NEW YORK — Sylvester is getting a closer look.
The late disco great is the subject of a “Sound Barrier,” a new documentary podcast that launched Wednesday on Spotify.
Hosted by Dr. Jason King, a journalist, musician and New York University professor, the series will chronicle the musical career and impact of the genre-defying, gender-bending and influential icon.
The vocal powerhouse behind timeless disco classics such as “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),” “Dance (Disco Heat)” and “Do You Wanna Funk,” Sylvester was a trailblazer in Black music and LGBTQ+ culture. Long before “Rupaul’s Drag Race,” Boy George, Billy Porter and Lil Nas X shook up pop culture, the Watts, California-born, openly gay Black man dressed in drag unapologetically and still achieved crossover status.
“I’m thrilled to be honoring one of my favorite artists of all time” King told The Daily News on Tuesday.
“I’ve been pretty much obsessed with Sylvester since I was 6 years old,” he revealed. "I teach Sylvester regularly in my undergraduate classes, I’ve worked on major label Sylvester reissues, I’ve extensively written about and lectured on him.”
King, who is also the Chair of The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University, called the eight-episode podcast “one of the deepest dives into Sylvester’s life and work that’s ever been produced.”
The Alberta, Canada, native previously produced a multi-day conference on the artist at New York University in 2005, featuring Porter and dance singer Martha Wash — who was a protege and background singer for Sylvester before achieving success as one of The Weather Girls.
“It’s a true passion project for me,” King said, adding: “It’s also a chance to pay tribute to an underappreciated musician who was truly ahead of his time on many levels.”
Featuring never-before-heard interviews with Sylvester, never-before-heard music and demos, “Sound Barrier” will also include interviews with artists such as Porter, Mykki Blanco, Big Freedia, Patti LaBelle, John Waters, Stephen Winter and close associates.
The “Someone Like You” singer died in 1988 at the age of 41, one of the first public figures to succumb from AIDS-related complications.
Since his death, Sylvester has been the subject of several biographical books, and a popular episode of the Unsung documentary television series. In more recent years, acclaimed theater performer Anthony Wayne portrayed the artist — also known as “the undisputed first lady” of San Francisco’s Castro district — in the off-Broadway musical “Mighty Real: A Fabulous Sylvester Musical.”
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