Bright Light Bright Light

FRESH: ‘Fun City’ – Bright Light Bright Light

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 The album title itself is a historical reference to a quote said by NYC mayor John V. Lindsay who on his first day in office in 1966, amidst a crippling transit strike, said “I still think it’s a fun city”.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.

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So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!