Musician Bronze Avery is officially celebrating the release of his debut album, SOFTMETAL.
As the winner of last year's Billboard NXT competition, Avery has been hard at work on his first-ever full length record. He shares that he was inspired to complete the album after encouragement from his mentor on the show, Charli XCX.
"I mean, she's literally my favorite artist ever, so it was just so random, and kind of like a meant-to-be moment that we were connected," he tells Sonia Baghdady of Advocate Now. "Honestly, a lot of her conversations gave me the confidence to start really honing in on my debut album."
Avery says that his music is also inspired by events and stories from his own personal life. While sharing a project with an audience can be intimidating, the personal lens of SOFTMETAL creates an extra layer of vulnerability for the artist.
"I didn't realize how difficult it was actually going to be emotionally until after I put the project out," Avery explains. "When I made this project, I wanted to fill it up with so many of my own personal stories, just because I knew so many people who listen to my music would be able to relate to a regular 'boy next door' story."
Advocate Now | Bronze Avery
As a queer Black man, Avery wanted to tell his story in a way that didn't make him feel pigeon-holed as an LGBTQ+ artist. While narratives about being queer are important, he says that stories with normalized queer perspectives are equally significant.
"I feel like so many queer stories get wrapped up in things that are important like not being accepted, or wanting to be yourself," he continues. "But there were not really stories about getting your heart broken, or what it's like to be left at a club, or even just topics like sex. I wanted to just dive into my real-life experiences and just make them for everybody."
Growing up in Florida, Avery shares that he didn't have "a super large queer community" available to him. After he moved to Los Angeles, he finally found the people that "gave me the confidence to be myself," which inspired his personal growth through SOFTMETAL.
Avery says that the challenges he's faced as a queer Black musician have helped him become a better artist.
"Growing up being Black and queer, the opportunities to work with really high-level producers or songwriters is not as openly available," he elaborates. "So, I actually had to learn how to produce music on my own, mix music on my own, write all of my own songs, and carve a lane for myself that wasn't just the stereotype that people were putting me in."
Bronze Avery- Figure It Out (Official Video)
Avery believes that expanding technology and online communities have helped break down gatekeeping within the music industry.
"I really hope that [queer people] take away that they can do anything that they want, in any style that they want," he says. "There does not have to be a box that you are placed into. I feel like so much of queer art gets placed into a specific niche ... But as queer people, we are so dimensional, and there are so many layers to us."
Avery adds: "The mission is way more important than just me making music."
SOFTMETAL is available to stream via Spotify and Pandora. Be sure to catch Avery on his upcoming tour.
For more interviews like these, watch Advocate Now on The Advocate Channel.
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