Craig Lucas earned the respect of thousands of South Africans on Tuesday when he surprised his audience with an open letter in which he came out as a gay man.
The singer, who won the second season of The Voice and has released charting singles including Smother, took to Twitter to give his fans a welcome update.
In his open letter, which was directed to his fans, family and friends, Lucas shared the story of how his career and sexuality intersected, and revealed the reasons for keeping his sexual identity a secret.
He revealed that he began exploring his sexuality in 2011 before finally understanding that he was attracted to men; despite the fact that he had dated women in the past. However, his story was punctuated by emotional battles which eventually led to depression.
Craig Lucas won The Voice after impressing audiences with not only his natural talent, but his smouldering looks too
It is no secret that mainstream music lovers love a handsome male singer (these artists are usually described as the ‘typical boy next door’) and Craig definitely fits that profile.
But what happens if that cute, ‘boy next door’ is not into girls as he ‘typically’ should be? That was the case with Craig Lucas, who reached a complex crossroads when he was asked to keep his sexuality a secret if he wanted to stand a chance of winning the show.
Lucas revealed in his open letter: “People started telling me to keep the fact that I was in a relationship with a man a secret – “the audience is conservative” “no one will vote for you.” So I did, and I won. “I’m glad I listened to them” I thought. People then said “no one will buy your music if they think you’re gay” “girls are your biggest market, you will alienate them.”
And so, even after The Voice had ended, Craig Lucas decided to hide the fact that he was in love with a man
However, with charting singles, big pay cheques and growing popularity, surely keeping his sexuality a secret would be a small sacrifice compared to all he was gaining, right?
Not quite. The singer’s story turned dark when he revealed that this decision took a heavy toll on his emotional well-being, leading to depression (he began his letter by referencing his father’s suicide, admitting that the seeds of depression had been planted at a young age).
Despite achieving his dream, Craig was “wholly depressed”.
He continued: “My dreams had come true. I was in a relationship with an amazing man. My career was flourishing. I was wholly depressed. Suicidal thoughts plagued my mind. I’d become a very angry man,” Craig continues. “Hurt people really do hurt people. I hated myself. I was wasted every other day. There was even drugs. I’d forgotten myself. I’d forgotten that I was smart, talented, funny and kind. I’d forgotten that I was loved. It took me hitting rock bottom once more to realise that I’d been living a lie.”
At a time when South Africans are paying closer and closer attention to the importance of one’s mental health, this segment of Craig’s letter drew sympathy from the masses.
Instead of allowing it to consume him, however, Craig Lucas decided to confront the source of his depression and overcome it by writing this letter.
He added that he understands how and why he may lose a few ‘friends’, but bravely admitted that he was no longer content to live in the shadows, before concluding by saying:
“I welcome whatever is coming my way with an open heart and an open mind. Until then, I have some making up to do with the people who stuck by my side even when I was at my worst, and some amazing fucking songs to write,”
You can read the full letter below:
An open letter to my family, my friends and my fans. pic.twitter.com/v2kpqzCaAG
— Craig Lucas (@Craigycracks) September 4, 2018
Craig Lucas’ emotional open letter was received with warmth and support by many of his fans, friends and family on social media:
Couldn’t be more proud ❤️❤️❤️
— Sasha-Leigh Rumble (@SashaRumble) September 4, 2018
I’m crying in the club omfg pic.twitter.com/eUAy6LdJmy
— ethnic tiddybress (@baddiexkayleigh) September 4, 2018
Sending love my friend xxx
— El Broide (@ElBroide) September 4, 2018
Man I remember when you posted the first part on Facebook a few years back and all the love you recieved showing you all the people that care for you. Here's to you for keeping on keeping on, making a massive success of your life and soon you'll be posting you wholly happy. pic.twitter.com/OgfydgrDnQ
— Darren Andrew Wilson (@darrenwilson_09) September 4, 2018