MNEK has been working in the music industry for nearly a decade, writing bangerz with such unknowns as Dua Lipa, Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Beyonce. After making his name behind the scenes, the singer-songwriter is finally releasing his debut album. We met up with MNEK to speak on navigating the music industry as an out and proud queer man of colour, the prejudices he receives from both within and outside of the community, and why he’s not ready to compromise for anyone.

“I think the public's perception of ‘gay being okay’ is Olly Alexander. Olly's my girl – I love him – so it's awesome that people see him, and they see someone who's so comfortable in himself. But I think even he would say that the lack of diversity and the lack of variety in that idea of what ‘gay being okay’ is, is alarming, disturbing, and discouraging. It's the world we live in. I'm not a politician, I'm not an activist, but my activism is my music.”