Kindness is the acclaimed producer-musician who works with cool kids like Solange, Robyn and Dev Hynes. But in a recent lecture at the Red Bull Music Academy in Paris, the London-based musician (real name Adam Bainbridge) revealed that he almost threw away a career in music after experiencing homophobia and transphobia from critics.
The "This Is Not About Us" singer told the audience that, while he was coming up in the U.K.'s grime/nu-rave scene, a "toxic" blogger who went by the name Donald Crunk was gaining a large following and was invited to vote in the BBC's influential Sound Of poll. Kindness said he read about himself being referred to in "homophobic and transphobic terms," which was particularly troubling as he was questioning his sexual and gender identity:
"I was just like, 'Wait what? Where did this come from?' What was even more fucked up is that rather than being angry with him, I was like 'Wait, how did he know? Do people know this? Shit, what am I going to do? I can't be a grime producer if people know I'm gay, if people know I'm queer."
Kindness added that he was seriously considering transitioning and researching hormone therapy at the time, and that the comments made him temporarily end his career.
Kindness also had some very real words of advice for outsiders of all creeds and colors:
"The music industry is based on the talents on non-white people, of people of queer identity, that's where so much good music comes from. I look around this room and I see non-white faces, I see women, and I'm happy to see you here. But I'm going to tell you: It's going to be tough. It's still not a smooth ride, especially when even in the younger generation that's working in [the music industry]. They're still predominantly straight white guys. They have a language or a vocabulary among themselves. They don't even know how to talk to you, or about you, or how to understand your issues."
We're glad to see Kindness come out on top with two acclaimed albums to his name and a growing profile by the day. As for Donald Crunk, well, the dude's greatest claim to fame today is about a 1,000 Instagram followers. We hardly call that influential.