Out pop star Who Is Fancy discusses identity and representation in new music videos










Jake Hagood is an emerging out artist better known by his stage name, Who Is Fancy. He's going on tour with Meghan Trainor this month, but for the first few months of his career he kept his identity secret. When he released the lead single, "Goodbye," from his upcoming debut album, the Internet became fixated on trying to find out who the lovely voice belonged to. Fancy had decided to create three different music videos for "Goodbye," each highlighting issues like gender identity and body positivity. With the separate videos, he is making an effort to, "help people, young people especially, start those dialogues and have those conversations" about being who you are and having empathy for others.

In an interview with The Advocate, Fancy addresses his initial decision to keep his identity secret. He explains, "I was hesitant because I wanted people to hear my music and I wanted it to be about my music and not about my sexuality or who I am as a person, so I think the secrecy kind of really helped elevate people in hearing my story and hearing what I had to say." That ambiguity seems to have given power to his videos' message about identity, representation, and openly sharing experiences. It created an unbiased narrator, just a human empathizing with other humans' experiences regardless of how they identify – as it would be in an ideal world. Fancy says that in the video, "everyone is being asked to change, everyone is being told that they are not OK the way they are, and that’s kind of the environment I grew up in, so regardless of sexuality or race or gender, it’s like the whole point of those videos is to show that we all go through the same things and have the same pressure on us. It doesn’t really matter what walk of life you come from." His ideas promote the importance of understanding and acceptance between all people.

He appreciates how revealing his identity has positively affected his fans.  "I have a lot of young people emailing me, telling me their stories and sharing with me who they are and how my song and who I am has helped them." To make a difference in someone's life by helping them be heard is very gratifying to Fancy. When asked about becoming a voice and icon for the LGBT community, he said he considers it an honor. "I have a responsibility to a lot of people, and I am able to lend my voice to a cause … I'm thankful for it."

He elaborates that in the videos, "you see three different people with three different struggles, and all three of those struggles are something I relate to, and I think that a lot of people relate to them as well." By telling the stories of those three people, he hopes to tell the stories of many around the world and help them feel heard. Speaking to the importance of representation, Fancy says, "It’s one of those things where I grew up feeling like I didn’t have a voice, and I didn’t have someone who I could really look up to. I was stretching to find songs that helped tell my story and my life because there wasn’t someone telling my story or my life. This album that I’m working on, I’m really excited that there are going to be boys like me, living the way I grew up, and they’re going to have someone telling their story. I’m singing these songs for them to relate to, so I’m excited to be a voice for people who might not have one."

Fancy is accelerating acceptance by amplifying a range of seldom heard voices. You can watch his music videos below!