Steve Grand to make his (professional) debut in Nashville at Pride festival

They called him the first openly gay male country singer back in 2013 when the music video to his song, “All American Boy” became an overnight viral smash on YouTube and captured the pop culture zeitgeist. 

But Steve Grand never set out to be a country music singer. 

“I was a student of the Music Business Program, with a songwriting emphasis, at Belmont University,” he said. “I only went for my freshman year, though, so I’m very excited to be coming back to Nashville. I haven’t performed there since my college days.” 

“Perhaps that’s where I picked up some of that country sound,” he added. 

It’s fitting, therefore, that he would professionally debut here in Music City now, five years later, because, according to Steve, his career aspirations are all about the music. He’s putting the final touches on a new album that he promises will be released this summer.  

“It is going to be a full album,” he said. “I’m really just finishing up, putting the final touches on the last two songs. All of the songs have been written, and we’re pretty much done recording. Now it’s mostly moving into the final editing stage for those last two and then some still need to be mixed.” 

His national career is just five years old, but Grand has achieved a degree of mass success (and community-wide notoriety) that lifelong careers are built upon.  

“All American Boy” is about a gay kid falling for a straight friend, and it has a country tinge that led many to deem him the “first openly gay male country singer.” It’s a label he spent years refuting. Then came the accusation of slut-shaming that Grand hurled toward the online blog Queerty for routinely posting photos of him in various degrees of undress, despite his claim that plenty more artists and creative people post far racier material without so much as a blink from one of the biggest U.S. LGBT media companies.  

“I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career already,” he said, “and sometimes you have to make mistakes to learn, and that’s been the case for me in a lot of instances, but one thing I’ve really tried to do is always really consistently make my fans know how much I appreciate them for their support.” 

And Pride festivals in particular are always opportunities to make new fans. 

“They are quite different from intimate venues,” he said. “On my end, I know that, at Pride festivals, people are expecting a lot more energy. And since my shows mostly involve me singing and playing acoustic guitar or piano, I have to be creative in keeping it lively and engaging even for the people that may not be familiar with my music.” 

“I know that when I perform at a more intimate venue that the crowd is definitely there to see me,” he added, “and so that helps me to be more confident on stage. But with Pride festivals, I feel like I have to play both to the people that know me well, and those that don’t. It’s always a little nerve-wracking when you know you are making a first impression.” 

It’s here where it all comes back to the fans again. 

“I really like to give a lot of myself to my fans,” he said, “and they have really blessed me with support by showing up for shows and buying the music, playing the music and buying the merchandise so it’s allowed me to do what I do and I really feel lucky."







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