When Anne-Marie wrote her song “Perfect” she had no idea that listeners would immediately latch on to the line “And I’ll love who I want to love/’cause this love is gender-free.” To the 27-year-old pop singer, the lyric was just another moment of sincerity on her debut album Speak Your Mind. To everyone else, it was rebel yell, offering solace to fans who don’t identify with a specific label like straight, gay or bisexual.
The lyric led to an interview with The Line of Best Fit in April in which the singer, who initially rose to acclaim on Clean Bandit’s 2016 single “Rockabye,” admitted to not being specifically attracted to men or women. “I've never felt the need to tell anyone that I'm bisexual,” she said in the interview “I don’t feel like I am.” That sentiment, however, led to dozens of news outlets declaring that Anne-Marie was bisexual, completely missing her point, that “you're not labeling yourself, and they labeled me,” she says.
The real message, for Anne-Marie, is self-love and acceptance, which are ideas that thread throughout her music and interactions with fans. While “Perfect” is about sexuality, it’s also a commentary on embracing who you are beyond insecurities or flaws. “What I love about what I do is the fact that I can help people,” she proclaims before nothing that she would be “a doctor or something that helped people feel good” if she wasn’t a singer. The beauty of the song is that its open to interpretation: “Someone can take one sentence and feel like, ‘You've made me feel like I can be comfortable with my sexuality.’ Another one can be like, ‘You've made me feel good about not having a size whatever waist.’”
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“That’s why people need to take music seriously,” Anne-Marie says adamantly. “When you're writing it, you need to think about that. I definitely feel like, ‘If this is going to be heard by a lot of people, I don't want to just write something that's a hit song because it gets played on the radio and it’s got a catchy chorus.’ I know that it touches people—that music gets through to people more than normal conversations do.”