Penelope Pettigrew, appearing on the 2021 season of The Voice has opened up to Qnews about her sexuality and her time on the program.
After failing to turn any of the coaches chairs in 2020, Penelope returned to the stage in 2021 and has soared into the top 20.
She sat down to talk with Michael James about her time on the show, her sexuality and her music career on and off-screen.
To watch the full interview scroll to the bottom of this page or click HERE.
A second chance for Penelope Pettigrew.
2020 was a rough year for many people.
This was certainly no exception for Penelope Pettigrew.
Ready to take on one of the country’s biggest singing competitions she took to the stage of The Voice.
As one of the final singers on the night, it was a tough spot for Penelope who performed a stellar rendition of Sia’s hit Alive.
Despite turning it out, she couldn’t turn any of the coaches chairs.
“It was obviously quite disappointing.” She muses, but the experience was not without its silver lining.
“It was funny because that was at the very start of my journey being an outwardly queer bisexual and I was still very new to exploring myself in that way. In my sexuality and also myself as an artist”
The rejection allowed Penelope time to reflect, grow and prepare for her return.
“I was a very different person,” she says.
“This last year has seen a huge evolution. At that moment I thought ‘I’m so ready for this, I’ve been a singer all my life. I can do it, I can take it on.’ When it didn’t happen I had to really step back and take stock.” This proved a great opportunity for her to learn and grow.
“I’m always grateful for the things that seem to hold you back, but they teach you lessons. And I’m always looking for lessons.”
After a year of growth and soul searching, Penelope Pettigrew returned to The Voice.
Same song, same person, new attitude and ready to slay
It was a huge risk to take but this time Penelope was returning for more than just the title.
“This year I came back for so much more than just myself” she gushes with pride.
“I found a beautiful family at Universal and in the queer community in Sydney.”
“So many people have come forward and said how grateful they are for me standing up for and being present for bisexuals and queer people/queer women.”
Emboldened by her community and her message, she knew it was time to return.
“That was my lesson, that was my purpose, I found a reason to come back and to risk the reputation of being turned away again. That meant more to me.”
This proved to be everything she needed this time.
Turning not one but four chairs Penelope had the attention of all the coaches.
So much so that Guy Sebastian moved to block coach Jessica Mauboy from taking her. It proved a lucky move for Guy as Penelope was set to choose Jess.
As the semi-finals prepare to air Penelope has soared into the top 20 of the competition, now in the top 5 of team Guy.
Penelope joins fellow openly queer contestant Seann Miley Moore who spoke to Qnews last week.
On making proudly bisexual music
Regardless of the outcome of the program Penelope already has plans for new music moving forward.
Her back catalogue has a string of songs already and they echo her theme of bisexual pride.
Penelope has taken to her songwriting with an open heart, ready to shine a light on her world and create more visual spaces in the music world for bisexual and queer women.
Her first single Electricity was written for her best friend Jake. A story about a gay man falling in love with a straight man.
Straight Until I’m Wet was her second single, a tongue in cheek bisexual dance floor anthem. “I wrote that at a songwriting camp with two other artists, one who of is also bisexual” she laughs retelling the story. “I released it in time for Mardi Gras and it came out while we were filming [The Voice].”
While the song is cheeky and fun, it’s also personal for Penelope.
“That song is just about me coming into my sexuality. The story of bisexuals is that you’re told to pick and you’re invalidated a little bit.”
Having a platform to tell this story in music is important to Penelope and something she treasures.
Following this was Hollywood, a song that was written for the queer community, released in July 2021.
Upbeat, dark and poignant, Hollywood delivers a strong message.
“Our world is celebrated in the party scene. There’s so much fun and so much celebration, it’s all about the party.”
Whilst upbeat, the song is not all about celebrating. It tells an all too common story.
“The other thing with us queer people is that so much of us have experienced a lot of trauma in our lives from suppressing who we are. There are a lot of demons that can follow us.”
“So when we come out and we come into our community while we want to party and have fun and celebrate who we are. I believe there’s also a side, not for everybody but for some people that we use the scene to numb and suppress or cover up the trauma that we’ve experienced through being shunned by society.”
“It’s a fun upbeat sassy club song but then it’s also got that darker side that addresses addiction and unravelling into the party world and not being able to get yourself out.”
Ready to round out her time on TV Penelope has her next single ready to go.
If she wins The Voice it will be very different to songs we’ve heard from previous winners.
Titled Fuck Boy, this is set to be a little lighter. Telling the story of falling in love with her “fuck boy” and the journey of a very casual relationship turning into something more serious. It’s another honest personal story from Penelope and one to watch out for.
Penelope’s journey on The Voice continues Sunday night 29th August 2021.
Watch our full interview with Penelope Pettigrew below.
You can watch Penelopes latest single Hollywood below.
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