ChicagoPride.com Blogs
Saturday 13 Jun 2015

Tori Kelly Takes Off

After auditioning for television show American Idol at age 16, singer Tori Kelly independenlty released an EP then followed it up with a major label release. Her latest released is set for June and is called Unbreakable Smile. The lead single "Nobody Love" is topping the charts and thanks to a stellar performance at the Billboard Music Awards people are really taking notice of the talented artist.

Kelly meets her Chicago fans at the Akira at Block 37 Mall, 108 N. State Street June 13 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

For information on new music and her Where I Belong Tour visit www.torikellymusic.com.

 
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Monday 13 Apr 2015

I Heard a Rumer

 

 





Known as the singular name Rumer, this talented British singer continues to make waves with her new album Into Colour. She has released two earlier records, her first titled Seasons of My Soul and a '70s male cover record Boys Don't Cry in the United States.

 

The new music has her collaborating with current boyfriend and fiance Rob Shirakbari who was Burt Bacharach's former music director. Her sound is often compared to Dusty Springfield and Karen Carpenter.

 

Nunn connected to Rumer shortly before her arrival in Evanston.

 

Jerry Nunn: Hi, Rumer. Where are you calling from?

 

Rumer: Northwest, Arkansas.

 

JN: I heard you moved there recently. How is it?

 

Rumer: Lovely and quiet apart from the tornado last night.

 

JN: This is a big change from living in the UK.

 

Rumer: I find England pretty cramped. I love America and I;m a big fan of the country. It is so beautiful here and amazing. When you come from a tiny island it is an unbelievable feeling to be able to travel long distances without needing a passport. I feel at home here.

 

Chicago is a place I would like to live for a while in. I would like to see the arts scene and what is going on.

 

JN: What was it like working with your boyfriend on the new album Into Colour?

 

Rumer: Writing songs together was a personal process and we developed that together. He is talented and gifted with arranging and producing. It was a privilege really and an honor.

 

JN: Being comfortable with him must have been a big part of it.

 

Rumer: Definitely.

 

JN: Was the song “Dangerous” a conscious decision to attempt disco?

 

Rumer: No. They always say don't do disco, don't they? I am not a disco queen but they heard the line, “Is your love too dangerous” and decided it was disco. When the melody came out it was already disco to me.

 

JN: Was the “Intro (Return to Blackbird)” a throwback to your first album Seasons of My Soul?

 

Rumer: Yes, because “Blackbird” on that album was about all of the things that hold us back. It is about hiding and being afraid of the light. “Blackbird” represents the things that held me back, whether is addictions, sorrow, or old pain. Anything negative that we cling onto becomes who we are as part of our narrative. It is about me hiding and not exposing myself. I didn't want to do Into Colour because of the experience before. The blackbird was sitting in my window and saying it was time to come out again. It was coaxing me back in to make an album.

 

JN: Was there pressure to make a hit single on this album?

 

Rumer: I don't really compete with anybody. I don't feel like I need a hit. I just want to have a body of work that accurately represents my journey over the last two years. I am looking to make a sincere document of the time I have spent and the experiences that I have had.

 

I don't think the record company expects hits from me necessarily. I think of success in terms of is the album good or not because that is hard enough to make a good album. I don't think about it wondering if the world will like it. I just hope that people like it as much as Seasons and Boys.

 

JN: I am a huge Audrey Hepburn fan so I like your cover of “Moon River.”

 

Rumer: That is a B-side. Boys Don't Cry was my covers album. The B-Sides & Rarities is a new compilation that I have made with all of the tracks I have done on various things. “Moon River” was something I did on BBC Radio.

 

JN: Have you heard from any of the artists that you have covered?

 

Rumer: Yes, on the Boys Don't Cry album I met Terry Reid, Stephen Bishop, Jimmy Webb, and I got very nice emails from Townes Van Zandt, and Richie Havens. I made great friends through that experience. Me and Stephen Bishop became songwriting partners as a result of it.

 

JN: “Welcome Back” is such a great take on the classic song.

 

Rumer: Thank you. Maybe I should have added it to B-Sides. I just couldn't find a place to put it.

 

JN: How do you take care of your voice?

 

Rumer: I don't drink alcohol. What damages the voice is anything acid so coffee is really bad or anything milky. I try not to eat grapefruit, oranges, or drink orange juice.

 

I think a lot of performers have a very strict regime. I still drink tea and coffee but not too strong. I will have a beer every now again but that's it.

 

JN: You have a band currently touring with you?

 

Rumer: We have a great band. We have Paul Pesco as a guest guitar player. He was Madonna's guitarist with the long black hair. We have a fantastic rhythm section. It will be a really good show.

 

JN: I hope you sing a cappella as well.

 

Rumer: We will do “Thankful” with just the piano. There will be a few that are more acoustic. Last time I was in Chicago everyone knew the words. It was really nice.

 

JN: I know some of my gay friends were at the Lincoln Hall show.

 

Rumer: I did notice the devotion at the front of the stage, a lot of extremely handsome boys. I have to say a Rumer concert is not a bad place to meet beautiful men because when I was in Cologne, in Germany, there was one after another really hot gay men. I was thinking they should all meet each other so there you go!

 

JN: I know you love musicals and at the same venue that you are playing The von Trapps are performing. They are the great grandchildren of the family that the musical The Sound of Music is based on.

 

Rumer: Are you kidding me? Oh my god, that is right up my street! I find that so interesting. I am going to look them up now. I didn't realize they are a touring band.

 

Do you have the sing-a-long Sound of Music? We have that in England.

 

JN: Yes, it is at the Music Box Theatre here in Chicago.

 

Rumer: Some people get dressed up. My friend wore a goat mask!

 

 

 

Hear Rumer at SPACE, 1245 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, April 13. Visit evanstonspace.com or www.rumer.co.uk for ticket information.

 

Tuesday 19 Apr 2011

It Gets Better Later



I turned the corner of the house and lay witness to a
nightmare. My brother stumbled down the hill as a bus full of children screamed
insults and threw trash out the window towards him. It was not just one or two
bullies but a busload. I thought, “Why doesn’t the bus driver do something?” I
decided to take action myself and told my mother, He never had to ride the bus
after that. But was that really the solution? Who knows the horrors he went
through in the hallways of his school. My brother was picked on his whole life.
He never fit in with the crowd and others gained joy by his reactions to their
abuse. My family didn’t speak of the incident because who wants to admit that
they are bullied? Today I am admitting it.



Bullies sensed that insecurity in me. Growing up in
Tennessee was not easy for me. The school and church I attended loved to feel
superior by knocking me down. Being gay, adopted, left handed, skinny and nerdy
left me an easy target. After a long day of being pushed into lockers and
smacked in the head from the self-esteem building game “smear the queer” I
returned to the safety of my home and paid it forward on my younger brother.



“Jerry the fairy” at least had peace in my room but my
brother didn’t. I felt horrible after that day on the hill for making fun of
him growing up. I vowed to change.



Things did get better. I left for college in Kentucky and
hardly looked back. Finally there was a place where I could be different and
for once that was a good thing. I learned how to live away from home and make
my own life. Afterwards, I moved up north to Chicago where I could be accepted
for the person I wanted to be. It was tough for me to finally come out to my
family but through time things got better. I started working for a LGBT
publication where I interview celebrities, authors such as Dan Savage. While
preparing for the interview I was touched by his book and wondered, “Is it too
late to have my take own It Gets Better moment?” The answer is no. We all have
more stories to tell and hopefully this one helps one more person.



Recently, a policewoman looked at my license and said,
“Weren’t you made fun of with that last name?” I stated, “Yes, although now I
have a website NunnontheRun.com where I celebrate it but thanks for reminding
me.”



Being syndicated nationally and having continued growing
success has brought students writing to me and saying they are studying
journalism to be like me. This is really the ultimate compliment. But I implore
them, follow my footsteps and become whatever you want to be but don’t step on
people to get there. Life will get better and it’s never too late to start.






Saturday 1 Jan 2011

Happy New Year

Looking back on this past year I was able to meet and interview some talented and amazing personalities in my column for Nunn on the Run.

Here is some great advice and quotes stars have said to me in 2010:

The Laughs

“How’s your cornholer?” (Lisa Lampanelli)

“I am sure you are much more of an expert than a married man or straight man, anyways.” (Kathy Griffin on blowjobs)

“I know that gays belong to Kathy, but any fall over, I'm going to take.” (Sarah Silverman)

“I have always forged my own unique path in the comedy and entertainment world” (Sandra Bernhard)

“I think my humor is a little dry.” (Katy Perry)

“I can't do anything but tell a joke and steal a scene!” (Leslie Jordan)

The Tears

“You are going to make me cry.” (Chely Wright)

“You made me cry…” (Meredith Baxter)

The Hard Times

“Read my bio and you tell me…” (Belinda Carlisle)

“Oh, I will go there!” (Alexis Stewart)

“There are moments that are really and truly "make it work" moments.” (Tim Gunn)

Advice

“Well, first of all, don't suck. Don't be bad at it.” (Dan Savage on writing)

“Everything has to be used for something” (Amy Sedaris)

“Don’t say you are a fan of theirs. It automatically puts you in the fan category with the celebrity.” (Lady Bunny)

“Hold the tape recorder closer to my mouth.” (Perez Hilton)

Full of Questions

“Let’s make it happen.” (Ricky Martin on interviewing him)

“I will never forget that question.” (Natalie Merchant)

“I don’t really get that question.” (Ellen DeGeneres)

“I have no idea how to answer that question, let me get my husband on the phone.” (Carol Channing)

About Chicago

“I usually don't party after the shows. But when I am in Chicago, who knows?” (Jake Shears)

“It is the only place that I actually had a job.” (John Waters)

“Chicago is my favorite city still and it looks gorgeous.” (Laurie Metcalf)

“I love Chicago.” (Pam Grier)

The G-Word

“Let the gays go wild!” (Patti LaBelle)

“I'm slightly under the radar and I do think part of that is because I'm gay.” (Rufus Wainwright)

“I'm very close to the gay community.” (Perry Farrell)

“I don't define myself by only being gay just like I don't define myself by only being Jewish.” (Nate Berkus)

“It definitely comes with some pressure.” (Adam Lambert)

“I think homophobia is really fucked up.” (Kate Nash)

“If there are gay men in the audience then you automatically get a great show.” (Joan Rivers)

On Obama

“He is not forcing anything but making decent strides and moving things in the right direction.” (Wanda Sykes)

“There's just nothing that a person in that position can do now, because it's just been bought and sold.” (Melissa Etheridge)

“I am really angry about the fact that a cultured, intelligent black man cannot say that he is for gay marriage.” (Mario Cantone)

The Icons

“It made me a lot of money. What about that?” (Olympia Dukakis on Moonstruck)

“I am a sucker for stories!” (Cyndi Lauper)

“Wouldn’t that be fun?” (Florence Henderson on hosting SNL)

“I say drag queen diet in the book because it sounds so good.” (RuPaul)

“RuPaul is just the most fabulous phenomenon.” (Lucy Lawless)

“Follow your dream and you can be who you want to be.” (Elton John)

Thanks a million.” (Lily Tomlin)

Those are just some of the highlights and big moments.  Looking forward to more exciting interviews with celebrities in 2011 Nunn on One!

Tuesday 30 Nov 2010

Latin Explosion

There has been a spark in red hot spicy performers around town recently.It all started with the Colombian singer Shakira shaking her hips all night at the Allstate Arena in October. She began the concert with "Pienso En Ti" and truly kept the crowd in mind, telling people that it was their night to enjoy. She jumped back in forth from English to Spanish throughout the set. There were plenty of homages to other artists, such as a cover of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" and her hit "Whenever Wherever" ended with a bit of "Unbelievable" by EMF. She brought a group of girls onstage to belly dance sorry, gays were not allowed although they tried. She sang songs from her new Spanish album, Sale el Sol, such as "Gordita" and she showed how crazy she can be with current number-one single, "Loca." She ended after an encore of "Waka Waka ( This Time from Africa ) ," the FIFA World Cup 2010 official anthem.The same night I took out one of the members of my favorite Venezuelan funk disco group Los Amigos Invisibles out on the town. We hit four gay bars before ending up at Berlin to dance the night away.

Then Ricky Martin flew the red eye in to Chicago Nov. 12 from his previous night's appearance at the Latin Grammys to sign copies of his new book, Me ( or "Yo" for the spanish version ) , at the Borders bookstore in Lincoln Park.

It was a long day for everyone as 650 people purchased the memoir, some arriving as early as 3 a.m. that morning. The line stretched around the bookshelves with folks young and old. One gay Latino fan cried as he related how much Martin's emergence from the closet meant to him personally. The book describes this spiritual journey and the process of coming out for the Puerto Rican sensation. Speaking of Puerto Rican's  singers, Chayanne brought his tour to Chicago this past week. Appearing in a puff of smoke, Chayanne sang songs off his new album, No Hay Imposibles, at the show as well as classics such as “Provocame” “Fiesta en America” and “Tiempo de Vals.” He closed the show with fireworks and his hit “Torero.”

Finally, I was able to interview Ecuadorian Christina Aguilera for her new movie Burlesque.

All of that along with a trip to Guatemala this year and a Mexican cooked Thanksgiving dinner proves that my love for Latinos is not going away anytime soon. The melting pot that makes Chicago what it is continues to make my life loca!!!

Read more about my crazy life at www.NunnontheRun.com

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