Singapore star Wils has come out as gay by releasing an adorable new single, Open Up Babe earlier this week (23 April) after his label dropped him for coming out.
Originally performing under the pseudonym Wiltay, Wils is back with this new beat. The music video sees Wils dancing around a set of cliffs with his lover in Los Angeles.
And in an accompanying interview with Billboard, Wils spoke about his struggle accepting himself and how his label dropped him for coming out as gay.
What does he say?
Wils, real name Willie Tay, realized his sexual identity while on his ascent in the Singaporean music scene a few years ago.
But as he told Billboard, his sexuality was a hurdle. Struggling between making music and coming out, Wils chose the latter.
Coming out to his friends, family, and then record label, Wils found the latter didn’t handle the news the best.
He said: ‘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.’
‘Being truthful to yourself’
But the singer has re-branded and brought out an independently released debut single.
Open Up Babe is a song about ‘being truthful to yourself,’ he said, ‘and accepting yourself.’
He hopes that fans are ‘going to love me for the way that I am,’ and that ‘they’ll be able to learn to live truthfully with themselves.
‘It’s not just about sexuality, it’s about everything in life. Be comfortable with yourself, because when you accept yourself, you can just be the best version of yourself.’
LGBTI rights in Singapore
Wils also contributed his home country’s penal system as a contributing factor to his mental health. Being that Section 377A, a British colonial-era law which criminalizes homosexual sex between men, is still in effect.
Wils said the code has ‘led to a lot of bullying in the society.’
Moreover, a petition launched in favor of maintaining Section 377A received over 109,000 signatures.
Though authorities rarely enforce the law, it fosters negative attitudes towards LGBTI rights in the city-state.
Last year, one man launched a high court challenge claiming 377A is constitutional. Meanwhile, Christian and Muslim religious leaders urged followers to support it.