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Worlds Away
Aiden Leslie
[T]here is a big resistance with DJs to male artists. It's very frustrating, that they do not like to play them... all of these great male singers. It's unfortunate that you really do not hear male vocals on the dance floor. I want to change that. - Aiden Leslie
by Michael Shinafelt
Aiden Leslie
Aiden Leslie

After igniting the dance floor a few years ago with a cover of the Erasure song "Love to Hate You," Aiden Leslie is back!

His latest dance/pop single, "Worlds Away," is currently tearing up dance floors around the world and conquering the airwaves on VH-1 & MTV.

Hey Aiden, can we talk?

MS: It's funny, I was at Trader Joe's a few hours before our chat and heard "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You" played there. It must be serendipity, since I know Elvis was one of your influences!

AL: It is, yeah, totally!

MS: How did Elvis inspire you?

AL: Elvis was my earliest memory that I had in terms of a performer or entertainer. My parents were big fans and were always playing his records. He was in my household and always around. I have the memory of being blown away by him, and imitating him. I told my mother that I wanted to be Elvis when I grew up (laughs). He had this appeal to men and women.

MS: I was watching your video for "World's Away" and noticed that is a quality that you have as well.

AL: I love that comment! I wanted the video and the song to be universal and for everyone, male, female, straight, gay to take something from it.

MS: The coolest thing is with auto tone and all the sound tweaking that is used in the studio these days you can tell you actually have a voice when you hear the song.

AL: Thank you! That's what I love about performing live, is that I can really get out there and sing. It's a whole different animal when you are in the studio recording something, you of course want to get the best take and it is not as organic or spontaneous.

MS: Your voice shines through and with some people you do not get that.

AL: I know what you mean. In music the pre-requisite is not to necessarily have a great voice. It's an interesting dynamic as there are many artists out there that have something more than just that particular thing.

MS: Give me your personal thoughts on your current single, "World's Away."

AL: I took a break for a couple of years from music. When I came back, I thought about what it is I really want to say. What do I want to translate, what do I want to share? So, working from that place, having been through a lot of personal things in the last few years, it's been a struggle to get back on track and connected to where I am really supposed to be. "World's Away" is about that struggle and making those changes in your life towards your greater good.

MS: Something interesting you said, which is true to the dance/pop world, is DJs are not really interested in playing male dance/pop artists, only the divas.

AL: Yes, there is a big resistance with DJs to male artists. It's very frustrating, that they do not like to play them. I am someone who grew up listening to the likes of Andy Bell, George Michael... all of these great male singers. It's unfortunate that you really do not hear male vocals on the dance floor. I want to change that.

MS: It can be very monotonous.

AL: Yeah, it's about the divas all the time. What about the devos? (Laughs.)

Aiden Leslie

MS: While we are on the subject of Andy Bell and devos, your first song was a cover of Erasure's "Love to Hate You". What drew you to that song?

AL: That's a great question. Growing up in Cincinnati, I moved to New York right when I turned 18. There was a club right near the University of Cincinnati and they always played really alternative music. Of course, they played Erasure. I remember being on the dance floor at 17, with my best friend Melissa. I had a fake ID (laughs) and hearing "Love to Hate You" and being really taken with it. I was so moved. Erasure was the first concert I ever saw when I moved to New York City. I always said to myself if I was ever to do a cover that's the song I wanted to do.

MS: The video for "Worlds Away" is in rotation right now on MTV and VH-1. That must be cool.

AL: Yes, it is. It's very cool.

MS: It must be nice not to be pigeonholed specifically as a gay artist.

AL: It is nice. I am an artist who happens to be gay and I am not hiding that. I am open to whatever comes my way. I am very excited!

Take a trip "World's Away" at www.aidenleslie.com.

Michael Shinafelt
Michael Shinafelt has covered pop & dance music since he first burst on to the writing scene, interviewing everyone from pop icon Olivia Newton-John to pop artist E.G. Daily. Not to mention the many dance divas (male and female) who he has crossed paths with. Other interviews of note are Pamela Anderson, Heidi Fleiss, as well as cover stories on Margaret Cho and Kathy Griffin. Peace.
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