George Michael announces new 'gay collaborative' album and upcoming orchestra tour

George Michael has revealed that he feels that his recent behaviour has let gay youngsters down and he plans on changing his image and reaching out to young gay people with his next album.

Michael, who also announced today that he was returning to the stage with an orchestra for a 47-date tour of Europe this year, said that his new album will be a "gay collaborative", featuring young, unknown gay and "gay-friendly" artists.

The singer said: β€œIt’s really a matter of thinking what can I do to contribute as a gay man, because I have a serious problem with the fact that every time I would let myself down I felt definitely that I was letting young gay people down, because they would then witness the homophobia that is thrown at me and the wording of that homophobia and the language that is being used.

"My behaviour meant these kids suffered abuse and the homophobic language that is legal in this country.

"My next album will seek to correct the damage I inadvertently caused by making myself so newsworthy and, because I am so high-profile, leaving no room for young kids to protect themselves from that language," he added.

Michael, has appeared in the press on and off over the years for a variety of reasons, tracing back to 1998, when he was arrested for "engaging in a lewd act" in a public toilet in a park in Beverly Hills, California.

He was also accused of engaging in a sexual act in public in 2006, on Hampstead Heath in north London and has been repeatedly arrested for possession of cannabis.

In 2010, he crashed into a branch of Snappy Snaps in Hampstead and was charged with possession of cannabis and "driving while unfit". He was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, a fine and a five-year driving ban.

However, a healthy looking Michael said today that he felt "re-energised" after recent troubles. "In terms of recovering from a very long period of grief and self-abuse, and in terms of staying on the straight and narrow, there's nothing like touring", he added. "It gives me the impetus to take care of myself and approve of myself."

The tour is planned to feature reinterpreted songs that are personal favourites of his, sung against the backdrop of a live symphony orchestra.

"Once ego has been satisfied – and my ego has certainly been satisfied: I'm no longer worried about chart success – you can concentrate on authenticity, which means more honesty, more of myself," he said. "This tour will be very different from what people are expecting. It'll be more honest.

"I have been working with some of my favourite albums that are not what anyone would expect of me or have expected to influence me."

Date: 11 May 2011


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