THE SINGER, SONGWRITER CHATS TO ANDY WEST
On the release of her new EP, Lots Holloway talks love, coming out, fancying Taylor Swift and the trap other lesbian songwriters can fall into.
Lots Holloway came out to her parents when she was 18…only she didn’t actually come out at all. Not in the traditional sense where you sit mum and dad down with a cup of tea and hope they don’t choke.
“I didn’t come out really.” She says, thinking back. “I didn’t tell anyone I was gay because I didn’t think it was anyone’s business. I started dating my current girlfriend and went home and just said to my parents ‘by the way I have a girlfriend and this is what she looks like.’”
That was 6 years ago and today, Lots is just as relaxed about life and love. She has her trademark blonde curls which regularly fall into her large eyes which could make her look like some kind of innocent Disney nymp…but she’s far from naive.
Forthright and inquisitive, her chat is engaging, reflecting the smart observations in her lyrics.
“I struck upon this thought the other day. I saw a banner for a coming out event as I was walking home and I felt quite a strong resistance towards it.
“I feel like we should teach younger people to stop coming out.” She says.
Stop people coming out? I’m surprised and she smiles.
“I don’t mean stay in the closet but…just be yourself, you know? I feel people should just stop coming out, because it implies that you’ve been hidden away and then that implies that you’ve been doing something wrong and abnormal.”
Don’t people need to come out? Isn’t it a right of passage after a long time worrying about who you are?
“It’s like there’s so much pressure on coming out that it gets to be like someone is so frightened of that moment that they might decide in the end to stay hidden. Why not just be yourself? You don’t have to come out.
“We need to teach younger people to just say who they are because it feels good. I feel like we are perpetuating that it’s not normal.”
I’d never considered that before. Is it possible people don’t come out because they can’t face the confrontation or the attention? Maybe it would suit people better just to be gay without really…making a point of telling anyone.
For the first time in ages, I’m genuinely stumped. I explain that for me, coming out wasn’t a big drama but it felt like too big-a thing to just mention in passing. I wanted to tell people I was gay before I could start dating boys. Maybe it was like giving myself permission….making it less shameful and hidden so I could just go ahead and enjoy it.
Lots thinks and nods thoughtfully. “I mean,” she says. “Each to their own really, if you want to come out because you feel that way or even because you want a party and it’s exciting then that’s great.
“But there are some people who aren’t very confident and for them the prospect of telling people you’re gay is so frightening that it becomes a bigger deal than just being gay. What if that stops them coming out and stops them being happy?”
Lots never felt a need to explain who she was to her family and she worries others might stay in the closet because they think they have to come out. I ask her, do you really think coming out is…outdated?
“People say sexuality is such a big part of who you are. I mean, people don’t say that when they’re straight, so why is being gay such a big part of who I am?
“Nobody has a right to know everything about you and if you don’t want to tell your uncle you’re gay then I don’t think you should have to. I don’t tell a lot of people everything about me, you have to earn the right to know everything about me.
I tap my pen on my teeth and wonder whether or not I’ve earned the right. Reading my mind, she says ‘you’re doing okay’.
Since Lots is so at ease with her own sexuality and in such a strong relationship, who would be her ideal celebrity girlfriend?
She doesn’t need long to think of a name.
“I wouldn’t mind if Taylor Swift was gay that would be cool,” she says, smiling. “She’s a very attractive lady. She’s my type: you know, straight-looking girly girls with lipstick. I think she’s cool.”
Some say she’s too gawky and troublesome, after multiple songs about multiple break-ups and that big falling out with Kanye. Lots isn’t put off though:
“She’s not the coolest person she’s kind of geeky but it’s kind of appealing. If she was too cool she’d be unattainable. She’s strong too and I like that.”
Lots is quick to point out that she doesn’t need Taylor to swipe right any time soon though, she’s been with her girlfriend for 5 happy years:
“She’s a very intelligent academic professional. We love each other and we’re really happy but she’s very private so I can’t say much.”
Will there be a wedding soon then? 5 years is a long time. Lots thinks for a moment, though I get the impression it’s more to consider whether to remain silent on the issue than for any need to ponder. She answers:
“I do think we’ll get engaged and it’ll be my job for sure ‘cos I’m that character in our relationship and she’s very girly. I’ll know when the time is right.
“I want to have kids one day too. Maybe not for a while because it’s something that takes a while because it takes planning not just a condom breaking.”
Lots has just released her rich and restlessly energetic EP, Slow Down. Filled with catchy melodies and chatty vocals, Slow Down is a great track list for a leaf-kicking Autumn.
Lots says about the EP: “I’ve literally just released my 4 track EP Slow Down which was written and produced by me. It’s so amazing to be able to let people hear what I can hear in my head when I write my music.”
Lots is one of only very few openly gay female musicians in the British music industry, but it’s not something she thinks about too much. This is not an artist on some kind of LGBT+ mission. Her sexuality, she says, is not what her music is about.
“I think gay male pop singers are so massive because they write or wrote a lot about mainstream culture like Freddie mercury and Elton writing about love and war and hate and death. Those concepts appeal to everyone whereas gay women tend to talk about being gay women.
“It’s difficult to say why and I’m not one of them and I never have written about sexuality but women are quite sensitive as human beings and they’re quite in touch with their own feelings.
“I’m not slating people who do write very personal stuff at all but that will mean it’s harder to be massive on the world stage.
“I usually stay away from writing about stuff that’s too personal because when I write my music it’s not cathartic or anything I’m trying to make someone else feel something. I want them to feel excited or emotional about someone else.”
Lots’ new EP Slow Down is out now!