IN THE BOOK The Necessity of Theater The Art of Watching and Being Watched, author Paul Woodruff examines theatre as an art — an art which teaches us how stylish to watch and be watched. He suggests this practice is as necessary to mortal life as language is. And when it comes to players, over all, their art is the practice of making their conduct worth watching.
In November, at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion, all eyes and phone camera lenses were on Conan Gray, empty to soak up his coming move. slipping an stretched cream vest and burned white pants, his wayward dark ringlets were as much a mount, capitalised upon to capture the followership’s attention, as the grandiloquent stage lights which bled into the delicate material sheeting his body.
As Gray painlessly glided from stage left to right, talking to the followership as though they were old musketeers — participating inside jokes, lingo in impertinence twists and vulnerable stories — one thing snappily came clear the Gen Z pop icon knows how to make himself worth a watchers ’ while. This comes as no surprise, as the fickle eyes of the internet have been on him for further of his life than they have n’t.
“ I grew up with all these people, ” Gray told BAZAAR Australia/ New Zealand of his suckers, numerous of whom have followed his trip on YouTube for over a decade. “ Indeed if I did n’t know them, we affected each other and it’s really special. ”
A far cry from the baby- faced 14- time-old you ’ll find should you trip down to the bottom of his YouTube channel, the now meliorated combination of his relatable songs, curated style and accessible personality all add to the theatre that's Conan Gray.
Gray and I meet following his photoshoot with Emporium, on what also happens to be the fourth anniversary of the release of his EP Sunset Season. The star, who has released two compendiums since — sprat Krow and most lately Superache — dons a cosy various knit and jeans and remnants of makeup have made a home on his striking, angular face. He’s warm and enthusiastic, pointed with a shadow of what resembles jitters.
“ There’s a big difference between the person that( suckers) see on stage, and me. I suppose people occasionally forget that I ’m a super shy person in real life, ” Gray shares. “ It’s always funny when people realise I ’m as nervous to meet them as they're to meet me. ”
Accredited by the likes of Elton John and Taylor Swift, and countingA-listers including Olivia Rodrigo and Wednesday’s Jenna Ortega as musketeers, it would be easy for Gray to be far less predicated than he comes through. But he informs me his musketeers utmost of whom work regular 9- to- 5 jobs — help him to keep his bases forcefully planted on the ground.
“ They make sure they remind me that I ’m a piece of shit. ” So, they keep you predicated, I reframe. “ Yes. They keep me predicated. In fact, they drag me underground, ” he laughs. His admiration for his musketeers is a thread throughout our discussion. He counts them as the people he admires most in this world.
It’s Gray’s alternate time in Sydney. His last visit was three times agone, just before the epidemic struck, when his megahit song Maniac was released which, in his words, marked the moment his music was starting to reach further than just a many cognizance. His putatively strong sense of tone, which manifests in his distinctive style and vulnerable songs, has surely contributed to his harmonious overhead line. But it’s not commodity that has always come with ease for the songster.
“ I ’ve always felt like myself, but I ’ve always been placed in surroundings that have n’t allowed me to be myself, ” says Gray. “ I do n’t like attention. I actually detest it and I wanted further than anything to be normal. That’s all I wanted. ”
“ I always knew that I was n’t like other people. And as I sluggishly kind of grew to accept that, I suppose everything kind of changed. ”
With a striking style that teeters between femme and masc, Gray’s love for quaint clothes and experimenting with fashion has always been prominent. In fact, he counts fashion as an important element of rephrasing what his music means.
“ I suppose women’s clothes are just a lot further fun than men’s clothes, ” Gray laughs. “ In my diurnal life, I just wear a t- shirt and jeans because I ’m not trying to explain anything to anyone. But when it comes to music vids or shows, I ’m trying to express how I feel outside by wearing these clothes that express that. ”
And fashion identity also acts as an important means of connection between Gray and his suckers. He engages with addict’s fashion choices through TikTok, via response vids, and at live shows. While Gray’s suckers watch him, he’s watching right back.
“ In a lot of ways, it just kind of is constantly buttressing to me that we ’re all just the same person, ” Gray says of his suckers ’ style. “ I always suppose that if I was n’t there on stage, I presumably would be in the crowd with them watching someone differently. ”
In The Necessity of Theater The Art of Watching and Being Watched, Woodward highlights that the necessity of a good followership is emotional engagement, which takes a form of empathy that can lead to a special kind of wisdom. And that’s just what Gray engages in — an perceptive observation of the very people watching him.
At the base of who he is, Gray describes himself to be an bystander of life an followership member when it comes to mortal experience. “ I just watch how the world goes by around me and also write about it, ” says the songster, whose song People Watching has garnered 213 million aqueducts on Spotify.
“ I ’ve always just been a watcher because I suppose that living life can be scary occasionally. More older I get, the more I can realize it’s okay if that is scary. It’s much better to have the experience than to have none at all, even if it might be a little worse for a while.”
And as Gray conducted People Watching to a mosh filled to the fully with engaged eyes, it became clear it was his wise observations about life and the human experience that were, in huge part, responsible for attracting so many to his sold-out Sydney performance. In fact, his indulgence for people watching may just be the reason so many people are watching him.