Steve Grand Sets The Record Straight On His Image, His Past, And The Road Ahead

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Matthew Rettenmund over at Boy Culture has a fantastic interview with gay "All-American Boy" singer Steve Grand, with Grand setting the record straight on his image as the 'first openly gay country star,' his difficult past, and the long road ahead.

From the interview:

Boy Culture: There's been some backlash to the Buzzfeed article that labeled you the 'first openly gay country star.' Do you see yourself as a country artist, let along as the first openly gay one?

Steve Grand: 'The first openly gay country star'…there's a lot of things wrong with that statement. I didn't set out to be the first of anything. I just wrote a song that I really believed in and that I wanted the world to hear. 

There've been people who've been out in country music before me, like Drake Jensen and Chely Wright and k.d. lang. It's false to say that I'm the first – I've never said that, I've never stood behind that. But I do appreciate the media that picked this up because I had no means of promotion, so I certainly have no ill will to any press that said that.

I've never considered myself country and didn't set out to write a country song. That isn't an important label to me. If some people wanna call it country, that's fine with me. I'll let people decide how they wanna label it; I just write the songs. 

And I'm not a star! [Laughs] I have one video with 1.6 million views. I'm so grateful that it's reached so many people so quickly, but more so, I'm grateful for the people who've reached out to me and are putting their trust in me. That bond I feel we're already establishing I hold more sacred than anything, and I wanna do anything I can to honor that. 

BC: Why did you use other names before, and why did "All-American Boy" deserve your real name?

SG: I guess I struggled with knowing myself for a very long time. That's caused a lot of pain and frustration in my life. Like, I remember being at some points in my life and being like, "I don't know what I even think about this, I don't know what I think about myself, I don't know what I think about the world, I don't know what I think about this issue – I'm so lost." I remember just breaking down and saying that to a really close friend. So I think part of the fact that I was using all these different names was a very kind of literal representation of the fact that I was trying to find an identity for myself.

It all comes back to the simple fact that you have to just embrace who you are, and everything that you are, and so I was like, "Well you know what? If I'm going this far, this song is very close to me, it's very personal to me." I'm not a calculated person. I'm someone who's an emotionally-driven person. So that all goes into the fact that I was acknowledging all of these parts of myself and I was like, "Well, I have to start with my name." For a while, I really didn't want to do that, I was like, "What if this all blows up in my face?" If people hated it, it's tied to my real name forever and maybe I'll really regret doing that, but it pretty much got to the point where it was just like, let's face it, I'm never gonna be able to forgive myself if I don't put this out there.

This is a song I've been trying to write for a very long time and this is one thing I feel so strongly about. And I'm so excited to feel so strongly about something for once.

Check out the full Q&A over at Boy Culture, where Grand goes on to discuss growing up a 'drifter,' his religion, what qualities attract him to a man, and even what's next on his life's road.  


  1. Randy says

    Doug Stevens and the Outband deserve a mention. They were out in the country in 1993 or so.

    Steve (or whoever he is) is a star, clearly. That doesn’t mean as much as it used to. Hopefully he’ll make the most of it while it lasts.

  2. RONTEX says

    I really just love this guy and his honesty about how scary it all can be and refusing to be catagorized. I’m diggin’ his music and think he’s beautiful, both inside and out. Glad I posted before the haters get on here and try to tear him down.

  3. Francis #1 says

    I like Steve a lot, but he’s now overexposed. Sorry. It’s too much for one song that was hot in the mainstream for about 3 days. I want Steve to happen, but let it happen organically.

  4. Geoff says

    Honesty and humility. Refreshing. He’s got his head on his shoulders – his expectations are realistic. He seems genuinely taken-aback by the sudden notoriety. Hope he keeps at it.

  5. Geoff says

    Honesty and humility. Refreshing. He’s got his head on his shoulders – his expectations are realistic. He seems genuinely taken-aback by the sudden notoriety. Hope he keeps at it.

  6. johnny says

    @fsinsd, of course not and what a daft question to ask.

    People like good-looking male singers, that goes back nearly 100 years. You can get into the intricacies of what constitutes “good looking” and why, but whatever culture thinks is “cute” at the time gets the most traction.

    That’s just the way it is. We like our singing stars attractive. If they’re not, they better be really incredibly good (far better than Steve Grand, btw) or also funny, great actors, amazing athletes or something additional. And don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just stating what is true about our society. I wish it wasn’t, but there you have it.

  7. sam says

    @Johnny, Unfortunately you are absolutely correct. It’s not about the best vocals (or acting or even the hardest worker in middle America for that fact), it’s about the best looking. We are characters of instinct, and instinctively we are drawn to beautiful people. Beauty provides certain people an advantage over average, or less than average, looking people. I’m currently withholding judgement on Steve Grand (and God, if one so believes in Her) provided me with the sense of a judgement for a reason, to use it. I am hopeful he is the person he portrays in the media, the little media exposure he has had, because he comes across as genuine and sincere. However, some people are incredible actors and put forth a persona that is not necessarily real. He is only an average singer at best, but above average in both looks and physique. However, it would be wonderful to have a genuine and respectful gay role model for all gay youth.

  8. Billy Crytical says

    Steve should contact Shane McAnally, a professional songwriter, to maybe collaborate or get some tips. The NY Times did a story on him two months ago. He’s gay and he’s had a string of country hits. Shane said he writes for hours a day, five days a week. I think that type of discipline can help Steve create another hit.

  9. jjose712 says

    Alan Brickman; This is towleroad, the website is great, but the comment section not that much. You can find a lot of bitchy comments everyday.
    Can Steve find mainstream success? Maybe. It won’t be easy, but if three years ago someone tell me that a rap song about gay rights will be a success in US radio i would thouth he was crazy, and now Same love is ready to crack top 10.
    Steve is a composer, he plays instruments, has a nice voice and is goodlooking, you don’t know if he will find success but at least he has good material to try it

  10. Robert says

    He got attention for being cute, yes, but what a refreshing interview to read. This guy couldn’t have less of an ego, even after all the modeling pics and shirtless videos. I think all of you haters WANT him to be an empty pretty face so you can judge him, and the only way you can do that is to ignore the fact that he’s not.

  11. db says

    The backlash toward him is very strange. I think it’s all sour grapes. He’s good looking, and it’s a good song–that drives some people crazy.

  12. Francis #1 says

    To be fair, Jjose712, Macklemore’s fanbase isn’t the traditional rap fanbase and he’s not really a hardcore rapper. Macklemore’s fanbase is less….stereotypical, a lot more diverse, races/genders/ages. The question will be for Steve Grand, whether he can achieve similar success in branching out and attaining such a fanbase. Not just gay men and our girl friends, but the entire LGBTQ community, and the straight world at large.

    I thought Adam Lambert was going to be the one to do it, but he hasn’t done it. There really hasn’t been any gay pop solo musician in the States whose been very successful at crossing over and becoming mainstream. Rooting for Steve to be the first. Shane McAnally is country’s leading songwriter and is openly gay. He says Nashville is a “redneck conservative good ole boys’ club” but at the same time, that country music at large is changing culturally. That’s another plus for Steve Grand, but he doesn’t see himself as a country artist anyway.

    I am annoyed by how so many adult gay men, single and married alike, are FAWNING over this guy who they didn’t know of 2 weeks ago. I mean, it’s like, chill. If Steve is going to happen, he’s going to happen. It’s not even that he being hot is a bad thing, obviously it isn’t, but the fact he’s getting attention or has gotten attention almost exclusively b/c of his looks is….it’s just annoying. It’s not about Steve more than it’s about his fans.

  13. Ray says

    The snarky nasty comments here are really a little depressing.

    If you think he’s overexposed DON’T read the article. Don’t torture yourself.

    Of course there is always someone behind you. cuter, more talented perhaps.

    Support QUEENS! Support!

    I hope the younger generation of gay men are more secure and less bitter.

  14. GregV says

    “There really hasn’t been any gay pop solo musician in the States whose been very successful.”

    @Francis#1: Billboard magazine in 2008 named Elton John the Most Successful Male Solo Artist of all time. He’s had 9 singles that hit #1 and 10 years after coming out as gay, he had the top-selling single of all time. He’s very successful, to say the least.

  15. Bob R says

    I read several gay blogs but I must say that Towleroad has the market cornered on the nastiest, most negative and hateful gay posters I’ve read. Are you people that miserable with your lives?

  16. Kevin-in-Honolulu says

    I am new to Steve Grand.

    I went to YouTube to hear All American Boy. His voice reminds me very much of Mark Weigle, a singer from the 90’s. Mark was also a very bright star, but did not reach the success he deserved in our community, and has since completely disappeared from the music scene.

    I just finished viewing and listening to the song. Another heart broken. The straight status-quo triumphs.

    I wish Steve all the best – It would be good to see a happy ending to his next video.

  17. Seattle Mike says

    If you read that whole interview, you’ll see that he has triumphed over some pretty bad situations in his life. Self-loathing, homophobic parents, gay conversion therapy. He’s made it through quite nicely. When you think of kids who are going through the same sh*t right now, shouldn’t we be celebrating somebody who has survived? What else do we mean when we say “It Gets Better”? Do we mean “If you survive all that and try to become a singer, you’ll get ripped to shreds by bitchy anonymous commenters”?

  18. GregV says

    I paid 5 bucks for his song (You can pay whatever you want at his bandcamp site). I’m crossing my fingers that he might be on a stage when I go to Chicago for Market Days.
    The more Steve Grand the better!

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