Alex The Astronaut’s ‘Not Worth Hiding’ is one of the most wonderful and inspiring songs of recent times. We spoke to her about its message and importance in our brilliant Unwrapped feature.
‘Not Worth Hiding’ has a wonderful message, did you feel that now is an important time politically to release the song?
I really just wanted young people to hear the story. I had such a hard time working out how I’d fit into the world when I grew up, I wanted young people to hear someone tell a story of how they did it and I felt that that was the best way I could help them. There’s a big same sex marriage debate happening in Australia at the moment (we have to do a postal survey on SSM which will then decide if the bill will be entered into Parliament) which I obviously didn’t know would be happening the same week the song came out haha. We’d put the release date in place well before that all had happened, but I’m glad that people who are struggling with any negative homophobic stuff get to hear a positive story about being happy with who you are.
You’ve said that you wrote the song for a 16 year old you, was there any songs or artists in particular when you were younger which inspired you in similar ways?
It sounds very lame but when Macklemore’s “Same Love” came out that was the first time I heard someone tell me it was alright to be gay, and the first time I heard someone stand up for me. I was in my last year of school and I was probably the most worried I’d ever been about coming out so I remember hearing it and thinking ‘okay this is good I think things are changing’.
What was the writing process like dealing with such an important topic?
I started writing the song around the time I came out, which was three or four years ago, and I kept getting too worried about it and stopping and starting. When I started writing this final version of it I was thinking, just go back to that time and think of the things you were doing and what you would have needed someone to tell you, and write it from future Alex.
The track highlights a few past experiences, were there any specific moments you focussed on when you were writing the track?
I remember my best friend Georgia and I skipped class one day and I tried to tell her that I liked girls and I couldn’t do it and I just cried. I felt like I would never be able to tell anyone if I couldn’t tell her but time went on and suddenly people at our school started to come out and it took me until I left school and I had a group of friends who unanimously supported LGBT people that I brave enough to come out. I’d heard a lot of homophobic comments growing up, especially whilst playing sport and with politics in Australia. I talk about that in the song when I sing about the newspaper.
How have people been reacting to the track?
Really well, which is so incredible. I think this is the most personal song I’ve written, I was so worried that I would feel too exposed or something but it’s been such a warm and kind response I am so happy about it. I’m really glad I’ve been getting messages from people saying that the song has helped them so I’m glad I pulled my head in and wrote it!