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Rising pop star Ängie on her bisexuality and why it’s important to be open about mental health

“People need to stop being mad at people for being bisexual, like you have to choose sides? It’s really weird!”

Ever since her spunky 2016 debut single, Smoke Weed Eat Pussy, Swedish hit-maker Ängie has become one of the most outspoken artists in pop music. Because she’s not afraid to speak out about feminism, mental health and homosexuality, Ängie has been declared the most “controversial pop star” by several media outlets, which she claims is down to a “bullshit world”.

Clearly, she doesn’t give a fuck. Last month, the 23-year-old released her highly-anticipated debut album, aptly titled Suicidal Since 1995, and with it, provided us pop fanatics with fan-bloody-tastic videos for Dope, Here For My Habits and Venus In Furs. Its artwork? Ängie serving glam emo-realness as she’s being hanged. See? No fucks given.

Here, she talks to Gay Times about the importance of being open about mental health, why people are declaring her a “fake lesbian”, and what she would like to say to her critics…

You’ve been called the most ”controversial pop star around” by the media, because you’re outspoken about homosexuality, feminism, mental health and drugs – do you agree with that statement?
No. I don’t think I’m that controversial, I’m just being me and I’m being honest. People are making fuss about stuff that isn’t important. It’s just weird! Like, I’m a girl and I’m open about my bisexuality, and I talk about mental health. It’s just a bullshit world.

When men do it, they don’t get any backlash at all.
Oh yeah, it’s fucking ridiculous.

What would you like to say to those who call you ‘controversial’? 
I would like to say to them, ‘Get real’. I just think it’s weird to be called the ‘most controversial’ because I made a fucking song called ‘Smoke Weed Eat Pussy’. Male artists release this every day, and the media are like, ‘oh, he’s back with a new hot song!’ It’s so fucking weird.

You’ve been very open about mental health. How important is it that these conversations are had publicly and sensibly to break down the stigmas that surrounds it?
It’s really important to talk about because there’s so many, like myself, looking up to artists, influencers, and they just show one side in their bikinis, but it’s really not that. It’s more complicated than that really, and everybody knows that. I’ve been suicidal for so long, so I think it’s really important for me to talk about that because when you’re feeling down all the time, you don’t feel like you’re able to do anything. Everyone is feeling down all the time, they just don’t talk about it.

Is music like therapy for you?
Yeah, I feel like shit when I’m not doing music. I haven’t done any songs for so long, so I feel terrible. But that’s how I get my shit together.

Since talking about your experiences, have you heard from fans about how it’s helped them?
Yeah, all the time. I get people telling me, or thanking me, for doing what other artists aren’t. I feel really happy that I can help. Especially when it comes to being gay, it feels truly awesome because many of the people are thanking me. There are so many girls and boys that have been writing to me, and saying ‘I’ve spoken to my dad about being homosexual’ and other people coming out. It just makes me so happy. I don’t think anyone should be hiding themselves.

Bisexuality has wrongly been considered as a “stepping stone” towards complete homosexuality. What are your experiences of these attitudes?
Yeah, people tell me a lot of things, but I’ve identified as bisexual since I was like 12. And my mom has always been really open and she’s also bisexual. People need to stop being mad at people for being bisexual, like you have to choose sides? It’s really weird! People now call me a ‘fake lesbian’ because I have a boyfriend. People are silly.

Should there be more awareness around the unique challenges that bisexual people face, compared to their LGBTQ siblings?
I just think people need to treat other people with respect. I just want everyone to be accepted for who we are. That’s the main reason I’m being so honest with my music.

Hollywood and the fashion world have experienced their MeToo movement, does the music industry also need this?
We had our MeToo movement in Sweden as well. When you’re young, and want to succeed, I get that you do things you don’t want to do, but I wouldn’t agree to any of those terms. It’s fucking gross. But I know a lot of people who have been through shit because men are pigs.

Can we expect more music soon?
I’ve been working on songs for about half a year now. So, I’m trying to finish up my album and it’s a lot to do, but I want a full-length album with a lot of songs on there, not just an EP. Like a real album! I will talk to my manager soon and say I want to put out a new single soon! Maybe this summer.

So far, you’ve had a really cool aesthetic for your single covers, and your album cover.
I always knew I’d have a black album cover, from the very beginning. I know everything before it happens! I’m almost sure the next album will be white. I see my album and my whole artistry as inside the box of my borderline. There’s so many different sides to me and how I feel, and how I get through. So, I use colour to express myself and my schizophrenia.

Have you faced opposition for being so open about your mental health?
They don’t have anything to say because it’s my art. I do all my stuff myself. I don’t get that much money to make stuff, so I make my own videos with a guy I’m working with. It’s my project and I decide how it’s going to be.

It’s refreshing to see a female artist who’s so in control of her career.
I know a lot of artists who are controlled by their labels because of money, I just think it’s so sad.

Ängie’s debut album, Suicidal Since 1995, is now available on Spotify. 

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