Bloc Partys Kele Okereke is engaged in a titanic struggle to keep himself entertained. Last October, Bloc Party announced they were going on hiatus, citing internal tensions and the need for a break. Okereke initially intended to take some time off and relax like the rest of the band.
Nine months later, the 29 year-old front man finds himself embarking on a whole new career of sorts. Today he releases The Boxer, a debut solo record that wades into a dance-inspired musical genre unlike anything hes done before. Hes been playing warm-up shows in Europe and now officially touring the U.S. with a new band, playing songs all his own for the first time.
And as if that werent enough, hes chosen this year to finally publicly confront the issue of his sexual orientation, which he long resisted discussing in the press. My parents are getting older, he explained recently in a moving interview. And I didnt like the idea that they could possibly die without knowing something that is a big part of my life.
What was supposed to have been a hiatus is turning out to be a defining year for Okereke hes taking control, shaping his own destiny, and hes working his ass off. I think watching people fight for sport is kind of gross, but I do like the idea that as a boxer you do have to rely on no one but yourself to get something done,” Kele explains on the record’s title. “You have to summon the energy and the strength from inside yourself even though youre getting knocked down and its hard, you have to keep going.
He seems driven, as if on a mission, to keep going. Ill have time off when Im an old man, he said recently. Okereke arrived at our offices wearing the grueling effects of a 10-hour press day, but determined to press on. He proceeded to regale us for over an hour with personal candor and a riveting acoustic performance. He even weaved a tall tale or two into the mix just to keep himself entertained.
Alex Moore is a writer for Death + Taxes, a a New York-based, national media company that focuses on providing readers with the very best editorial covering cutting-edge music, politics, photography, fashion, and pop culture. Check out the latest music news on Death + Taxes.
Videography: Blake Martin for StyleCaster