Gus Presents Poppers at Lookout Saturday, July 2nd hosted the Mr. Gay World USA tour. The tour featured international artists Anine Stang and Hera Bjork. After both ladies performed after midnight, they sat backstage with me. Hera and I enjoyed a great conversation that began about her music which quickly transitioned to gay rights in Iceland.
Examiner: I’m backstage at Lookout with Hera Bjork. How are you feeling after an amazing performance?
Hera Bjork: I’m feeling quiet well! Thank you for asking.
E: I hear a bit of an accent, where are you from?
HB: I’m from Iceland.
HB: Yea! It’s on the other end of planet really (laughing).
E: That would make you an Ice ….
E: I was thinking Icelandic
HB: I am Icelandic but an Icelander.
E: So either or?
HB: I’m both at the same time (laughing)
E: So what brings you an Icelander to warm San Francisco?
HB: Well, I met with Jarl Hangedal, the founder of Mr. Gay World USA in Norway in 2010 when I was competing in a huge show in Europe called the Eurovision Song Contest. The show has a viewership of 150 million viewers. It’s all the countries of Europe participating; they send a performer with a song and we compete against each other which is followed by tele-voting.
E: It sounds very similar to American Idol here in the states.
HB: Yes but the Eurovision song contest has been going on since 1956. It’s an amazing event and Jarl and I met there. He was hosting an event that I was performing at and we just clicked immediately. He owns a Hotel in New York and he invited me over. In New York, he started telling me about his Mr. Gay World competition and I loved the idea. I love the humanitarian involvement in the competition. Not only does it include amazing, good-looking guys in their Speedo’s but also includes using Gay for Good which is a human rights twist and I love that. I said I was definitely in and he said we would love to have you come over and perform. I couldn’t say no because I knew it was going to be amazing.
That’s how it started and we’ve been planning it ever since. We’ve been in New York and Los Angeles. Now we here (San Francisco) on our way to Florida. That’s how it all started, in Norway actually.
E: Your voice blew me away tonight! What were the names of the songs you performed tonight?
HB: Thank you! The first song was actually the song I performed in the Eurovision song contest back in 2010. It’s called Je Ne Sais Quoi. The second song is a song that I just released worldwide on iTunes, it’s called Feel the Love Tonight. It’s a present for me from Iceland to be able to work Gay Prides all over the world. I’m performing in Denmark this year. I performed at Stockholm Pride last year. I’ve performed at Reykjavik Pride this year and New York. Missed yours (San Francisco) Pride sadly but I’m going to be here next year.
E: Jarl made a reference to your song Feel the Love Tonight being the official song of Pride
HB: Yea. That’s the fans of Mr. Gay World USA who have called Feel the Love Tonight the official Gay Pride song of 2011. Nobody has a Gay Pride song and I’m like ‘why not!?’ So this is it. If somebody wants to have another official Gay Pride song they are welcomed too. This was just a beautiful song that was the fans felt embodied the happy feeling of Gay Pride. I’m going to be performing it in Reykjavik, Iceland in August in Icelandic.
E: Where can your fans hear your music?
HB: Look for me on iTunes. I have a Facebook. I’m on myspace; www.myspace.com/herabjorkmusic. I do different genre’s as well; I do jazz, soulful, I’ve been in musicals; I’ve been around for a long time (laughing). I love the gay scene. I have so many friends and family that are in the gay community. It’s something that I really want to support.
E: What’s the Icelandic gay scene like?
HB: Well, it’s small. We are only 300,000 people so it’s small and I think I know everyone (laughing). We have a gay prime minister. Her name is Johanna Sigurdardottir, she’s a lesbian. She just got married last year when gay marriage was allowed in churches in Iceland. In 2005, they approved the law for gays to get married.
E: Wow! You guys are a lot more advanced with gay rights compared to here in the states.
BG: Yea, I know. When I went and read about it here, I was speechless. This is basic human rights and everyone should be able to marry the ones they love. I’m proud to be an Icelander from that point of view. We just want to support the rest of the world.
E: Besides touring with Mr. Gay World USA, what else are you doing from the Summer going into the Fall?
HB: I’m going to have a vacation (laughing). I’m actually going to Germany from here. We go to Florida then I fly back to Germany for a gig. Then I’m back in Iceland, meeting my family I have two beautiful children and a beautiful man waiting for me. So we’re going on vacation for two weeks then it’s the Gay Pride in Reykjavík in Iceland.
E: When is Reykjavík Gay Pride?
HB: It’s the second week in August. Then I’m flying to Denmark to sing and perform at Pride there. Then I go to Finland. Somewhere in-between I go to New York (laughing).
E: You are traveling between New York and Europe for the most part.
HB: yea, it’s amazing. It’s a fantastic opportunity for me and I love the whole thing.
E: You performed two songs for us tonight. Is one of them a single you are pushing right now?
HB: Yes. The Gay Pride song, Feel the Love Tonight is the single I am promoting.
E: Is Feel the Love Tonight going towards an album?
HB: Today, you don’t do albums. We have a Mr. Gay World USA album with five tracks; there of mine and two of Anine’s and one of my tracks is Feel the Love Tonight. The album is also available on iTunes. I’m just going to keep bringing out singles and singles until we have an album followed by a nice photo shoot and then the albums ready.
E: You’re right, albums are a thing of the past. Today it is all about the remix. Are there any dance remixes in the works right now?
HB: Yes there are.
E: What producers are you working with?
HB: I have a fantastic producer that I am working with. His name is (check CD for spelling. He’s my partner in this and as for now, I’m just working with him. We are wide open to work with people. We love talent; we love people with new sound. We are open for anything. The music scene is wide open and the possibilities are endless.