Steve Grand (musician)

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Steve Grand
Also known asSteve Starchild, Steve Chatham, Finn Diesel
Born1990
OriginChicago, Illinois
GenresPop, rock, country
OccupationsMusician, singer-songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, piano, guitar
Websitestevegrand.com
 
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Steve Grand
Also known asSteve Starchild, Steve Chatham, Finn Diesel
Born1990
OriginChicago, Illinois
GenresPop, rock, country
OccupationsMusician, singer-songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, piano, guitar
Websitestevegrand.com

Steve Grand (born 1990) is an American musician and singer-songwriter from Lemont, Illinois.[1] He became an internet celebrity and was acclaimed by many[2][3] as the first openly gay male country singer to attract mainstream attention in the United States, after the music video of his song "All-American Boy" went viral on YouTube in less than a week in July 2013.[4][5][6]

Early life[edit]

Grand wrote music from the time he was 11 years old. By age 13, he realized that he was gay[7] and struggled to reconcile his sexuality with his Catholic faith.[1] He came out to friends while in the eighth grade. After his parents learned of his sexuality, they enrolled him in psychotherapy for five years. While some have called his therapy conversion therapy, he does not, saying, “I was not in conversion therapy. I was seeing a Christian therapist, who, among many beliefs, believed I would be happier if I didn’t live life as a gay man."[8] Although he eventually decided that the therapy was ineffective, he has expressed gratitude to his psychologist, saying, "I don't want to bash my therapist even though I've come to really believe that homosexuality is not a bad thing, or sinful, and not something that God wants you to rid yourself of, because I still have a lot of respect for him. ... Some of [this therapy] was actually helpful — I was able to talk to someone, he was so compassionate, and he really believed in me. We just ended up having a completely different perspective."[1] Because he has declined to condemn conversion therapy, and also because he has continued to be employed as the music director at his Catholic church, he has drawn criticism from activists who question whether he can be viewed as a positive role model.

After graduating from Lemont High School, Grand attended Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, for one year. He returned to Chicago to enroll at the University of Illinois and later left to pursue his musical career.[4][9]

Career[edit]

Prior to launching his musical career, Grand modeled under the pseudonym Steve Chatham; he was a cover model for Australia's DNA magazine in 2011.[10] He also performed cover songs as Steve Starchild.[1] He played piano at the Joynt in downtown Chicago in 2013.[9] Also in 2013, he made a music video for his song "All-American Boy," producing it at a cost of US$7,000. The video was directed and edited by award-winning Chicago filmmaker Jason Knade. The video was posted on YouTube on July 2, 2013 and immediately went viral. Just eight days later, the video had more than 1,000,000 views.[4][11][12][13][14]

Although Grand has received mostly positive reaction to the song, some gay activists have criticized its content, with one stating that its message is that "Gay men drink too much, feel sorry for themselves, and come on to straight dudes when their girlfriends aren't around."[15] Writing for Slate, J. Bryan Lowder had an even harsher take on the video, describing it as "woefully out-of-tune with the times. It's like something out of a homo smut story from before Stonewall", and adding "this particular narrative of the tantalizing straight guy and lovesick queen is so hackneyed in gay culture as to be laughable."[16]

Some media have also claimed that Grand is the first openly gay male country singer to exist at all, although this has been disputed.[3] Several gay male country musicians have toured gay bars and other venues for decades, beginning with Patrick Haggerty's band Lavender Country in 1972,[17] and two months before Grand's video hit, The New York Times profiled openly gay singer/songwriter Shane McAnally,[18] who has had charted songs as a vocalist in the past and is currently one of the most successful songwriters in the industry. Other openly gay or bisexual male vocalists who have had successful careers in the country music industry as songwriters or musicians have included Jimbeau Hinson, Drake Jensen, Mark Weigle, Brian Glenn,[19] and Shane Stevens.[20]

On July 18, 2013, Grand made his television debut, performing "All-American Boy" on Windy City Live.[21]

On September 6, 2013, Grand released his song, and accompanying video, "Stay."

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Virtel , Louis (July 8, 2013). "TheBacklot Interview: 'All-American Boy' Steve Grand". TheBacklot.com. Retrieved July 18, 2013. 
  2. ^ Kennedy, Gerrick D. (July 13, 2013). "Steve Grand breaks out with 'All-American Boy'". The L.A. Times Music Blog. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 13, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Schonfeld, Zach (July 10, 2013). "We Should Stop Calling Steve Grand the First Openly Gay Male Country Star". The Atlantic. Retrieved July 11, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Lennox, Michael Cidoni (July 8, 2013). "Steve Grand's 'All-American Boy' Becomes A Gay-Themed Country Music Hit On YouTube". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  5. ^ Gupta, Prachi (July 8, 2013). "Steve Grand hailed as first openly gay male country singer with YouTube hit". Salon. Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Gay-Themed Music Video a YouTube Hit". Time Magazine. July 8, 2013. Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  7. ^ All-American Boy’ Becomes A Gay Themed Country Music Hit On YouTube. Interview with Roz and Mocha. July 11, 2013. Roz and Mocha Show. Kiss 92.5. http://www.kiss925.com/2013/07/11/roz-mocha-exclusive-interview-tomorrow-on-kiss-92-5-all-american-boy-becomes-a-gay-themed-country-music-hit-on-youtube/. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  8. ^ Katz, Jeff (September 30, 2013). "Steve Grand: The All-American Man". "instinctmagazine.com". Retrieved December 2, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Our First Country Gay Music Video: Steve Grand – All American Boy". The Center Orlando. July 5, 2013. Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Steve Grand Was Our #127 Cover Model". DNA Magazine. July 5, 2013. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  11. ^ Inawat, Ron Matthew (July 11, 2013). "Chicago's gay country 'All-American Boy' Steve Grand hits 1m views". Chicago Pride. Retrieved July 11, 2013. 
  12. ^ Benjamin, Jeff (July 9, 2013). "Meet Gay Country Star Steve Grand". Fuse. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  13. ^ Connelly, Chris (July 9, 2013). "Gay Country Singer Adjusts to Newfound Web Fame". ABC News Good Morning America. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  14. ^ Shamberger, Ebony (July 8, 2013). "Steve Grand called first openly gay country singer after video release". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  15. ^ King, Mark S. (July 8, 2013). "Gay country singer's video portrays gay men as sad, predatory drunks". LGBTQNation.com. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  16. ^ Lowder, J. Bryan (July 10, 2013). "This Is Not the First Openly Gay Male Country Star. At Least I Hope Not.". Slate. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  17. ^ Dickinson, Chris (2000). "Country Undetectable: Gay Artists in Country Music". Journal of Country Music XXI (1): 28–39. Retrieved 4 August 2009. 
  18. ^ "Out and Riding High in Nashville". The New York Times, May 24, 2013.
  19. ^ "Brian Glenn steps out on his own with ‘Original Intent’ | Out & About Nashville". Outandaboutnashville.com. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  20. ^ Halterman, Jim (2011-11-18). "Shane Stevens on "Girls Who Like Boys"... Who Like Jesus". thebacklot.com. Retrieved 2013-08-12. 
  21. ^ Geoffroy, Kyler (July 18, 2013). "Steve Grand's Slow Rendition of "All-American Boy" Will Melt Your Heart". Towleroad.com. Retrieved July 22, 2013. 

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