Q: You were classically trained when studying voice. What brought you to singing, or music generally, in the first place? When did it become something you knew you wanted to pursue on a professional level (perhaps describe that “moment” of knowing)?
DORYAN: I was just always obsessed with pop music. I think it’s when I started to write music at 17 that things started to click. I was never interested in doing covers, apart on a night out doing karaoke of course, I just was interested in expressing myself fully through music and songwriting is the ultimate form of expression. When I started doing music videos as fun projects with friends, I thought, “Let’s move to London and give this a proper go!”
Q: What was the songwriting process of “Peach” like? Knowing that the LGBT+ community was heavily impacted by the pandemic, what was your main goal in creating this song?
DORYAN: 2020 has obviously been incredibly hard on all of us. But I think the LGBTQ+ community has taken an extra hit because we just come together all summer at Pride events and at our local venues. They’re like a second family for a lot of us. With all that being gone, it just felt like we lost our joy, the spark that makes us special. “Peach” is supposed to set the mood for a year 2021 that should hopefully be better. It’s an early taste of Pride season, to shake the blues away! On the surface it’s a sexy song about booty as an ode to the juiciest fruit, but it’s also meant to be a body positive anthem. For the music video, I’ve contacted a lot of friends, in order to really create something special and fun, but quite a few people just weren’t feeling good enough to film something like this. They gained weight during lockdown, or they just felt depressed or not in the mood. It just made me realise we really needed a project like this, so I doubled down and made it as fun as I possibly could! If this track got you excited for the Summer, then my job is done! The gays are about to go WILD!
It was really important for me to do something that was really for the queer community to enjoy.
Q: You won “London’s Pride Got Talent 2014” and got to perform at Trafalgar Square. How was that experience for you? Now that it’s been a few years, how would you say your music, and you, have changed since?
DORYAN: That has to be up to this day my favourite memory. I had just moved to London months before and winning this major competition just off the bat, made me feel invincible! Whenever I feel blue and my confidence level hits a new low, I try to remember that day, try to channel that feeling I felt when I won. I auditioned with enormous leather platform boots which I also credit for my confidence boost!
My first EP, “The Line”, was released shortly after and the visuals and tracks were unapologetically queer, which is something that is extremely important to me. However, I realised it hurt me in the industry as I know it put off a few prospective collaborators, so I decided to tone it down with my subsequent releases. Now, in 2021, I don’t care anymore about how I think I’m perceived or what I should be doing to be successful. I’m just back to doing exactly the kind of music I want and it’s very liberating!
Q: What do you want to accomplish with the music that you create?
DORYAN: My main ambition with my music is to infuse in it the same excitement and drama as the main “pop divas”. I feel that male solo acts tend to lack a sense of sensationalism. I want to use my sexuality in music the same way that female pop acts do. I want to bring that same level of joy and camp and fun that I feel male solo acts tend to lack nowadays. I mean, Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson had that sense of drama and since then, some other acts like Adam Lambert and The Weeknd have also brought this bigger than life approach to their performances over the years, but otherwise, it’s been a little dry on the male solo act scene for decades.
Q: What has been the highlight of your music career? What has been a challenging part that you believe may have pushed you to be a better performer or artist?
DORYAN: The highlight of my career has been writing the song for Pride in London in 2017. That is the project that is dearest to my heart. It still baffles me that so many amazing artists all came together to perform a piece of music I wrote. I am forever humbled by this and only have warm memories of the whole recording process, music video shoot and the performance on Trafalgar Square. The song is called “The Rest of Us” performed by the Pride in London family.
In terms of challenges, I will say that being an artist is quite a lonely path sometime, especially when trying to finish a particular song. You can get riddled with doubt and getting to that finish line takes a toll on your mental health. But that’s the beauty of music, is that it is also a healing process and by the end of a song’s production stages I just feel overwhelmed with happiness.
Q: Your confidence on stage is infectious. You have a phenomenal stage presence. How have you developed that over time?
DORYAN: Thank you so much! I really love performing, it’s what brings me the most joy. Getting to connect with an audience, there’s really no other thrill like it. I think as a gay man, my penchant for the dramatics has been developing for years, since I was a little boy singing to Britney Spears and the Spice Girls pretending I was doing a show at Wembley in my own room, so that surely helped! I think I’ve always had that spark for the performing arts, what I honed through the years as I performed more and more is the technical side to the craft. I’ve also learned to perform for any audience, no matter the size, like it was that show at Wembley in front of thousands of people. It’s important to bring that level of energy every single time, even if you’re performing for three people in a dodgy bar, which I’ve surely done!
Q: What’s next for you?
DORYAN: I’m currently finishing a track that will be released this summer. It’s called “Touch Me!” and it’s a gay sex anthem in a COVID world! I wrote this in 2020 during the first lockdown. The lack of human touch was really hitting me, even though I was lucky enough to be living with my boyfriend, I could still feel it and “Touch Me!” is an 80s influenced bop, longing for the days where we could go out to the clubs, flirt with strangers and go home with multiple of them that same night! It’s a proper throwback! Touch is so essential to our functioning as human beings, it’s one of our primal senses. Suddenly we’re in a dystopian future, well now present, where we’re supposed to keep physical contact with other human beings to a minimum. It’s the stuff of nightmares and “Touch Me!” was my way to exorcise the fear and anxiety. I can’t wait for you all to hear it!
Interviewed by Kat Rendon