Asbjørn has already made a name for himself in his Danish homeland with a string of hit singles celebrating LGBTQ+ love, life and culture. Now he’s ready to take on the world.
Inspired by “the greats” (Spice Girls, Destiny’s Child, Backstreet Boys), Asbjørn is currently hopping between London and Los Angeles recording his second album. He’s on a mission to team up with Charli XCX on that journey. He says she is the “most killing-it popstar on the planet at the moment,” and TBH he’s got a point.
But more than that, he wants to join the likes of Olly Alexander and Troye Sivan as one of pop music’s leading LGBTQ+ spokespeople. He already made a powerful statement with his single Boy PWR and now he’s back with new track, Nothing 2 Lose. We caught up with Asbjørn while he was soaking up a bit of the LA sunshine for a chat about why he wants to make a difference for queer boys everywhere.
Hi there Asbjørn. What’s the story behind Nothing 2 Lose? It’s a bit of a banger.
It’s one of the first songs I wrote for the new album, maybe two years ago in Berlin. I was trying to capture this completely crazy love and relationship I was in, and in some ways still am in. We seemed to live a week in a day, just stormed around and experienced life so much with each other. I guess the only thing we didn’t fully let go of was ourself to each other completely. We were really close and that has been the story ever since – that we are almost there but never quite. He knows that most of the album I’m writing is about him.
Can you imagine what it was like to musicians in the past who had to try to launch a career and keep their sexuality secret?
I mean, a lot of popstars still keep that a secret because they are afraid that people will see them as less masculine. They worry it will turn away a large part of their audience. The whole concept of masculinity and sexuality is the discussion we need to have. We need to say once and for all that those two are not connected. Masculinity is one thing, sexuality is another. What you do in the bedroom doesn’t necessarily influence who you are – at least, that’s how I feel. I don’t wake up and think “I’m gay.” I wake up and think I’m a happy human being. I’m a boy who wants to get the most out of life and get the most out of the people I live it side by side with.
The whole concept of masculinity and sexuality is the discussion we need to have
Which modern LGBTQ+ stars do you find most inspiring?
People like Troye Sivan and Olly Alexander are incredible. It’s so exciting right now how they are definitely a part of creating a wider spectrum for guys. I really hope that some non-gay artists do the same as well. The only thing I can be sad about being an openly gay artist, is that I won’t connect with all the straight guys. And they actually need to hear that message even more. The message comes across beautifully in both Troye Sivan and Olly’s music and their visual identity. I have so much respect for what they are doing. I just want more.
Do you think people like Olly and Troye will help develop an even stronger generation of young gay people?
I hope so. A part of my mission is – and it’s so easy as a minority, whether that’s sexuality or whatever – it’s super important that we stop victimising ourselves. We need to create a narrative for ourselves that we don’t, by default, think of ourselves as victims because of our sexuality or because we’re in a minority. We should think of that as a strength and think of ourselves as important influencers instead of victims.
Writing songs with a lot of different people, it’s somehow an automatic approach to be the victim in pop music. It’s always ‘You did this to me’, ‘You broke my heart you son of a bitch’. That’s OK if that’s how you feel, but one should think about that each time we tell our life story. Whether that’s to our friends, through a song or whatever – if we can choose not to be the victim, we should.
It’s OK to be a vulnerable boy. That doesn’t mean you’re less masculine or any less of a man
So will you be getting deeper into LGBTQ+ issues on your new album?
Yeah. A lot. Lyrically, from the last album I’ve become quite ‘no-bullshit’ in my attitude. It’s very much about exploring the different parts of being a boy. Little did I know when I started making the album, I thought it was going to have an upbeat ‘boy power!’ vibe. But a big part of it is also about being strong in vulnerability. It’s OK to be a vulnerable boy. That doesn’t mean you’re less masculine or any less of a man. It’s a very widespread definition of what inner power or boy power should mean.
So what’s the current goal for you as Asbjørn the pop star?
I would really love to start travelling around and touring in all the weird places my music has reached. I’m so happy with the way things are right now, even though I’m not a part of the mainstream yet. I still get all these messages from all over the world with fantastic brave people telling their stories. That’s the most beautiful thing to me. Now I want to look them in the eyes and have that moment between us. A moment in the music where we really do feel united, fucking strong and vulnerable all at the same time. That’s it. That’s the dream.
Asbjørn’s new single, Nothing 2 Lose, is out now