Four performances with Sofar London under her belt, Stars Walker, lead singer of soulful rock band Bang Bang Romeo, is taking the world by storm. Just weeks before the band sets off to support P!nk on her European tour, Stars talks with us about living in Yorkshire, being an out and proud lesbian artist, and celebrating the iconic music of Queen:
Her first Sofar:
We didn’t know what to expect, we just knew Sofar had this illustrious reputation for these secret shows. We thought it was a great concept and were so excited when we got the call that we were booked. We walked into the venue, full of tropical plants, and there were 150 people all sitting there silently waiting. We thought, “This is something we always want to be a part of.” It was a shock to the system, because we’re so used to rowdy shows. Our video of “Natural Born Astronaut” is from our first-ever experience. After that first time, we were hooked.
Dream act to see at a Sofar:
Thom Yorke or Radiohead. Can you imagine him in a living room with a guitar, just singing? I would have a breakdown. We’re massive Radiohead fans and take a lot of influence from him.
Artists she’s loving right now:
Obviously Billie Eilish, she’s a freaking 17-year-old. What she’s producing and the way she’s portraying herself is pretty damn cool. Also loving the new Mark Ronson album. Proper chilled music.
I’ve always been a big fan, but since we got announced for the P!nk tour, I’m going through the back catalogue and then starting over. I probably sound like the strange girl obsessed with the person she’s going on tour with.
Her favorite queer artists to soundtrack Pride:
I’m a massive Hayley Kiyoko fan. She’s really cool and not conforming to a stereotype. Also a huge fan of RuPaul and the whole show Drag Race, so I find myself listening to RuPaul and singing along in the shower after binge watching the whole thing.
What it was like to honor Queen at the Bohemian Rhapsody Sofar show:
When we were asked to do the Bohemian Rhapsody show, we didn’t find out who we were playing with or the venue until a few days before. Two days before, we found out it was Lily Allen and London Contemporary Voices. The venue, Killik & Co, was beautiful. It was a dream come true since we’re massive Queen fans. London Contemporary Voices did a full medley of Queen songs, and we did our version of “The Show Must Go On”, which is probably my favorite Queen song. The choir blew our heads off.
It was amazing to be a part of it, since we knew we were doing these shows in all different cities across the world. I spent so much time watching the videos from all the other Sofar shows around the world – amazing to hear one of my favorite bands covered by so many artists.
On her personal experience as a lesbian artist:
I’m from a mining village (Doncaster, Yorkshire), where it’s very rare to find an openly gay person on your street and very rare to find a female artist on your street, so when you put the two together, it was a bit weird. I’m a musician who’s a woman and gay.
I’ve never had any homophobic slurs thrown at me from crowds or the music community, as I’ve surrounded myself with wonderful musicians and people. It’s no longer an issue for me to be accepted in most places, but you still have lots of atrocities happening around the world. There are some countries I could visit where I would have to keep it kind of a secret that I’m a gay woman. That, as a musician who wants to tour the world and visit everyone, pisses me off a bit. It’s ridiculous. We still have a lot of steps to overcome. But, in the world I’ve experienced so far, the world has opened its arms to me.
For any LGBTQ+ artists who feel like they can’t express themselves through art and music, we have to open the door for them. I’ve got my hand on the door, so let’s open it.
How Bang Bang Romeo got selected to open for P!nk across Europe:
We were doing a showcase in London at The Social and P!nk’s agent came. We didn’t know, and she went back to P!nk and threw our hat in the mix to join the tour. P!nk ended up picking us! I was sitting at home and got the call – very weird day of my life. We can be watching acts on our laptops or at home on TV, but there’s something about these real connections. She found us in this small space. It’s about being in the right place and right time, so make sure you’re being in enough right places enough times. Massive thank you to her and her team for connecting all the dots and making that happen.
We’ll start the tour in Amsterdam on June 16, then do the run of UK dates, including Wembley Stadium. Playing that venue is a dream come true. Then we’ll do all of Europe for two months. I can’t wait. I think as an artist fresh on the scene, it’s a dream to have that opportunity to play in front of all these people. And I get to share a tour bus with a bunch of men, that’s going to be fun (not).
What makes her proud:
I’m proud to be an out lesbian woman and proud of the community I’m in for forever breaking down walls with a middle finger up to the haters.
I’m proud to be from Yorkshire! I live in Doncaster which had the first Pride in Yorkshire. I still live there, and a lot of musicians are moving north because loads of opportunities are springing up for bands and artists in Sheffield, Leeds and Doncaster. We’re seeing more and more artists from the south moving up. We’re a force to be reckoned with!
Cheers, Stars! We can’t wait to follow along as Bang Bang Romeo heads on tour.