding – 25th studio album, “Living Proof”. While not hugely successful on the main charts, “Song For The Lonely” became another dance club hit for her, as did “A Different Kind Of Love Song”. “The Music’s No Good Without You”, the lead song from the aforementioned album was also quite popular.

2010’s – You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me

Perhaps it’s a given because it was her only song that charted anywhere since 2010, but “You Haven’t Seen The Last Me” became a new favourite for many fans when she recorded it for the Burlesque soundtrack. It showed her back in top form and once again proved that she still had a great voice that was able to belt out a big tune like this.  It went to Number One on the Dance Club Singles chart in the US, breaking and setting more records for her and won the Golden Globe award for Best Original Song. “Welcome To Burlesque”, also from the film, is a popular track too.

What’s your favourite Cher song, do you like her new single and are you looking forward to her new album? Let us know!