Musical artist Leo Kalyan’s voice on his second single of 2017, “Versailles”, 100 and 3 percent pop, carries the backing production like a kite in 1979 Kabul. His music reverberates with sunshiney optimism and pop sensibilities that make for a picturesque portrait. Have a listen:
Growing up in a Muslim household and hiding your sexuality can seem like the end of the world, no matter how religious or secular your immediate family may be. For Leo Kalyan, discovering himself in rainy London came with the music, including coming out in his music video last year. Perhaps it’s the meaning behind his music that allows so many to relate to it, easing the loneliness that comes with repressed sexuality and feeling invisible. Kalyan has spoken out about feeling invisible as a gay brown Muslim person, vocalizing his thoughts on social media and in conversations like this one from BBC Asian Network:
…As a gay person, I’m on the outside of the outside of the outside, because I’m demonized by Muslims as well. And as a gay brown person, you really do feel invisible, and one of the reasons I decided to come out in my music and actually make it a part of my art was because I decided that it wasn’t fair that we are invisible and that we are ignored and nobody talks about us and we are just something that’s not seen and not heard.
* * *
Mustafa Abubaker is a writer working in Atlanta. He is the social media intern at WABE, Atlanta’s home for NPR.