Thursday, 13 October 2011

Kele Okereke – Singer, Bloc Party

b, 13 October 1981

British musician, best known as the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the indie rock band Bloc Party.

Okereke was born in Liverpool to Roman-Catholic Igbo Nigerian parents, and attended Trinity Catholic High School, Woodford Green for sixth form. He lived in Bethnal Green, and in 1998 he became friends with Russell Lissack, who would become Bloc Party's guitarist. A year later, Okereke met Lissack again at Reading Festival, where the band was officially formed under the title of 'The Angel Range'. In 2001, Okereke moved out of his parents' home. He went on to meet Gordon Moakes and Matt Tong who became the band's permanent bass guitarist and drummer, respectively. In 2003, the band changed its name to Bloc Party after briefly being called Union.

Okereke is extremely shy. He has expressed disdain for interviews, asking one interviewer from Skyscraper magazine, "Why is it important to know what I had for breakfast? Or who I went to bed with? Or whatsneakers I am wearing? " However, in March 2010 Okereke came out as gay in a Butt magazine article,and he then gave an interview and appeared on the front cover of the June 2010 issue of Attitude magazine. He also discussed the homoerotic story behind the Bloc Party song "I Still Remember" and the semi-autobiographical nature of it. In June 2010 Okereke was named as the Sexiest Out Gay Male Artist by music website LP33 in its annual survey.

He was listed at number 35 on the DS list of "50 Most Influential Gays", 2011:
How many gay, black, lead singers of Indie bands can you name? Probably just the one. Bloc Party had hit albums like A Weekend In The City and Silent Alarm before Kele released his debut solo album in 2010, and first discussed his homosexuality. “I’m always stopped by young, gay kids who say it’s really refreshing and encouraging to see someone like me being out in a relatively mainstream band,” says Kele. “If I’d have had someone saying it’s okay to be you when I was a teenager, I’d probably be a very different person. That is why I’m doing this now. It’s good to show that gays come in all shapes and sizes."
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