When it comes to making an impact as a new artist, challenging stereotypes of masculinity, gender conformity and what it means to be queer have made rising future-pop-prince Aaron Porter an instant standout.
Unapologetic isn’t just Rihanna’s seventh studio album, its a way of life. One this sassy, young powerhouse is determined to serve us, evident in Aaron’s breakout bop ‘BOY’. An empowering RnB-pop anthem, finding this defiant performer taking no prisoners and saying it loud and proud, unafraid to delve into personal emotions of love and lust. Aaron means business and he wants us all to know it as he gears up to become the role model black, gay, teens are crying out for and the next queer-pop sensation.
A former BRIT School attendee of musical theatre, Porter’s flair for the arts and theatricality blends effortlessly with his confidence and soulful vocal ability, not to mention having been raised on Whitney Houston and Toni Braxton, who he describes as his ‘powerhouse mummas’. “They really did help shape my love of music as their albums came at certain points in my life when I really needed it. I used to really indulge in the drama of it! If something big happened in my life, something sad for example, I would have Toni on full volume and I’d be running around my room crying! So embarrassing, but when I realized I could find a true release through music, nothing could stop me.”
Something unmistakably present in Aaron’s songs, take the pop banger ‘BOY’ for example, “It was about me not feeling or looking ‘masc’ enough and thatfrustration lead to ‘BOY’ being written, basically me wanting to be myself and refusing to give into social stigmas or gender standards.” Standards Aaron has found difficult in the past struggling with both his identity and his sexuality, resulting in a dislike of boxing people in to certain categories or labels, but he’s found a welcome release in his music. “Making music is truly therapeutic, it takes a lot to share those experiences with people.Your identity is always completely personalandunique, so it’s an incredible thing being an artist and getting the chance to express and justify that how I feelin this momentis authentic.”
He even dislikes putting his own music into a certain genre, however making pop music has come naturally to Aaron, letting his troubles and frustrations go in the process. Bringing us to his latest release I Wanna Let Love, a sexy club inspired track exploring the good, the bad and the downright steamy aspects of letting love take you over. “I wrote this song after being single for a year and I realised that I had almost completely forgotten what it felt like to be in the thick of love. That feeling when you’re in love and aperson can just drive you crazy so easily and leave you questioning if you ever knew who you really were because so much about you is so different in love.”
The open and honest aspects of the East Grinstead born singer’s music is what really draws you in as a listener as his tracks are 100% about who he is as a young, black, gay man and who he is trying to be as an openly gay artist. Something he hopes will inspired others in breaking down the barriers of masculinity he believes we put up around ourselves, “I use my music to be the voice of the gay man I am andthe gay man Iam happy to be, but out of music there is a huge pressure for gayguysto act “less gay” and it comes from the fact we’ve obviously been crazily suppressed. We also didn’t really have many gayrole modelsto look up to, be it in the public eye or at home. We’ve only really experienced what society thinks men should be like, but now we’re seeinga dramatic change and a lot ofmen are owning how they want to express themselves. Myself included.”
As mission statements go, Aaron Porter’s is pretty straight-forward. “I think often we’re not allowed to really show much emotion or be very feminine, so I’m just going to go full out as me and hope people get on board and it helps someone. Being your authentic self is the most attractive thing anyone can do, trying to be anything other than that is just a waste of time.”
Aaron Porter’s new release ‘I Wanna Let Love’ is out now on all platforms. Aaron will make his debut headline show 5 March at London’s Thousand Island. You can purchase tickets here.
Follow Aaron Porter on Instagram @justaaronporter.
Words by Lewis Robert Cameron
Photographer: Darren Skene
Styling: Lewis Robert Cameron
MUA/Grooming: Anna Inglis-Hall