With his hit-filled, often-tumultuous career of more than three decades, Boy George knows a thing or 10 about how to survive the music industry. In an interview with Huffington Post to promote his current DJ tour and new album This Is What I Do, the 52-year-old entertainer —now sporting a beard! — questions other performers who use controversy to draw attention to their music.
“You have Miley stripping naked at every opportunity and Kanye bringing Jesus on stage and then Gaga posting ‘Madonna hates Gaga’ tweets,” George said. “One wonders what it has to do with music but people have to find ways to get attention! I guess I find it mildly entertaining like the rest of you!”
George, whose androgynous looks during his Culture Club days drew speculation about his sexual orientation before he opened up publicly about his affair with bandmate Jon Moss, thinks coming out remains a very personal decision.
“I came out to my family at 15 so by the time I was in Culture Club I was pretty fearless,” he shared. “I had to keep it to myself because people around me thought it would damage my career but I think everyone worked it out pretty quickly. I think coming out is a very personal thing and I now feel it is an individual choice. If you are not attacking other people then you should be able to keep it private. I think it’s always best for one’s own soul and personal happiness to come out. The closet is not a joyful place but you must feel safe before you make the decision to go public!”
He also understands that there will always be people who judge performers by their sexual orientation.
“I prefer to live in a world where you are judged on talent and sexuality is completely secondary,” he revealed. “There have been many successful openly gay artists — George Michael, Neil Tenant, Marc Almond — but the bravest was always Jimmy Somerville. I’m doubtful if we will ever live in a world where sexuality won’t be an issue for at least a small minority. Homophobia and racism are part of the human condition.”
Listen to his new album, which finds his voice as rich and evocative as ever, below.