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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 283 > Heaven scent

Heaven scent

OUT BEFORE HE WAS EVEN A TEENAGER, PERFUME GENIUS, REAL NAME MIKE HADREAS, KNOWS ALL ABOUT THE FEARS AND HARSH REALITIES OF GROWING UP GAY. BUT HE’S ALWAYS REFUSED TO STAY SILENT — THAT’S BORNE OUT IN HIS EXPRESSIVE MUSIC, WHICH HE HOPES CAN HELP OTHER QUEER KIDS

FASHION: UMAR SARWAR

As well as the precise, echoing vocals and sensual melodies, the music of Mike Hadreas, aka solo artist Perfume Genius, is renowned for its unrepentant gayness.

After coming out more than a decade ago at the age of 12, the Seattle-born singer was bullied at school and picked on for not adhering to “typical” masculine ideals.

Despite these experiences, Hadreas, now 35, refused to be driven back into the closet. Instead, he has laid it all out in his music. He adopted the moniker Perfume Genius in 2007, and since then has consistently addressed themes familiar to young gay men: isolation, wanting to be loved, and effeminancy — often to critical acclaim, if not mainstream recognition.

Throughout his career, no topic has proven taboo and no personal experience has been off limits. His music draws upon his past addictions and subsequent recovery, his battle with Crohn’s disease and the vulnerabilities of being an effiminate gay man.

In 2012, the video for his single Hood was deleted by YouTube, who cited the track’s “mature sexual themes”. The video showed the dainty Hadreas wrapped in the arms of gay porn actor Arpad Miklos, who died in 2013. It’s indicative of how he has possibly forgone commercial success in the name of artistic expression — queer artistic expression in particular.

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About Attitude

On the cover, Charlie Carver talks exclusively how his dad coming out helped him do the same. Plus, music legend’s Blondie in their only gay magazine interview, Walking Dead actor Tom Payne, queer pop prince Perfume Genius, and the growing divide between LGBT equality in Northern Ireland and Scotland. Also, presenting the world’s top 100 single gay men from the world of entertainment, art, business and politics.
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