English indie rock band xx’s songwriter, bassist, and vocalist Oliver Sim has revealed that he has been living with HIV since he was a teenager. 

Sim (32), disclosed that he was living with HIV in his newly released song ‘Hideous‘. His first solo album Hideous Bastard is scheduled to be released on September 9. 

In a post on Instagram, Sim revealed that he had spent over two years working on the album, and realised early on that he was writing a lot about fear and shame. 

‘Free Myself Of Shame And Fear’

“I imagine that might paint a picture of a dark, “woe is me” sounding album, but in recent years I’ve become a firm believer that the best antidote to these feelings can be bringing them to the surface and shedding some light on them,” said Sim. “I haven’t written the record to dwell, but rather to free myself of some of the shame and fear that I’ve felt for a long time.”

Sim, spoke about the inspiration behind his new song and his HIV diagnosis at the age of 17. 

“Two thirds in, having a good idea of what the record was about, I realised I’d been circling around one of the things that has probably caused me the most fear and shame. My HIV status. I’ve been living with HIV since I was 17 and it’s played with how I’ve felt towards myself, and how I’ve assumed others have felt towards me, from that age and into my adult life,” Sim revealed. 

“So, quite impulsively, I wrote about it on a song called Hideous. I thought I could release it into the world and be done with it.” 


Jimmy Somervile As ‘Guardian Angel’

According to Sim, he played the song to his mother, who “being the protective and wise mum that she is, she gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever received.” His mother advised him to have conversations with the people who are important to him. 

“Since writing Hideous, I’ve spent the past two years having those conversations, which was difficult and uncomfortable to start with, but has allowed me to feel a lot freer and has only strengthened my relationship with myself and with the people in my life,” said Sim. 


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Oliver Sim (@hideousbastard)

One of the people who he spoke to and who he credits as his “guardian angel” was Scottish pop singer (Bronski Beat,  The Communards) Jimmy Somerville. 

“I knew for Hideous I wanted a guardian angel to appear in the song and sing to me the words I needed to hear. Not only has Jimmy been such a powerful voice around HIV & AIDS for decades, but the man quite literally sounds like an angel. I reached out to him as a complete fan boy, but now consider him a real good friend. He encouraged me to do the song for myself He taught me “glamour” is a Scottish word,” said Sim. 

According to the singer, Jimmy also gave him some important life lessons. “He reminded me to not take myself too seriously, no good comes from that! “Am I Hideous?” feels far less like a question I’m asking the world now. I know the answer. As scary as it still feels, I’m excited to share this music with you, and I hope you enjoy it,” added Sim.

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