Discovering Freddie Mercury’s hidden roots

Discovering Freddie Mercury’s hidden roots

17 January 2019

Elizabeth Lee

Almost 30 years after his death, Freddie Mercury remains a defining British icon of the 70s and 80s. His name conjures up the image of a larger-than-life rock star, charismatic on-stage performances, and a wild partying lifestyle.

However, behind the fame and flamboyance is Freddie’s “unexpected heritage” that many know little about. Freddie came from a humble background with roots in Asia. Born in Zanzibar, he was the child of Zoroastrian Parsi migrants from India – a cultural heritage that Freddie had a complicated relationship with throughout his life.

Biographer, journalist and author Lesley-Ann Jones joined us at Asia House on 15 January to discuss Freddie’s life and background. She is the author of the acclaimed biography, Bohemian Rhapsody: The Definitive Biography. Over the course of the evening, she discussed topics ranging from the rockstar’s early life and passion for music, to his Zoroastrian faith and culture and his illicit sexuality. She also explored the contradictions of his multi-faceted identity, revealing some of Freddie’s personal struggles with it.

Through anecdotes from her personal experiences with Freddie, Jones showed us a personal – and often surprising – side to the rockstar. 

Watch the full event below

This event was part of the Asia House 2019 Winter Arts & Learning Programme