Who is Felix Shepherd? The trans X Factor contestant whose tearjerking audition stunned audiences
He brought audiences to tears with his tear-jerking performance of Kodaline’s “All I Want” on the X Factor, but who is Felix Shepherd?
The 20-year-old Birmingham native is studying songwriting and describes himself as a “driven artist with a passion for dreamy, cinematic indie-pop melodies.” He describes his sound as being like a mix between James Bay, Matt Corby and Vampire Weekend.
He released his debut EP in April 2018, called Polar Points, which is available on Spotify. He also recently released a song called “Shadows” on the streaming platform.
The singer-songwriter appeared on the 15th season of the X Factor in the UK, where he got a standing ovation and four yeses from the judges for his touching performance.
However, his appearance on the show caused controversy after he told the judges he wanted to prove that he was “more than just a transgender guy.”
Robbie Williams then asked him what his “birth name” was, resulting in a backlash from LGBT+ fans who called the pop star out for deadnaming Shepherd.
LGBT+ charity Stonewall classifies deadnaming as when someone refers to a trans person “using the name they had before they transitioned,” and notes that it can be “deeply hurtful to trans people.”
Despite a backlash from X Factor fans and members of the LGBT+ community, Shepherd insisted that he was not offended by the question.
In a tweet the day after his audition aired, he clarified that he was “in no way offended by Robbie’s question” but added that “everyone is different.”
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He also said that the full scene wasn’t aired, and that Williams asked him first “if it was OK” to ask him his birth name.
Despite fan fury at the line of questioning, Shepherd has fast become a potential favourite to win the competition.
The clip of his audition has already had hundreds of thousands of views, with huge numbers of people flocking to hear his stunning rendition of “All I Want”.
Shepherd’s fans will have to check in with the singer again in the next stage of the competition to find out if he can make it through the rounds to get to the highly competitive live shows.