Nov 6, 2013

Steve Grand: First Gay Male Country-Western Singer

I hate country-western music (although I learned quite a lot about it in 1991, in order to impress someone I thought was a country-western singer).

But I like Steve Grand.  And not just because of his underwear-clad and nude photos.

Because he's the first gay male country-western singer to be out.  Ever.

Dropping out of college in 2011 to concentrate on his music, Steve worked as a waiter, a beefcake model, and a music leader at Chicago-area Catholic churches while performing under the name Steve Starchild.  He mostly covered pop hits ("You and I," by Lady Gaga; "It Will Rain," by Bruno Mars).

Then in July 2013, renamed Steve Grand, he drew on his true love, country-western music, with a music video called "All-American Boy." It was on a usual country-western topic, unrequited love.  Except this was a gay All-American Boy interested in a straight guy.

Ripped jeans, only drinks whiskey
I find him by the fire while his girl was getting frisky, ohh
I say we go this road tonight
He smiles, his arms around her
but his eyes are holding me, just a captive to his wonder, ohh
I say we go this road tonight

The video went viral, with 2 million views in just a few days.  You can see it on his personal website.

Evidently Steve touched a nerve: there were gay country-western fans, lots of them, who had never seen their lives reflected in their music before.  And heterosexuals who had never seen this new twist on the enduring country-western themes of love, loss, and hardship.

He suddenly became a gay icon, interviewed by every media venue from Boy Culture to CNN, performing at Orlando Pride and at the Marriage Rally at the Illinois State Capitol.  Steve Sala declares that he has "rebranded country-western music," breaking into what was previously an exclusive good-old-boys club.

Steve has released a second single, "Stay," and plans to release an EP soon.

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