35-year-old Singaporean pop star Wils (a.k.a. Willie Tay and “Wiltay”) is gearing up to release what he’s describing as “one last single” before he plans to retire from music, and we’re not sure how we feel about the whole thing. 😭

Five years ago, the singer made history when he came out as gay. At the time, homosexuality was still illegal in Singapore and public support for LGBTQ+ people wasn’t great. (The country has since become more accepting, but there is still a lot of work to be done.)

It was an especially bold move because Wils, who was going by stage name Wiltay at the time, was at a pivotal point in his music career. His debut album WTF, released a few years earlier, had been a hit in Asia, he was busy touring, and was growing a large following all around the world.

But after revealing his truth, he was abruptly dropped by his record label and lost all control of his social media pages. The label deleted his Instagram page, cutting him off from his hundreds of thousands of followers, and his music disappeared from streaming platforms.

Speaking to Billboard in 2020, the singer said, “It was terrifying, because before I came out to my label, I was worried about losing my job, whether I could continue singing and all of that.”

“So I finally came out to my label and said, ‘I really want to be an openly gay singer, and I think that’s going to help a lot of young lives in Asia.’ They were like, ‘No, we’re not going to be able to do that because we have our reputation at stake.'”

“I think they were probably worrying about their stock dropping. So they removed all of my social media and dropped me from their label to be protective about their clients and sponsors.”

In a follow up interview with LAMag in 2022, he added, “When I was dropped, it made me feel like I was being punished for being honest, and it made me feel like I was being silenced, and so it was a very painful experience for me.”

In the years since, Wils has relocated to Los Angeles and adopted a new stage name. He’s released a handful of singles, remixes, and a full-length pop album called Don’t Leave Too Soon in 2020 about his experiences navigating the world as a freshly out gay man.

“You think you come out of the closet and everything will be bright and colorful,” he said in an interview at the time. “Then you realize that you have to go through dating as a gay man. And in gay culture, it can be quite challenging. There are lots of different subgroups and categories.”

In 2022, a remix of his song “Open Up Babe” was included on the official playlist for the movie Fire Island.

On Friday, Wils plans to release what he says will be his last single before retiring from music.

In a recent Instagram post, he wrote: “Beyond words! Been thrilled to share this with you. April 12th, one last single ‘Dancing Lights’. It’s been an incredibly moving journey together with you. Thank you all for believing in me and making this happen. Love you all with all my heart.”

Speaking to reporter Steven Boyce, he confirmed that he’s stepping away from music, at least for the time being, after “Dancing Lights” and its accompanying music video drops on Friday.

“My journey in music is complete,” he said. “It has been a heartening ten-year ride that has taught me to live fearlessly as my authentic true self and I am ready to now following the ‘Dancing Lights’ to wherever they lead me.”

While we certainly hope he reconsiders his decision 🤞, we’re looking forward to hearing “Dancing Lights” when it drops later this week and seeing where Wils goes from here.

In the meantime, check out the official remix video for “Open Up Babe” below.

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