When Stacey Tennen won the inaugural season of Queer Idol -- Canada's biggest LGBT talent competition -- the future looked bright. Three years after her landslide victory, Queer Idol (now re-branded as "Spectra") has funded Tennen's debut single "Partner In Crime" -- a catchy R&B song which showcases Tennen's impressive vocal range and powerful belt voice.
With the release of her debut single, Tennen finds herself optimistic that the music industry will embrace her as singer who is openly-lesbian. Tennen explains, "most recording artists come out after they've made it big, but I believe we're in a more tolerant era where society will accept openly gay performers."
Tennen, whose biggest musical influence is Mariah Carey, is hard-pressed to think of another lesbian recording act from Canada that found mainstream success despite being open about their sexuality since the launch of their career. "I'm hoping I'll be the first."
Spectra Producer Ralph Hamelmann echoes this sentiment:"the music industry has always had a lingering, unspoken rule that artists need to be tight-lipped about their sexual orientation. Given the size of Canada's LGBT community and its infrastructure, I believe there's a market for LGBT recording artists. But frankly, I'd hate to see Stacey pigeon-holed as a 'lesbian singer'. She's a phenomenal talent who can easily become a mega-star."
"Nobody should have to hide who they are to be successful," Tennen explains. "I am very proud of who and what I am but I want to create music that will appeal to masses."
When Tennen co-wrote 'Partner In Crime' with Juno Award winner Gavin Bradley, she borrowed from her relationship with her fiance. "I wanted to create a song that everyone would enjoy. That's the beauty of music -- you can write a song about a lesbian relationship that a heterosexual guy in Timmins will relate to. To me, the best way to educate others is by showing them we're really not that different."
Tennen, a 27-year-old Toronto native, made it to the Gold Ticket Round at Canadian Idol, and has won countless other talent contests.
"Partner In Crime" was released on iTunes on March 19, 2012 and produced by Juno Award winner Gavin Bradley.