Singapore singer Leon Markcus has opened up with his own struggles of self-harm and eating disorders to help young people.
The bisexual 21-year-old is making waves in Asia as he champions around issues such as, mental health, eating disorders and LGBTI youth.
Markcus’ latest single, Alive, raced up the charts in Singapore. He hopes it will be an inspiration to all young people across the continent.
Based on his life of ‘unfortunate events’, Marckus tapped into his own struggles to come up with the song.
‘Alive was inspired by my personal struggle with self harm,’ he told Gay Star News.
‘I guess my life was basically made up of a series of unfortunate events. I grew up in a really traditional household and with that came a ton of expectations to live up to.
‘My family was pretty much dysfunctional, thus, I hardly interacted with my parents. They weren’t on very good terms then as well.’
At school the singer was often bullied for ‘acting gay’ and he had no one to turn to for support. His school’s solution for all his problems was to simply ignore his bullies.
‘I became really toxic to myself and that’s when I began the path of self harm,’ he said.
Markus believes he can help raise awareness of issues through his music. But he can also send a message to young people that they’re not alone.
He is especially passionate about teaching the world that eating disorders also affect men and has bravely spoke about his own challenges.
‘I am currently battling with anorexia nervosa. It’s a pretty important topic… it is a challenge that both men and women might face and equal emphasis should be placed for both,’ he said.
‘I am also very open about my struggles with my eating disorder because I don’t want to be ashamed of it.’
Markcus has many fans across Asia and not just because of his catchy pop tunes. He often sings about taboo topics which strike a chord with young people.
As a result his music has brought together people from across the region who love his music and also have shared experiences they’ve bonded over.
‘I hope that my music would also create a community of people who would be there to support one another through their tough times,’ Markcus said.
‘I’ve seen so many of my listeners become really good friends and that’s really heartwarming. To let them know that they are not alone in whatever challenges they might have in life.
‘But on a bigger scale, I’ve seen what music positive energies music can bring to its listeners and I hope I could do the same.
‘I mean, I don’t want a kid to feel what I felt many years back. Abandoned and forgotten by the systems in place.’
The singer just wrapped a month of touring with a moving performance at Hong Kong’s massive Pink Dot festival. Pink Dot celebrates Hong Kong’s vibrant LGBTI community.
For Markcus it was the perfect way to end his tour. For him, the LGBTI community ‘has always held a special place in my heart’.
That could be because he is bisexual or because he has a lot of friends who are still in the closet.
‘I truly believe that they deserve to have the freedom to appreciate and love their partners in the light instead of hiding in the shadows. It is a cold world here for for these youths,’ he said.
‘And I though, I love my home, I also want my friends to be able feel at ease as well as to appreciate a place that accepts them for who they are without being denying their basic rights to love.
‘Everyone deserves equal opportunities for happiness. No one, should ever be made to feel like they don’t belong or they are undeserving of the life they are given.’