The [Gay] Wedding Singer

As marriage equality expands, artists find new venues for their talents

New York recently became the sixth state to legalize gay marriage. The ruling has opened new business opportunities for florists, wedding planners and club artists, many of whom are now clamoring to moonlight as wedding singers.

Out hip-popper Aiden Leslie looks forward to performing his first gay wedding “for the simple reason that it is exercising our equal rights,” he says. Photo Credit: Project Publicity   “Weddings are big business,” confirms Kristine W who ranks as one of today’s most popular gay club artists. She has had 16 number-one dance singles — only Madonna and Janet Jackson have had more.

“My highest paid private performance was at a wedding for the daughter of the late Kerry Packer, one of the wealthiest men in Australia. He flew my whole Vegas show over to England,” she says.

Weddings are proving a profitable subsidy for club artists who have been struggling with decreased record sales (due to internet music pirating) and club bookings (due to the weakened economy).

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“Clubs used to bring artists in every weekend,” laments Miss W. “Now they book artists once a month and offer smaller fees.”

She says it’s even worse for the support team behind the artist. “They (clubs) have stopped bringing in back-up singers and dancers. They’re not paying for sound people. Some bookings don’t include hotel accommodations.”

“The business has shrunk, but if you don’t adapt, you will be sitting home,” she warns.

It’s not just about the money for some artists. Out hip-popper Aiden Leslie looks forward to performing his first gay wedding “for the simple reason that it is exercising our equal rights,” he says.

He feels his track, “Worlds Away,” is a perfect gay wedding song because “it is about putting the past behind you, looking toward the future and knowing that anything is possible.”

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Massachusetts-based club artist, Sariah, has been performing gay weddings since they were legalized in her state seven years ago. She is best known for her club hit, “All About Sex,” but it’s her single, “Believe in Me,” that is most requested at nuptials. “It’s the story of two lovers meeting and learning to build and believe in their love together.”

“The main difference between performing a gay wedding verses a straight one, is the underlying accomplishment felt by all,” she says. “There is a certain shared pride that we have fought to make this happen. It makes the celebration that much more celebratory.”

In addition to New York and Massachusetts, gay marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire and Vermont. Washington, D.C. and the Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon also allow gay marriage.

In addition to performing gay weddings, club artist Lala sees opportunity in creating music specifically for gay weddings. “As a songwriter and singer, I look to current trends to influence my work. I’m currently in the studio working on new tracks that talk about same-sex marriage.”

In the meantime, she says her club hit “I Love My Sex” is surprisingly appropriate for gay weddings. “It’s about boys loving boys and girls loving girls, appreciating their same gender for all its beauty.”

She asks, “What better way to show appreciation for your gender than to marry it?” : :

— Provided courtesy Project Publicity

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