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MNEK: Someone told me my video made them uncomfortable

Image copyright Gabriel Mokake

MNEK has set up a writing camp dedicated to helping emerging LGBT singer-songwriters.

He says there isn't enough support on offer to those starting out in the industry and he's "faced judgement" because of his sexuality.

The Grammy winner hopes this camp will help emerging talent find a safe space to work in.

Artists including Olly Alexander and L Devine are taking part in the event.

Image copyright Gabriel Mokake

"I've been in situations where someone has told me that my video made them uncomfortable," MNEK explains to BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat.

"This was a straight man, and I really don't want to have to worry about making him uncomfortable.

"I should really be worrying about my own comfort and me putting out the best art that I can."

This writing camp, in association with Pride In Music, is offering support to those in a similar position.

"I wanted to do it because I just know there's a bunch of LGBT writing production talent that I really wanted to get to know each other, and really create a safe space for us to work and create."

Image copyright Gabriel Mokake

"We never really get to do things like this," says Ryan Ashley who is a gay artist and part of MNEK's two day camp.

"I've never personally known there to be an LGBTQ camp of writers. So it's definitely more of a comfortable setting to be in. It's just an enjoyable experience and we get to write songs together."

Caitlyn Scarlett is a pansexual artist who is friends with MNEK. She wants to find out what kind of music will come out of a camp completely made of queer people.

"You would be surprised how little stuff like this happens even though we're in a creative industry," says Caitlyn.

"There's been so many times where we've been in all-straight rooms and obviously that's life, but I think we can look out for ourselves and be kind to ourselves and actually enjoy each others company, and make music and be in safe spaces, says MNEK."

Rina Sawayama is a singer based in London but originally from Japan. She identifies as bisexual and pansexual, but when she's writing songs she often finds it easier to "stick to the norm."

"I've had it quite a few times where I've written something and they've asked if we can change it to a boy because it's easier to pitch," she says.

"Sometimes you don't want to be the spanner in the works but actually why don't we make this song about a same-sex relationship.

Ryan doesn't think there's enough support from the industry he works in. But he wants to do more for the next generation of emerging LGBT artists.

"The labels aren't really championing LGBTQ artists yet, but that's the path we're all trying to open up for the people who come after."

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