Anybody who has studied some of the biggest artists who’ve ever touched the stage such as Michael Jackson, Usher Raymond, and Chris Brown is bound to follow in the same footsteps of greatness. Furillostar hails from Flint, Michigan. His story is phenomenal but his talent is undeniable. If you haven’t discovered him before, then you will definitely know who is he today!
Furillostar was actually a shy kid growing up, but he found many of his creative gifts through his mother, who was a trained jazz dancer. Watching his mother inspired him to follow his dreams despite his crippling fear of performing in front of audiences.
Well, today he has performed throughout the state of Michigan as well as on some of the biggest pride festival stages around the US. But he didn’t become this instant striving artist overnight. Like many of us, he faced huge challenges.
When he was young, his mother was told that he may not be able to walk. Fast forward to now he is able to do more than what was expected of him. He was able to become an incredible dancer and an all-rounded performer.
Furillostar is a fighter and a true testament that all miracles can happen even when others try to say otherwise. Being an openly gay artist isn’t easy especially when you’re discriminated against by peers in the same industry as you. But I believe when artists like Furillostar step on the scene, it’s hard to deny their star quality. No matter what challenges come his way or how many doors may be closed due to his sexuality, his voice will still be heard!
While being featured in major publications such as Billboard, Paper Magazine, and Gay Times, Furillostar is here to leave his mark on the world. We haven’t seen the best of him yet!
He’s on his way to achieving great things. I would love for you guys to support him by streaming his first EP, “Pride” which he released in the summer of 2018!
We have to support our very own. We have to uplift artists within our community who are often overlooked or ignored altogether because of their sexuality. We can not become recognized until we recognize each other first!
We support celebrities who don’t even support us outside of their careers, so why not support those who live in this lifestyle every single day?
Check out my exclusive interview with Furillostar!
I’ve had this dream my whole life literally since I was 3 and I always felt it was intangible because I was gay. Or queer.
The first question I would like to ask you is what inspired you to do music?
Music has always been around me. It was everywhere growing up. So I always wanted to be an entertainer since I was 3. But what truly inspired me was seeing artists like Michael Jackson, Usher, and Chris Brown. I wanted to be them, literally. I used to sit in front of the TV copying and learning all the dance moves from their videos [lol]. I was that kid.
That’s amazing and we also have to point out the fact that those artists have inspired 3 different generations of music lovers and artists today. So being inspired by Michael Jackson, Usher, and Chris Brown, would you consider your music a pop sound mixed with an urban touch?
Definitely! I consider myself R&B/Pop. It’s the music I grew up listening to, and to this day it’s my favorite genre of music.
I love your name! It’s so unique and catchy. What inspired you to come up with it?
Thank you. And well my middle name is actually “Furillo” [lol] and when I was about thirteen I added star, while I was trying to pick an artist name for myself. And it just stuck.
In 2020 it seems like there’s a new avenue for LGBTQ artists. We have major artists like Lil Naz X, Big Freedia along with newcomer Saucy Santana, and a list of many others. How do you feel as an openly gay artist to be pursuing your career in a time where gay artists are being embraced?
I honestly feel like it’s my time. It’s inspiring to see so many LGBTQ artists thrive. Seeing my peers win like Dryx, Taylor Gray, Shah, Young KSB and Tunde Olinarian motivates me to really be out here doing my thing and working hard. I love that we’re not only creating our own Avenue, but we also riding with the majors. Especially making it to Billboard & Paper Magazine.
I was just about to ask you about Billboard and Paper Magazine along with Gay Times. Congratulations on being recognized by mainstream publications such as those iconic platforms.
How does it make you feel to know that your name is buzzing and you’re being published in these major publications as a black gay man?
Omg, I’m still pinching myself, sometimes I go into my phone and look at the screenshots, and what each pub has to say about my records and literally tear up every time. It’s an honor, I’m so blessed, I’m so grateful and thankful. And coming from a very small city where not a lot of artists get that type of opportunity to be seen on that level. It makes me want to go even harder to shine a light on all the talent and young black people from my city. And also showing future queer little black boys they can be and do anything that wants.
Your first EP titled “Pride” was something you released a couple of summers ago. It’s a 6-track project and it gained over 20k plays on Spotify in only two months and still buzzing. As an INDIE artist, how was that experience like for you creating Pride as your first body of work? and tell us what made you decide to name it Pride?
I love Pride, that’s my first baby. [lol] it’s funny because a lot of people related “Pride” to actually LGBTQ “Pride” but the title came from me being right at the edge of fully giving up on myself, I lost everything. Material things, and emotionally I was checked out. And linking up with writers “Drew & Brelia Renee” and producers “Block Symfany” they really instilled me what I already had. But almost like made me realize it again. And one convo we had Drew said “take pride and what you do, your talented” and it actually came from that convo I decided to name the EP Pride. Coming out shortly after it all just tied into each other. [lol]
I did read online that during the time of recording Pride you were really battling some personal things regarding your career, etc. What helped you get out of that dark place that helped you keep pushing the music?
Working with Brelia Reneé and Block Symfany definitely they really boosted me up and gave me confidence. They really put in the effort to working with me and giving me what I felt I need as an artist.
That’s incredible that you were able to pull strength from great friends who are also your peers in the industry. On Facebook, you shared, “Coming out as queer was a journey for me, especially in my career path. But once I stepped out into my own and started to live in my truth, my life couldn’t have been any better than it is now. And everything I was afraid of, I’ve been embraced by people because of it. I can’t wait to show other little black queer boys they to can be exactly who they are and still achieve their dreams. #HAPPYPRIDE”
What’s one piece of advice you would like to give to young black queer men and even women who want to be like you, an artist with a buzzing name in major publications and a growing fan-base?
Oh wow, I would tell them, no matter what, believe and trust in yourself, don’t listen to what anyone has to say about your talents and your gifts because they are yours. Believe in yourself more than anything, and if you want it, you can have it!
You speak a lot about LGBTQ lives matter issues on social media. I recently made a post addressing my thoughts and concerns regarding the Black Lives Matter movement and how I feel like there’s a lack of presence of LGBTQ in it. Do you feel like BLM should support LGBTQ issues as well?
I 100% feel like BLM should support LGBTQ issues as well because we are black, we are them, we are one. You can’t holler black lives matter and when one of you “trans brother or sisters” is murder you say nothing about it. It’s definitely a tough subject I get it, but if we fighting for black lives we should be fighting for all of them.
In your http://Flintbeat.com interview with journalist Allie Powers, she mentioned a great point about the music industry.
“It wasn’t always easy. Being authentic, for CJ, meant coming out as a gay hip-hop artist, in a genre of music that wasn’t always, and perhaps still isn’t in some circles, welcoming to gay people. It was a long road that brought him to the point where he was comfortable to fully express himself. That road was filled with many hurdles along the way, both dealing with homophobia and also the curve-balls that life, sometimes, just throws at you.”
When it comes down to the long road experience for you, how comfortable were you with yourself trying to break into a somewhat homophobic industry? Despite the fact, there is a huge gay sector of people in the industry. Homophobia is still present among artists and peers behind the scenes.
It was a very long road, I’ve always been comfortable with myself as a person. But as an artist there wasn’t anyone I could look directly and say, he’s like me. So it made me very self-conscious about my sexuality and doubt myself.
If you could collaborate with anybody, who would be your dream collab, and why?
Omg Chris Brown would definitely be my No.1, Missy Elliott, Normani I feel like we could get a on record and really serve some dope dance combos in a visual. The Dream, Neyo so many I could really go on forever.
You were approached by Flint-based music producers Block Symfany a talented duo known as Rio Da Ghost and Drew. What was that experience like for you as a new artist trying to create this dream career and to have people from your hometown to reach out to you?
Oh man, 3 years ago when they approached it was an honor. At first, I was hesitant because I was like oh here we go again, but something about Drew’s energy led me to believe I could trust him. And I’m glad I did. Having people respect means everything to me. And they respected me.
How was it like performing at pride festivals in Ypsilanti, Detroit, and Flint? What type of artist do you think those performances molded you into being today?
It’s an amazing experience truly. I think pride festivals are so refreshing to perform at because the whole event is organized around love. And being in that kind of space you can literally feel the love. And performing in front of straight crowds are cool too. I get relatively the same response because I know my demeanor or my music doesn’t come off as out as some other LGBTQ Artist may come off as. So it’s not that big of a difference, but definitely a difference.
You didn’t have the courage to come out of the closet publicly, until around 2018. What was that experience like for you and your career? Did it change the way some of your supporters looked at you or did it bring forth a bigger audience?
Yeah, as I said earlier I’ve always been out, there never was a closet as far as my personal life. But career I felt that should speak up and speak out, because of what I wanted to represent. And that’s someone real and someone honest. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be. I had so many people reach out with love. If there were people that turned away or didn’t wanna rock with me anymore, I couldn’t notice them from all the love I was receiving. My following definitely grew. My career started to flourish. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Let’s speak about your childhood cause often amazing artists, performers are some of the biggest shyest people you will ever meet. But somehow when they get on stage they become the star that they were born to be. So you were a shy child, and your first performance ever was during a school talent show.
What helped you get on the first stage or even the stages across your hometown in Flint, Michigan? And lastly, what advice would you give to people who may have stage fright but have a talent that they should showcase despite their fear of being center of attention?
I was supreme shy [lol]. I’m not sure how I got over it, I think I just wanted to dance. [lol] it’s so simple just do it. You just have to do it.
Your mother was a trained Jazz Dancer. Do you think your mother influenced you to dance?
Oh most definitely. My mom was a fantastic dancer and it was just something I naturally gravitated towards.
You were born with a condition affecting your feet and causing them to face backward. Doctors told your mother that you would never be able to walk. But thankfully you were able to successfully walk at ten months old and now you’re a performer. How does that make you feel knowing you went from struggling to walk at a young age to becoming a performer today?
It lets me know how hard I fight and what I can overcome to face such adversity being only a couple hours old, and having my legs broken weekly like that for ten months. I can truly accomplish anything. That’s truly how I feel. And no one can tell me anything different.
You have personally said that you never been judged for being gay. But your godfather, Bernard Jackson spoke about the times when unnamed producers, musicians, etc wouldn’t want to work with you because of your sexuality. How does that make you feel as an artist? And why do you feel like people care more about one’s personal life instead of just recognizing their talent and God-given gifts?
Yeah, it’s weird, I said I never felt judged because I have such a good support system and such a good team that anyone else that doesn’t want to work with me I don’t even fathom honestly. So I never felt it. It didn’t affect me. And still doesn’t make me feel any kind of way. Do I wish things could be different, yes, do I wish that people won’t judge someone based off of something so silly, yes? But that’s just how some people are. And that’s okay, they can keep that right where they at. I’m sure those same people are sitting at home watching me now. [lol] it’s all love though. Always.
Your family knew you were gay way before you knew or would come out and identify as a homosexual. What is it like for you as an artist to have such a support system behind you? Especially when a lot of black men in the LGBTQ community don’t always get that kind-of-love and support with their sexuality [let alone] being gay as a striving musician.
I’ve definitely was blessed to have the family that I do. Yes, they knew. I mean, how could they not? I’m up at 2-3 am dancing to Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Destiny’s Child [lol]. But it’s feel good and warm and safe. I feel safe around my family. It really gives me the boost to take on the world.
Do you think it’s harder for black LGBTQ artists to not only be public with their sexuality but then to try to achieve a career with the gay stigma attached to them? For some, it may be easier to just pretend to be heterosexual just to get through the doors. But to be openly gay as you start your career for many would be a very difficult experience. How do you feel being openly gay, buzzing artists on the rise?
I do feel it can be harder. You really need good people around you to keep you motivate and positive. And I do feel like everything I do has to be even better, I do feel the constant pressure of having to prove myself. But honestly, I don’t really think it’s any harder than any other young, black, independent artist on the rise. So I just wake up and work hard every day. And not even think about it too much.
For you as an artist, what’s your favorite aspect of your career? Would it be the writing/recording process or actually being on stage in front of an audience?
Definitely performing and getting to see how the fans and the audience connects with the music.
This is pride month and right now we’re all experiencing these sudden unexpected changes in the world due to COVID-19. As an artist who has performed at pride festivals, how does it make you feel not being able to perform at pride this year?
I was booked for a few Pride festivals again this year, and it broke my heart to not get to show this moment in person and connect with people. But the virtual pride I performed were so dope, I didn’t think it would still have the same effect but it really did.
I would just say continue to show pride. Express yourself. Love yourself and stay safe.
You have two music videos out currently Txt’N Me and Imagine. What inspired those two buzzing singles and do you plan on releasing any follow-up singles?
Imagine was inspired by the thought of wanting someone to see you and everything you could be. My writers, and I wanted to focus on an unconventional love story. Txt’n Me was inspired by nudes honestly. I love nudes. I gladly accept them. And I never heard a song talking about them so I wanted to make a record talking about it. More singles and visuals are definitely coming. And soon too. I’m so excited.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years in your career?
5-10 years I see myself, performing around the world. Maybe a couple of albums, tours, and movies under my belt. I also would love to start my own imprint and sign talent.
What’re some things you would love to say before we close out this interview for your fans and also new supporters who just found out about you today?
[Uhm] I feel like we talked about so much, I can’t think of anything [lol]. To new fans and supporters, HEY FRIEND! Welcome to the club
Share your social media for everybody to follow you.
@Furillostar on all Social Media.
Thanks for doing this interview with me! Don’t be a stranger and keep us updated with new music! I’ll definitely share it on JBA.
Thank you so much!