Perfume Genius is the project of singer/songwriter Mike Hadreas, whose music spans fragile piano ballads and swaggering glam rock as he explores subjects such as sexuality, homophobia, and domestic abuse with brutal and often poetic honesty.
Growing up in Everett, Washington, Hadreas was bullied for being gay and coped by painting, writing, and listening to artists including PJ Harvey and Liz Phair. While attending Seattle's Cornish College of the Arts, he was hospitalized after he was attacked by a group of young men in his neighborhood. Once he recovered, he moved to Brooklyn and spent a few years working at a bar and partying. He returned to Everett in 2005 to go to rehab, then lived with his mother and stepfather.
Hadreas also signed to Matador Records, which released Perfume Genius' full-length debut, Learning, in mid-2010. To tour in support of the album, Hadreas brought Alan Wyffels, a classically trained pianist he met in group therapy, as an accompanist. Eventually, they became a couple, and Wyffels performed on Perfume Genius' later tours and albums.
Put Your Back N 2 It and 2014's snarling Too Bright, which was inspired by glam rock, PJ Harvey, and Hadreas' growing frustration with casual homophobia; it featured Portishead's Adrian Utley and longtime Harvey collaborator John Parish. Perfume Genius returned with new music in 2016, collaborating with Sharon Van Etten on a cover of the Grateful Dead's "To Lay Me Down" for Day of the Dead, a Grateful Dead tribute album produced by the Red Hot Organization to fight AIDS/HIV and related health issues around the world. That September, Hadreas also issued a cover of Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love" that was featured in the ad campaign for Prada's La Femme and L'Homme fragrances. Hadreas recorded Perfume Genius' fourth album, No Shape, in Los Angeles with producer Blake Mills; spanning influences such as gospel, goth-pop and soul, it arrived in May 2017.