As lead singer of British indie-rock band Bloc Party, Kele Okereke dealt with a fair amount of journalists. Unlike many other musicians, however, Okereke could sniff out when one was trying to squeeze specific facts out of him.
"You can tell when a journalist is trying to lead you down a path, when they have written the story in their head and the interview is just about filling it in," he told the The Advocate for its June cover story. "It’s hard to go along with that."
In fact, his disillusionment with journalists pushed him to feed fake stories to the media just to get a rise out of people. For example, the National Enquirer ran a story claiming that Bloc Party's security guards dragged Madonna out of the band's dressing room in a headlock. (Awesome, but completely untrue.)
Now, Okereke is pursuing a solo music career, writing a book of short stories, and living in New York.
"I’ve been able to have a very Bohemian lifestyle, just writing and walking slowly around and seeing what there is, in a city that’s probably the most intense, work-driven city on the planet," said Okereke. "I’ve been able to witness or observe a way that people interact completely removed from the situation."
He's also focusing on being a gay role model.
"The idea of being a spokesperson for people, the idea that your words go on and have a life outside of you, it [is] just a bit intimidating," he said. "I’m still working out who I am. I’m still working out what I stand for."
Although Okereke's religious Nigerian parents kicked him out of the house when he came out to them in 2000, they have since come around and started to accept him. Now he talks to his mother almost every day.
"They love me, and they understand that I’m happy, and we’re finding a way."