I’m a big believer in supporting queer performers, which means I listen to a lot of gay singers. One of my favorites is the multi-talented Doug Locke, who recently released a new album, Black Travolta. I had an opportunity to ask Locke about his career, his music, and what he’s up to during the pandemic.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. What made you decide to pursue a career in music?
I grew up in a home where music was always playing. Every event, birthday party, social gathering, and special occasion had music, singing, and dancing. I’ve had a love of performing since I was a child and that’s when I feel most alive.
We’ve all experienced “challenges” in our careers because we’re LGBTQ+ people. How has being a gay man impacted or influenced your music?
Authenticity is very important for me in my songwriting. I definitely feel that my world view and my voice as an artist have been informed by my queer identity. With that said, I draw inspiration from all parts of my life. Some songs are about lovers, while others about feelings, emotions, memories, etc. My song “Temptation” from the Black Travolta EP is about wanting to feel appreciated by your partner and resisting advances from potential suitors when you are in a relationship. I think this is a universal feeling that anyone can relate to regardless of sexual identity.
Who has influenced you musically?
I love the pop provocateurs who push the envelope and created their own lane. Prince, Madonna, Lenny Kravitz, Beyoncé, and Rihanna are huge influences. Craig David and Frank Ocean are pure genius. While she and I do different work, I absolutely adore Lana Del Rey and I think she is an incredible songwriter!
Is there someone you haven’t worked with but would like to — maybe a duet?
Orville Peck or Halsey!
Whom are you currently listening to?
I absolutely love the new Harry Styles album Fine Line, and the new Teyana Taylor album is a great new R&B album. Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia album and Tame Impala’s Lost in Yesterday have been on repeat. I’ve recently discovered Alice Chater, and I think she is gonna be huge.
The pandemic means you haven’t been able to promote your new album, Black Travolta as much as you usually would. So, how are you spending your time?
Since I am unable to promote through traditional channels, I have been getting creative! I’m enjoying finding new ways to create and distribute content. And I’m making time for self-care, yoga, meditation, and deepening craft. I’m also finding opportunities to be in nature.
How do you think you’ve evolved as an artist?
I’ve really enjoyed playing with the different flavors of my inspiration. At my core, I’m a pop artist. Pop is an ever-evolving genre and I’m loving being able to make bolder choices with my music. I have very eclectic taste and influences so I’m loving playing with genre-bending.
Your song “Why” is incredibly beautiful and powerful. Tell me about it.
Thank you. I began writing the song “Why?” last year. My heart was broken yet again by the Anti-Black violence that plagues this country. The growing proliferation of hate crimes, videos of police brutality and the murder of Black Americans (that seldom results in justice) has worn heavy on my heart. After the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, something in my heart died. I knew I had to finish the song and release it. This song’s my response.
You can buy Doug’s music at Spotify or Apple Music