Oliver Sim shares new single ‘Hideous’ on his HIV diagnosis
The track is the latest preview of Sim’s debut solo album, “Hideous Bastard”, which was produced by Jamie xx and is slated for release on September 9 via Young.
Sim shared ‘Hideous’ today (May 23), which features Bronski Beat and The Communards’ Jimmy Somerville on guest vocals. It also comes with a new video directed by Yann Gonzalez, which you can see below.
In a note accompanying its release, Sim explained that “Hideous” explores his experience living with HIV.
“Early on creating my record, ‘Hideous Bastard,’ I realized I was writing a lot about fear and shame,” Sim wrote. “I imagine that might paint the picture of a dark, ‘woe is me’ album, but in recent years I have become firmly convinced that the best antidote to these feelings can bring them to the surface and make the light on them.
“I didn’t write the record to linger, but rather to free myself from some of the shame and fear that I felt for a long time. So I hear a lot of happy music, because the experience of writing it and recording it was the complete opposite of what the fear and shame was for me.
Sim continued, “Two-thirds out of the way with a good idea of what the record was, I realized I had circled around one of the things that had probably caused me the most fear and shame. . My HIV status. I’ve been living with HIV since I was 17 and it depends on how I feel about myself and how I assume others feel about me, from that age and into my adult life.
“So quite impulsively I wrote about it on a song called ‘Hideous’. I thought I could release it into the world and be done with it. After playing the song to my mother, being the protective mother and wise as she is she gave me some of the best advice I have ever received She suggested that I first spend time having conversations with people in my life. who I hadn’t talked to yet, or people I had talked to about it but didn’t want to talk about anymore. Since I wrote ‘Hideous’, I’ve spent the two years of having these conversations, which was difficult and uncomfortable at first, but made me feel much freer and only strengthened my connection with myself and with the people in my life.”
Speaking of Somerville’s contribution to the song, Sim added: “One of the most special relationships I gained through it was with Mr. Jimmy Somerville. I knew for ‘Hideous’ I wanted ‘a guardian angel appears in the song and sings me the words I needed to hear Not only has Jimmy been such a powerful voice around HIV and AIDS for decades, the man literally looks like an angel I contacted him as a complete fan boy, but now consider him a very good friend. He encouraged me to do the song myself. He taught me that ‘glamour’ is a Scottish word. And, above all, he reminded me not to take myself too seriously, it’s no use!
“’Am I hideous?’ sounds much less like a question I ask the world now. I know the answer. As scary as it sounds, I’m thrilled to share this music with you, and hope you enjoy it.
Speaking in a statement today, Ian Green, CEO of Terrence Higgins Trust (the UK’s leading HIV and sexual health charity), said: “Oliver’s exploration of the shame he felt following his HIV diagnosis in his first solo material will be hugely impactful. The song “Hideous” is a powerful insight into the shame and internalized stigma that many of us experience with HIV, where we outrun others’ opinions of us at the expense of our mental health and wellbeing. .
“As Oliver shows, you can now live a long and healthy life with HIV and a diagnosis doesn’t have to stop you from achieving your dreams. But that does not mean that the diagnosis is easy to receive and why we must continue to do the work necessary to end the stigma that still surrounds HIV. No one living with HIV should feel hideous or less, but all too often we know they do.
“We are sure that many more people will discover the incredible progress that has been made in HIV prevention, testing and treatment thanks to Oliver. Including that we can say with absolute certainty that a person living with HIV and on effective treatment cannot pass it on to their partners.
“But, as Oliver’s song shows, stigma remains a huge problem for people living with HIV and has a significant negative impact on well-being, sex and relationships. It also prevents others from coming forward to be tested and access life-changing treatment. This is why it is so important that we all work for a world without HIV stigma – because only then can we also stop new transmissions of HIV.
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