With so few successful LGBT members in the media, it is important to recognise and support the openly gay stars that we do have. Steve Grand was an internet sensation turned mainstream success as one of the worlds first openly gay country singers.
After years of posting covers online, Grand became an internet sensation after releasing his debut single online in 2013. The track ‘All-American Boy’ was recorded in his parents basement, while its accompanying video cost $7000 to produce, which Grand funded himself by maxing out his credit card.
The video was directed and edited by filmmaker Jason Knade, and told the story of a young man fall in love with his heterosexual friend against a backdrop of country roads, an American flag and friends around a campfire. On July 2, 2013, Grand uploaded the music video to YouTube and within just a week the video went viral, gaining more than 1 million views.
The instant popularity, and attention landed Grand interviews on a number of national media outlets including Good Morning America, CNN, Entertainment Tonight, Huffington Post Live, MSNBC, and Larry King Now.
On September 6, 2013, Grand released his follow up single ‘Stay’, and then ‘Time’ the following year before releasing his debut album titled All-American Boy financed by a successful Kickstarter campaign. One of the most successful campaigns just one day after its launch it reached its $81,000 goal and by its close, $326, 593 had been pledged by 4,905 backers. The album was released on March 24, 2015 to positive reviews, and decent success landing #3 on the independent chart.
Subsequent to the success of the album, Grand began touring around the US as well as performing at several gay pride festivals and has been on the road ever since.
Prior to his widespread success, Grand struggled with his sexuality early in his life. By age 13, he had knew that he was gay and began coming out to his friends, but once his parents found out, they encouraged him to seek therapy, unable to fully acceptance him due to their strict Catholic faith. This counselling lasted five years, however Grand has clarified that this was not conversion therapy, as some had assumed.
In the years since his initial fame, Grand has been an active figure in the LGBT equality movement, partnering with many orginisations including; The Human Rights Campaign, The Anti-Violence Project, Bailey House, the GLSEN Respect Awards, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates and the March on Springfield for Marriage Equality.
In 2014, he was one of the performers at the opening ceremonies of WorldPride in Ontario, Canada, and in 2015, he visited Riga, Latvia, to teach a master’s class and to take part in the Europride festival.
As of now, the singer is still currently touring, as well as regularly updated his YouTube channel. Keep up with his social media below!