"But face it, if you wanna make it onto radio, kid, you gotta do as I say. Change all the hims into hers, and just don't tell the world that you're [gay]."
When London-based singer and songwriter Matt Fishel was starting out, he received a lot of cringingly well-intentioned advice. Everyone wanted to mentor him, everyone wanted work with him -- but with one pretty big caveat.
Fishel had to stop writing songs about men. Although he was already out, the industry wanted to push him back in. (Apparently being gay wasn't "radio-friendly.")
The singer refused and went on to launch his own label, Young Lust Records, so that he would have freedom over the projects -- and the people -- he pursued. In 2013, he wrote "Radio-Friendly Pop Song," to document his experience with the industry. It's ridiculously catchy.
"I've always responded to music that's truthful," he said, explaining his decision to go his own way to gay news site Pink News. "The songs I write about are all about relationships and experiences that I’ve had. I’ve never been willing to deliberately not write about that or change it to combat what major labels call ‘limiting your mass appeal.'"
Four years on from launching Young Lust Records, Fishel's appeal seems anything but limited. He just released his newest single, "Finally," a cover of the 1992 hit by CeCe Peniston about finally meeting Mr. Right.
As for us, we're supremely happy that Fishel is standing up and singing his heart out -- with one caveat. We don't know how we're ever going to get his songs out of our heads.