The world first got its mainstream glimpse of Keiynan Lonsdale with his role in the coming-of-age film Love Simon, but in reality, the 28-year-old actor, dancer and singer-songwriter’s career goes way back.
Shuffling between acting and dancing gigs from an early age, Lonsdale captured hearts with his role as Bram in the film. And the actor became a queer icon himself with his refusal to be boxed into any one category of sexuality — a theme that runs through much of his debut album Rainbow Boy.
Opening with the anthemic We Are The Children, Lonsdale coos with his silky falsetto in a dream-like sequence before drums and beats kick in. “Cause we deserve to love / We deserve to trust / We deserve to live our lives / Cause we are the children,” he sings. Much like his character Kid Flash on The CW’s The Flash, Rainbow Boy is a world-saving superhero, just dressed in rainbows instead of lightning.
Not one to shy away from singing about his sexuality, Gay Street Fighter and Rainbow Dragon, both released as singles prior to the album’s release, are fresh, humourous takes on the subject matter. “Everybody’s just a little bit gay,” he smirks on the former track over a lavishly funky beat courtesy of producer Louis Futon.
The theatrical Destiny Road is an immediate standout from the album. At just over two minutes long, the song expertly shows off Lonsdale’s ability to jump between the genres as it starts off as a ballad, takes the hip-hop road, and ends as a lush R&B tune.
Elsewhere, Rhythm & Music and White Noise see the singer dance to the beats of funk and doo-wop. I Confess My Love, Mirror and Chocolate are a seamless trio of R&B tracks that see him reach Gallant and Moses Sumney levels of ethereality with his falsetto. Closer On My Wave is a buoyant way to end off the album: a tribal-inspired track that sees him bid a lover goodbye.
Lonsdale sounds like no other artist on the radio right now. A voice for the queer children of the world fighting to be seen and heard. Rainbow Boy, unlike most debut albums, is not an artist in the midst of finding his sound. At once colourful and confessional, the album is Lonsdale liberated, and as he sings in Rainbow Dragon, his time to shine indeed. 🌈