2015 has seen an unprecedented rise in LGBT musicians breaking all sorts of boundaries. From Sam Smith to Adam Lambert to Years & Years to Who is Fancy? to MNEK to the incredibly infectious songs from Fox’s hit show Empire, LGBT artists are breaking through mainstream barriers, and Parson James is next on the ever-growing list of ear worm-worthy jams.
His debut single, “Sinner Like You,” follows his successful collaboration with Kygo on “Stole the Show.” “Sinner” kicks off showcasing James’ vocal prowess with his gritty call to his “mama,” confessing his sin of going to bed with another man. His voice is full of soul as he asks “Are you still gonna hold my hand?” It’s unapologetic with it’s fierce lyrical content and calls out the hypocrisy of religion, especially where the LGBT community is concerned. His fearlessness in tackling religion, homophobia, and love in his debut single makes him an artist worth watching. Not to mention: he has an incredibly emotive voice, especially as he’s belting lines like, “Should I go? Should I stay? Are they ever gonna change? Should we make our amends just to hear them say amen? If I run, run away, mama would you be afraid when the stones start to fly? Who’s gonna be by my side?”
After songs by straight artists like Hozier (“Take Me to Church” and) and Macklemore (“Same Love”), it’s refreshing — and much more personal and intensely powerful — to hear a gay man sing about the very real fear most LGBT people face when coming out to family and friends. At times, even though the beat is thumping and infectious, the song takes haunting turns, and the juxtaposition of lyrics and instrumentals make it a layered, complex debut. He told V Magazine:
“Sinner Like You” is the story of how I felt about coming out to my mom, knowing that a congregation or community of people were going to have to be witnesses and have to judge me for this too. But it’s a story, it’s life, this is how it is. But it’s not like “I’m gay, look at me.” I just always wanted, when I was a kid, to hear someone say things honestly and openly and to be accepted for it.
And if that doesn’t convince you, he’s also pretty hot:
Check it out below: