Pop star Anne-Marie is returning to Australia next year to embark on her first headline tour. Matthew Wade caught up with this month’s Gay Scene Guide cover star while she was in Melbourne to chat music, her LGBT fans feeling free to be themselves, and becoming a private detective.

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Have you always been passionate about music?

Definitely. I can’t pinpoint when I first fell in love with music, but I always wanted to do it. From a really young age I was singing around the house, and then I did musical theatre, even if I didn’t think I was going to do it for the rest of my life. My sister sings but my mum and dad don’t, and neither does the rest of my family. So I still don’t know where [that love] came from.

 Who did you idolise when you were younger?

Well there were a lot of different things being played around the house when I was younger; my parents really liked The Who, my sister loved Eminem and No Doubt, and I loved Christina Aguilera and Alicia Keys and Alanis Morissette. I think I always thought about a career in music, but didn’t think it would be possible because I didn’t live in London, and it seemed far away, that whole life.

I grew up in Essex, a small town with no connections to anything and so for me, I saw people singing and assumed I wouldn’t do that. Most people probably dream of it from when they’re young, knowing who they want to be from a young age. But for me, I met a songwriter and got signed. I had to learn everything from that moment on.

If you weren’t singing, what would you be doing instead?

I’d probably be some sort of detective or private detective. I’ve always loved the thought of finding the bad people. I don’t what that’s about, but I think it has to do with making sure other people are safe and aren’t in danger. I think it might come from karate, which I’ve been doing since I was nine.

You’ve had a number of hits over the last couple of years – at what point did you realise that your career as a solo artist had blown up?

It’s actually been every time I release a song that I feel like that, but on different levels. When I released my first EP it was the first time anyone had ever heard of me, so that was a moment. Then I did “Rockabye” and more people started to know me, and then the same thing with “Friends”.

Each time it feels like a moment and the next time it’s even bigger. I don’t want to ever stop that because it’s a very humbling feeling. I don’t think I will ever lose that feeling.

You’ve developed a big LGBT following. Is that something you’re aware of, and how does it make you feel?

I never really knew who my audience was, ever, I just created music and hoped that everyone would like it. But I want to be there for everyone, and I often do Pride shows and perform at G-A-Y, and I love doing all of that stuff. I want to express that I love who I want to love and it’s important to me that other people feel comfortable saying it themselves. I feel like LGBT people are very open and carefree, and I think that’s amazing.

It’s obviously such a difficult and weird time to be gay, and such an intense thing to come out, and if they come to one of my shows and find a space where they can be free to be themselves, I feel that. And it makes me really happy.

You performed a couple of shows in Sydney and Melbourne last month – how were they?

They were sick, I loved it. I didn’t know what to expect because I’ve never done a solo show here before, and I was nervous. But there were so many different people there, which is what I loved about it. When I looked out into the crowd and saw different ages, and different colours, it was just the best.

And you’re planning to come back to tour next year? What can fans expect?

They’ll be getting the full album which is exciting. It will be good to do finally do the whole album, because the songs on the album are as important if not more important to me than the singles. I don’t practice or figure out what I’m going to say, it just happens, which makes the shows individual to each place. No-one gets the same show.

Do you have a message for your LGBT fans?

I love them and I love that they listen to my music. I want to make sure that anyone that hasn’t been exposed to LGBT culture listens to my music or comes along to my shows and it becomes normality.

For me being gay or whatever you are is a normal thing, and I want everyone to feel like that, so if I can do that through my music, then I’m going to keep doing it and hopefully it makes [the LGBT community] happy.

Anne-Marie will be touring Australia in March and April, 2019. For more information or to buy tickets visit: www.frontiertouring.com/annemarie

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