Shears is the flamboyant, seldom-shirted lead singer of disco-pop outfit the Scissor Sisters.
Born Jason Sellards, Shears moved to New York to study writing and ended up freelancing for the gay mag Genre, as well as writing music reviews for Paper. While working as a go-go boy, he teamed up with Scott Hoffman (aka Babydaddy); the pair became popular performers at seedy gay bar The Cock and electroclash scene epicenter Luxx in Williamsburg. After absorbing bandmates Patrick Seacor (Paddy Boom), Ana Lynch (Ana Matronic), and Derek Gruen (Del Marquis), the Sisters gained attention with their first single's B-side, a glammy disco cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb," complete with Barry Gibb falsetto.
Shears has become a gay fave for his simultaneously outré and glam stage costumes, high-energy performances, and frequent partial nudity. While the band exists on the periphery in the U.S., Shears and his Sisters are bona fide superstars in England: their debut, Scissor Sisters, was Britain's top-selling album of 2004. They've struggled to gain similar notoriety in the States; their sophomore effort, 2006's Ta-Dah, was met with enthusiastic reviews, but U.S. consumers largely failed to bite at an album European consumers devoured. But what the Sisters lack in fan quantity, they make up for in fan quality. They've amassed a coterie of famous gay or gay-associated admirers, including Elton John, Bono, Dan Savage, Michael Cunningham, the B-52s' Fred Schneider, Kylie Minogue, and the Pet Shop Boys—not to mention infamous Scissor Sisters groupie Anderson Cooper. The band took four years to produce its third album, 2010's Night Work, but struck again quickly with 2012's Magic Hour.
Shears has denied rumors that he's suicidal, but has admitted to suffering panic attacks and severe bouts of depression while on tour. [Image via Getty]