This song brought me to tears, and it can for you too!
Jon Campbell is an american singer-songwriter and visual artist based in Berlin. His music brings together threads of indie-folk, singer-songerwriter and alt-country with a powerfully honest expression of his homosexuality.
Faggot is the first single off of Jon Campbell’s forthcoming sophomore album “Wolfen”, out on April 9th. It’s a song about homophobia and about transmuting my shyness into vulnerability, as I believe that male vulnerability is the strongest antidote to toxic masculinity and homophobia.
There is nothing we appreciate more than an openly gay artist reclaiming a hateful word used against queer people for generations to create a song so wonderfully beautiful and empowering.
The song opens with an emotional piano riff with a bit of background noise so it sounds as if we’re in the room. We then are welcomed with Jon’s warm and raw vocals that capture our hearts immediately. As I was listening to the lyrics as the song progressed, I found myself completely enamored by the production and vocal melodies. Through and through, this song is sure to tug at your heart if you are a queer person.
I got to ask Jon some questions about this release, check it out below!
Describe your release in 3 sentences.
“Faggot” is the first single off of my forthcoming sophomore album Wolfen. I wrote in late January 2020. It’s a song about homophobia.
What was your favorite part about making this song?
I wrote the arrangement for the song on a program which substitutes MIDI sounds for instruments. The MIDI sound for the choir of men’s voices sounded really beautiful so I kept that sound in the mix while I was singing my vocal, and it felt like there was this choir of angels or ghosts of queers from the past who were joining me in the song. It was a really special feeling and quite an emotional experience, especially considering I recorded it in quarantine. Those robot voices really made me feel less alone.
What was the hardest part making this song?
The hardest part of making the song was singing the lyric: “They’ll break out necks if we don’t pay the rent.” I wrote that lyric in January but I was recording my vocal in July amidst the protests for George Floyd, and he was all I could think about when I was singing it. In that context it felt somewhat insensitive to be singing those words as a white guy, but at the same time it strengthened my sense of solidarity with the Black community and reinforced my belief in the power of intersectionality; how my own experience with homophobic oppression allows me to perhaps better empathize with the experience of racist oppression – at least the “oppression” part of it.
Was this release cathartic for you?
Yes, very much so. It sounds so dumb but I hadn’t ever really confronted homophobia my whole life, or for the 22 years I’d lived out of the closet, from 15 to 37, when I wrote the song. I’m a recovering addict and from 17 to 34 I was abusing alcohol and drugs regularly. That abuse did a pretty good job of shielding me from homophobia for all that time. During that time I only thought about homophobia in its most overt forms, like physical assaults and hate crimes. It wasn’t until I got clean and sober that I realized how insidious homophobia actually is, and how much it permeated every single goddamn aspect of my life and my relationships. So yea, confronting 22 years of internalized homophobia and making this song and video out of it was hugely cathartic.
What keeps you motivated?
Mostly love, but also a feeling of complete and utter despair, hopelessness and existential dread that creeps in the moment I stop working on art or music.
What can we expect next from you?
I’m still in the early phases of planning the live show for Wolfen and obviously waiting on the situation at hand to allow for live shows to happen again, but in a way it’s good that I can’t get on a stage anytime too soon because I really need to slow down a bit and take better care of myself. I went a little crazy towards the end of making this record. I get a little too obsessive, so it’s good that I’m not diving straight into producing a live show right away. I’m working on new paintings, trying to paint at least an hour or two every day, and that’s been really therapeutic in helping me let go of the album. I’m really grateful that I can bounce back and forth between different media.
What other artists are you listening to right now?
I’m mostly listening to hip hop: lots of Kendrick and Kanye especially. A lot of Frank Ocean also. I’ve been listening to a lot of Coltrane lately too, because I’ve found that it’s the only music that is really soothing to my mind lately. I feel like the sort of fragmented and non-linear nature of jazz is very congruent with the way most days feel during this quarantine, or congruent with the way my thoughts move lately. I find it increasingly difficult to watch a whole movie or follow any storyline that is too linear, because time feels so fragmented and topsy-turvy… and then the other night I put on Coltrane’s “Blue World” and it was like giving a pacifier to the choleric baby in my brain.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions for us!
There’s also a music video to go along with the release, watch it below!
Be sure to stream “F****t” by Jon Campbell now on all platforms, and be sure to follow him on social media below!
Written By: Bryce Quartz