Aaron Porter, the queer R&B star redefining masculinity

Aaron Porter is now flourishing and is set to make an impact on the modern pop landscape. And the key to it all has been simple: the pride of being himself.

Growing up in East Grinstead UK in the 90s, Aaron Porter couldn’t fit in even if he wanted to. Raised solely by his mother, and listening to his idols Whitney Huston and Toni Braxton, Aaron Porter studied musical theatre at BRIT and finished a short stint at the West End before dropping out to pursue his real passion – music.

When Aaron came out he experienced no dilemma over being gay, instead he agonised over the relationships he knew he’d have to have with other men. After seeing his mom going through multiple abusive relationships, his trust in men has vanished. With music, he has learned to channel his fears. He is now looking to become the gay black role model he was missing in his life.

Aaron’s songs are all based around his life and the things he has learnt to deal with from heartbreak to sexuality to his internal struggle with showing who he really is and the effects of toxic masculinity.

His mission statement is simple: “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.”

Poised to become the new star of the queer pop scene, Aaron Porter proves that being different is better with his debut track ‘BOY’. Porter wrote ‘BOY’ with like-minded London duo Nimmo and his vocals were produced by Cameron Gower Poole (Dua Lipa, Ray BLK, Anne Marie). The track was produced by Tev’n.

‘BOY’ highlights Aaron Porter’s pure vocal gift, which exudes yearning and desire while also demonstrating his world class vocal abilities. It’s an empowering R&B meets future pop anthem which is unafraid to delve into complex emotions around love and lust. AsPorter sings, “I want to be the trouble, I want to be the regret.”

Every aspect of Porter’s output is an expression of his artistic vision, from the choice of producer to the accompanying visuals and his choreography. Somehow in 2018, being a gay black man is still a rarity within the music industry but Porter has the poise and confidence to become a breakthrough artist and a role model.

Aaron Porter 3 (film)_Chris Almeida 2018.jpg
credits: Chris Almedia

How does it feel to be the new queer R&B music star?

I’ve got such a long way to go yet! This is my first single for the world to hear. I’m just so ready for this next step. Fingers crossed that’s what people will be calling me, although I wouldn’t necessarily say I was strictly R&B – don’t really like to be put in any boxes if I can avoid it.

How did your music career start?

I actually originally started in theatre but quickly realised that it wasn’t for me. I loved being on the stage but hated leaving myself in the dressing room. I want to get on stage and tell my story, and hopefully people can relate. It’s always the most incredible feeling when someone comes to me and says that one of my songs has really helped them.

What message do you want to spread through your music?

My music always stems from my life so it will always change, but for this particular single, BOY, the message I want to spread is a promotion in being yourself, being your own boy, your own way, with no social stigmas telling you not to.

What are the challenges you face as a queer gay artist?

As I said, I’m only just now at the beginning so I’m going to stay positive in hopes that it won’t affect me too badly. I’m aware that some people may not agree necessarily with how I live but I refuse to let that bother me. There’s always someone that has something bad to say ha!

Aaron Porter 1 (film) _Chris Almeida 2018..jpg
credits: Chris Almedia

Are queer music artists unrepresented these days?

Ive felt a real change happening, especially over the last year. More and more artists are being vocal about their sexualities which is totally amazing. Perfect time for me to join the movement I think. I want to be totally unapologetic for who I am.

Is there still homophobia and racism in the music industry?

I honestly wouldn’t know at this point, I’m lucky enough to have avoided all sorts of homophobia in the industry so far.

How was your coming out process?

Yeah I mean I’m lucky to have a family that I knew would never judge me for who I love, so that part was fine. It was a very surreal experience though, actually hearing myself say it. Now I realise how I’ve basically always known my whole life, but the actual saying it part made it so real! Maybe one day no one will have to “come out”, well that would be nice wouldn’t it?

Aaron Porter 2 (digital)  _Chris Almeida 2018.jpg
credits: Chris Almedia

How were your childhood years?

Great! Everyone has ups and downs but I was always a happy kid. Pretty wild to be honest, especially as I got older and the show off in me would get challenged haha.

How do you identify yourself?

I’m Aaron Porter, a passionate, music making, gay male, amongst other things.

How would you describe your music?

Sexy, true, dirty, pop, often with emotional themes.. I think my music is something people will dance to and then when they realise what the lyrics are will have a bit of a moment to like take it in.

Aaron Porter 1 (digital) _Chris Almeida 2018.jpg
credits: Chris Almedia

What is your approach towards toxic masculinity?

It’s just about a new way of thinking there’s nothing wrong with masculinity but obviously when anything is toxic it can’t last long! I just want to be someone that can make people realise that there isn’t just one way to be a gay or a straight man. Masculinity is within all humanity and I think the stereotype of what masculine is should be abolished.

What do you consider your biggest achievement?

I feel like with me I always want more, it’s the determination in me. I’ve achieved a lot but nothing will be like the feeling I feel when I make music my complete full time career, and I’m hoping I’m not too far off that!

Who are your role models and inspirations?

My mum is my number one inspiration, I will have truly made it one day if someone was to love me as strongly as I do her. Her selflessness, honesty and sheer strength has taught me so much!

Musically I’ve been inspired by so many like Stevie Wonder, George Michael and Michael Jackson to name a few. So many of their hits will be hits till the end of time, timeless wonders of the world ha.

Aaron Porter 7 (film)_Chris Almeida 2018..jpg
credits: Chris Almedia

How was the experience performing for YSL and at Mighty Hoopla?

To me nothing compares to being on stage! Every time I perform I get totally lost in my music, sometimes I come off stage and Im a bit like “what happened” it’s the thrill of it all, such an incredible feeling being able to give yourself up to the music.. Truly liberating.

Have you received the support you expected from the LGBTQ+ community?

I think the LGBTQ+ family will probably be at the forefront of support, we have to be a team and really all try to progress together, but I’m hoping support will be coming from not just one category of people, but all people.

Aaron Porter 8 (film) _Chris Almeida 2018.jpg
credits: Chris Almedia

What are your future plans?

Now the plan for me is to keep building on this, work towards more releases, get loads of gigs in place and enjoy myself along the way!


More of Aaron Porter here:


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