Bright Light Bright Light opens the gate to “Fun City”
Bright Light Bright Light (the performance alias of NYC-based international pop star Rod Thomas) drops “Fun City”, a collection of meticulously crafted 80s-inspired pop that was designed for the dancefloor (literally…he recorded nearly all the vocals on the empty dancefloor of Manhattan gay bar Bedlam) but which speaks directly to the LGBTQ+ community with messages of pride, empowerment, self-ownership and love.
The album has been released on his own label YSKWN! (in partnership with Megaforce Records and The Orchard) and features an intoxicating list of stars from the LGBTQ+ music world including (in alphabetical order by first name) Andy Bell (of Erasure), Big Dipper, Brendan MacLean, Caveboy, The Illustrious Blacks, Initial Talk, Jake Shears, Justin Vivian Bond, KAYE, Mark Gatiss, Madonna’s famed backing vocalists Niki Haris & Donna De Lory, and Sam Sparro.
Channeling the energy of the queer trailblazers that influenced him like Sylvester, Erasure, Scissor Sisters and Hercules & Love Affair, Rod hopes “Fun City” will examine the ways marginalised 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 The album title itself is a historical reference to a quote said by NYC mayor John V. Lindsay who on his first day in office in 1966, amidst a crippling transit strike, said “I still think it’s a fun city”.
Tracks like “Never Be Lonely” (feat. KAYE) and “This Was My House” (feat. Niki Haris, Donna De Lory & Initial Talk) celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and its safe spaces, while “It’s Alright, It’s Ok” (feat. Caveboy) explores self-identity and self-pride, and “Saying Goodbye Is Exhausting” with Justin Vivian Bond examines the loss of a loved one. And of course there is room for some carnal dancefloor fun, romance and lust on tracks like the Jake Shears-collab “Sensation” and the Big Dipper-assisted “Love Song”, as well as the self-reflected ode to getting older and cherishing your 15-minutes-in-the-sun “I Used To Be Cool”.
Bright Light Bright Light also got to collaborate with a long-time idol of his, Andy Bell of Erasure, on the standout track “Good At Goodbyes” which is being worked at radio and will be given an accompanying remix EP later this year. Of the collab, Rod said “the music reminded me of more sentimental, sun-kissed queer classics like Shirley Valentine and The Birdcage, so I wrote this track about holding onto the past, half painfully but half delightfully, savouring memories of a love you’re really not ready to say goodbye to yet. Andy’s voice is such an iconic voice, I thought he’d be perfect as his voice has soundtracked so many generations”.
Using the magic of the internet and channeling decades of queer history and community, Rod will video in appearances from many of the artists who contributed their talents to ‘Fun City’, as well as cameos from a variety of other amazing guests including RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Jujubee (US) and Crystal (UK), Ana Matronic from Scissor Sisters, Pennsylvania state representative Brian Sims, YouTube star Andrew J Duffer, singer Mykal Kilgore, H from multiplatinum pop group Steps, Jawbreaker filmmaker Darren Stein, and more. The event will also raise money for the Ali Forney Center who combats LGBTQ+ homelessness in NYC, and the Club Cumming’s Community Chest.