Jake Shears

Jake Shears

Shears performing with the Scissor Sisters in 2011
Background information
Birth name Jason F. Sellards
Born (1978-10-03) October 3, 1978
Mesa, Arizona, US
Genres Glam rock, alternative, pop
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, keyboards, guitar, flute
Years active 1999–present
Associated acts Scissor Sisters

Jake Shears (born Jason F. Sellards; October 3, 1978) is an American singer, best known as the lead male singer for the pop band Scissor Sisters.

Early life

Born in Arizona,[1] Shears is the son of an entrepreneur father and a Baptist mother. He grew up on San Juan Island.[2] While living there, he attended school at Friday Harbor High School, where he was bullied.[3] At the age of 18, he moved into a dorm at The Northwest School in Seattle to finish high school. Shears later attended Occidental College in Los Angeles. At the age of 19, he traveled to Lexington, Kentucky to visit a classmate, who introduced him to Scott Hoffman. Shears and Hoffman hit it off immediately and they moved to New York a year later.


Early work

Shears' early performances included a 1993 production of the play Narnia. In New York, Shears attended The New School's Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts, where he studied fiction writing and was classmates with Travis Jeppesen. He also wrote pieces for the gay magazine HX. Shears was a fixture on the New York gay and electroclash scene. In 2000, he worked as a music reviewer for Paper magazine.[4]

Scissor Sisters

Shears and Hoffman formed Scissor Sisters in 2001 as a performance art stunt, playing outrageous shows in clubs like Luxx, the heart of the electroclash scene in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where Shears lived. After a couple years struggling in New York (working with record label A Touch of Class, who produced "Comfortably Numb" and "Filthy/Gorgeous"), Scissor Sisters finally found success in the United Kingdom and Ireland, ending 2004 with the biggest-selling album of the year in the UK. In concert, Shears is known for provocative dancing, flamboyant outfits, and near nudity. (During his early years while he was struggling to make it in New York, he would often earn extra money as a Go-go dancer and male erotic dancer at male strip clubs.[5])

Shears' musical influences include Leo Sayer, ABBA, Blondie, David Bowie, Duran Duran, Roxy Music, The New York Dolls, Queen, Cher, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Pet Shop Boys, The Beatles, and Dolly Parton.[6] The Scissor Sisters video for Filthy/Gorgeous was directed by John Cameron Mitchell after Shears met him at a gathering of the Radical Faeries.[7] Shears attended Sir Elton John's "stag" party before John's civil partnership ceremony with David Furnish in 2005. John and Shears discussed each other in The Observer in 2006.[8]

Other work

Shears performed with Erasure's Andy Bell on "Thought It Was You", on Bell's 2005 album Electric Blue. He has also collaborated with Tiga on "Hot in Herre", "You Gonna Want Me", and "What You Need" from Tiga's album Ciao!. He also worked on Finnish house musician Luomo's "If I Can't". Together with Babydaddy, he co-wrote with Kylie Minogue on her hit single "I Believe in You" for her greatest hits compilation Ultimate Kylie. Shears and Minogue also co-wrote "Too Much" with Calvin Harris for Minogue's number one album Aphrodite. In 2011, Shears collaborated with John Garden to write the music for a musical version of the book Tales of the City.[9] The show is directed by Jason Moore. Shears was featured on the track "Metemya" of Amadou and Mariam's 2012 album Folila.[10] Shears also wrote the foreword to the award-winning '80s 7-inch vinyl cover art book Put the Needle on the Record. In 2013, Shears also appeared on the Queens Of The Stone Age album ...Like Clockwork providing backing vocals on the song "Keep Your Eyes Peeled". In 2013, Cher confirmed during an interview that Jake will duet with her on a track "Take it Like a Man" for her 2013 album Closer to the Truth.

Personal life

Shears came out to his parents at the age of 15 at the urging of Dan Savage, who later called his advice "the worst I've ever given" due to the negative reaction of Shears' parents.[11][12] In 2010, he participated in Savage's It Gets Better Project.[13] In 2012, Shears was interviewed by RUComingOut.com about his experience; he spoke about his good friend Anderson Cooper. He also said that he felt gay celebrities "at least have the responsibility to come out".[14] Shears has been in a relationship with Chris Moukarbel since 2004.[15]


  1. Strong, Martin Charles (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Canongate. p. 945. ISBN 978-1-84195-860-6.
  2. "'Scissor Sisters are desperate to prove they can still cut it'". Mail Online. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  3. "It Gets Better - Jake Shears". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
  4. "Entries tagged with 'Jake Shears'". Retrieved 2012-11-28.
  5. Michael A. Knipp (2006-10-13). "Scissor Sister's return". Southern Voice Atlanta. Archived from the original on January 11, 2009. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
  6. Darren Murph (2008-04-19). "Logo to simulcast Scissor Sisters: Live at the O2 Arena on MHD". EndGadgetHD. Retrieved 2008-05-17. With several openly gay band members and a loyal and enthusiastic LGBT following...
  7. Romano, Tricia (19 October 2004). "Sex Slaves". Village Voice. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  8. "When Elton met Jake". the Guardian. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  9. Hetrick, Adam. "Musicalizing Tales of the City". Playbill.com. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  10. Tsioulcas, Anastasia (1 April 2012). "First Listen: Amadou And Mariam, 'Folila'". NPR. Retrieved 12 April 2012.
  11. "The Worst Advice Dan Savage has Ever Given". "I think the worst and perhaps most damaging advice I ever gave was to Jake Shears who I met when he was 15 years old and he asked if he should come out to his parents, and he described what was going on and who they were and what he thought they might know. And after he told me everything I was like: 'Oh, they know. They're just waiting for you to tell them. You should tell them. Just come out to them. They're waiting. They're ready.' And he came out to them and they didn't know, and it was a big disaster, and they threatened to pull him out of school and they were really angry and so he called me. I had a radio show, and he called me, and I got him off the air and got his mother's phone number and called my mother and gave my mother Jake's mother's phone number and had my mom call his mom and yell at her. And it helped, but yeah, I gave him really shitty advice."
  12. "Jake Shears Reveals Teenage Harassment". The Advocate. 2003-10-08. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
  13. "Jake Shears talks candidly about his coming out". R U Coming Out. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  14. Annabel Rivkin (2012-05-11). "The Scissor Sisters are back ... and sharper than ever - ES Magazine - Life & Style - London Evening Standard". Standard.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-06-28.

External links

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