Neither a catchy song, or a set of abs is what shot Grand to front page, but rather a misleading title bestowed upon him by shoddy journalism.
Anderson | July 11, 2013
An unsigned country artist, Steve Grand, has hit the music scene with a new tune and a stunning set of abdominal muscles. Neither of these two things is what really shot him to front pages (alright, maybe the abs) and even live performances in Chicago’s The Joynt, but rather a misleading title bestowed upon him by shoddy journalism.
Grand has been dubbed by BuzzFeed as the first openly gay male country star. He is praised for having the courage to come out in a genre that is often symbolized by the love of trucks, The United States, and, of course chicks, without much variation. However he isn’t really the first; in any of those regardless.
Proceeding Grand, a number, be it not many, have come out before him. One of the most famous, and who qualifies as an actual star, is K. D. Lang. She was highly regarded as a pioneer in 1992 when she came out within the pages of The Advocate.
Lang was an influence in the hearts of many gay people with their own life struggles, both her musical style and personal story spoke to LGBT country fans over 20 years before Grand came on the scene. One particularly influenced performer was Chely Wright. Wright, who won the Academy of Country Music title of best new female artist in 1994, came out in 2010 and before long became a known LGBT rights activist. Sadly, she was not surprised when she lost a good deal of fans from her coming out, but this did not stop her though from marrying her now wife Lauren Blitzer in 2011.
Just in case this all seems a little female heavy, we shall include a male country star who has come out as well. Drake Jensen, a Canadian country star who has been out since his career began. His success didn’t pick up steam till 2011 when he recorded in Nashville, TN under the guidance of veteran producer Kim Copeland. As of late, he’s gained recognition after recording a cover of Tammy Wynette’s hit song “Stand By Your Man” with Ru Paul’s Drag Race star Willam Belli.
Beside Jensen, gay country singers have succeed off the mic. Shane McAnally, a Nashville based songwriter, has helped penn 7 no. 1 singles for artists like Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum and Reba McEntire. And while spot-light fame and glory might not have been his goal, he’s found great success in his behind the scenes role. McAnally has gone as far as to say he’s gained more recognition since he came out in 2007. “My career really took off when I came out,” he told the New York Times in a March 2013 profile. “When I stopped hiding who I am, I started writing hits.”
It’s always nice to hear about a successful LGBT artist, especially in the country music scene. But to say that he is the first to do it is a little far-fetched. We all need to be happy when each and every one of us find out who we are and what it is we truly desire in our lives, but to ignore our past is dishonorable and Grand’s lack of correction on his matter is something to be less enthusiastic about. We are all a part of a spectacular community and that deserves praise.