Lyon Hart, you may not know him yet, but you've probably heard his song or seen his music video for "Falling For You." This singer/song writer is gaining traction with his emotional lyrics, sultry voice and sexy yet tense visuals. In the "Falling For You" music video Directed by Matt VanDaniker two shirtless male dancers move to a push and pull, tug of war choreography that centers around the lyrics of being caught in a toxic relationship. The song and music video blend perfectly. Hart is one of the number of emerging artists that is not only talking about their queer identity but is openly expressing it through music. We love that he doesn't hide his message in metaphors and that the music is still universal. We caught up with Hart to talk about this journey and what's up next.
You're starting to garner much attention for your music, especially with the song "Falling For You" and it's music video. How did the song and music video come about?
A friend of mine from college, Matt VanDaniker, approached me about doing a music video. He’s a fantastic video editor and director and works on HUGE ad campaigns for some of the biggest brands in the world. He and his collaborator, James Manzello, sent me a treatment for the video with basically the same concept as the final cut, but with a guy and a girl. We went back and forth on it, but eventually decided that casting two men in the roles fit better with what I wanted to say artistically with the song. (That, and, living in Hell’s Kitchen, I’ve got way more male dancers to choose from!)
You have been working in the music business for a while as a singer and songwriter. Which is your favorite.
I love them both equally, deep down. But I am having to force myself to fall in love with singing and performing again after years of stepping away from it. The songwriting experience is so much about collaboration and finding what really makes another artist tick. I love that. I love listening to another person talk about the crazy stuff that’s happening in their life and finding a way to reflect it back to them as a lyric or a melody. It’s much harder, I think, to do that for yourself!
In your bio you are described as a queer singer and songwriter. What does that mean to you and how does it affect your music.
I hope one day it will mean nothing other than a fun fact! However, I think we all bring our unique experiences to what we put out in the world and, especially with this video, I wanted to tell a story that was universal but through the lens of my own queer experience. Finding yourself in a toxic relationship or falling back on bad habits can happen to anyone. In the lyrics, they happen to me, and in the video, they happen to this gay couple.
There has been an influx of openly gay singer/songwriters like Justin Tranter, Troye Sivan, and Ryan Beatty. Why do you think this is happening and how do you set yourself about from these artist?
I think it’s FANTASTIC! I’m such a huge fan of Troye’s music and I wish I had Justin’s career. Haha!
I think it’s part of the larger cultural shift toward acceptance of gay people in general. There’s still a long way to go, though. The music business is overwhelmingly straight and bro-y and it can be especially toxic in certain genres. I’ve done a lot of feature vocal work in EDM and been fortunate to work with amazing people, but I have heard all kinds of horror stories from other writers and artists.
I also loved what Ryan Beatty said when he came out after the Orlando shooting, that he was “proud to be a raging homosexual”. I’m all about this trend of not hedging who we are with “oh, we’re gay, but we’re just like straight people and we’re oh-so-normal-other-than-this-one-tiny-thing”. Not that there’s anything wrong with wanting the white picket fence and the 2.5 children - be who you are! But being RAGINGLY who you are is so much more interesting to me than living in that gray area where so many queer artists were forced to exist until very recently. Anyway, call me, Ryan! Let’s write some ragingly homosexual music together.
What do you want to express with your music?
I want to express the full range of emotions. Lemme take you on my personal rollercoaster…
You have been featured on other artist songs like Milk N Cooks X Twinns "Thunder" and Elephante "Shake The Earth." Who has been your favorite to work with?
Elephante was possibly the easiest collaboration that’s ever happened. He approached me about collaborating and I sent a melody/lyrics that I already had on hand. He produced the CRAP out of that track and in a matter of days we had “Shake The Earth”. He’s currently tearing it up with his debut EP and I’m so proud to be a part of it.
One of my favorite collaborations was with one of my longtime cowriters Raycee Jones. We worked together on an EP with Bethany Joy Lenz from One Tree Hill and Dexter. The teenager in me was SCREAMING the whole time.
You've been in NYC ten years now, originally from Oregon. How is the city treating you?
NYC was where I always said I would end up as a kid, so it feels pretty natural! I will admit though, every time I’m in LA, the West Coaster in me sort of breathes easier. In spite of the smog.
What's your favorite part of NYC?
I live two blocks from Times Square, so I love anywhere that feels like the calm eye of the storm in NYC. The Highline early in the morning, the elevated lawn at Lincoln Center, the very middle of Central Park where you almost can’t hear the sirens anymore…
Are the boys cuter there?
What other artists are you listening to?
I’ve got a Spotify playlist called “Lyon Hart’s Caturday Jams” with all the stuff I’m listening to these days plus some of my own music, go check it out! But there's a ton of awesome new music out right now by bands like Slow Sugar, Kevin Garrett, KNG DAVD, Opia, Jojee… I could go on and on…
Who is one artist that you could listen to nonestop on repeat?
I’ve had the Years & Years record on repeat forever.
What's next for you, an album?
Probably more singles for now! Or another EP! I like the immediacy of putting out shorter releases. It’s like a snapshot of where I am right now.
Where can we find your music?
Spotify! iTunes! Also follow me on Twitter & Instagram to stay up-to-date on new music and see an annoying amount of cute pictures of my dog. @lyonhartmusic
Anything else you want to add?
Make sure you vote on November 8th!