Music Video: Matt Zarley & Jeb Havens Honor Class Of 2020 ‘Stronger’

Award-winning singer/songwriter/producer Matt Zarley teams up with critically acclaimed indie artist Jeb Havens to honor the educators and students of the class of 2020 with a reimagined rendition of the Kelly Clarkson hit, “Stronger.”

The GLEE-tastic music video, featuring a cast of 50+ students and parents from Canoga Park High School in California, was shot on location at the school two weeks before the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.

“If we had to delay shooting a week, we probably wouldn’t have been able to complete this,” says Zarley.

“I can’t imagine being a high school senior and not getting to experience those special end of school year moments that you’ve been looking forward to for the past 4 years,” he adds. “I feel so bad for these kids. This entire situation is just awful.”

As Havens and Zarley take on multiple roles as teachers, coaches, janitors, and cafeteria workers, the video tells the tale of a new student at school who finds his way to tryouts for the dance team.  In a short time, he goes from misunderstood (#QuackIsWhack) to ‘rad’ (#FunkADuck).

The duo’s soulful pop vocals are a perfect match for the soaring self-empowerment anthem.

I’ve shared music from both Zarley and Havens over the years, but just in case you missed it…

Zarley made his theatrical debut at 17-years-old in the national touring company of CATS, at that time the youngest to ever perform in the mega-blockbuster. His career continued with roles on Broadway in A Chorus Line, The Who’s Tommy, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat as well as TV appearances in Disney’s Cinderella (w/ Whitney Houston), Geppetto (w/ Drew Carey) & Annie (w/ Kathy Bates), The Drew Carey Show, Fame, The Tonight Show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, and Smash, among others.

An award-winning, 4-time Billboard charting recording artist, his albums include Debut, Here I Am (2008 Billboard Critics Top Ten and American Idol Top 20 Songwriter), and Change Begins With Me (2012 OUTMusic Award for Album & Single Of The Year). He was also the first openly gay man featured in People Magazine’s ‘Hottest Bachelors’ annual issue.

He added filmmaker to his resume when he released hopefulROMANTIC, an award-winning musical short film he wrote, produced and starred in which played dozens of international film festivals including Cannes, Mumbai, Montreal, and as well as numerous stateside festivals.

L-R Matt Zarley, Jeb Havens

Jeb Havens is an international recording artist and songwriter whose music is a blend of catchy pop and raw emotional therapy.

He became a viral sensation when he began recording original and cover songs in his closet (good sound) and shared them on YouTube.

One of his earliest “Closet Covers” was his emotional, moving take of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” which quickly garnered hundreds of thousands of views. As it spread across the internet, his performance grabbed the attention of mainstream entertainment media outlets like Buzzfeed which raved, “Seriously, someone get this guy a record deal already.”

His debut solo album “Home Base” was named one of the Top 5 in LGBT Music for 2016.

The woofy duo has collaborated several times over the years on projects ranging from music videos to live performances in the U.S. and abroad including their ‘Works of Heart’ concerts.

You can find my posts on Jeb Havens’s music here, and my previous coverage of Matt Zarley here.

Jeb Havens, Matt Zarley & Julie Garnye Cover ‘You Will Be Found’

L-R Jeb Havens, Julie Garnye, Matt Zarley

Another week, another Hump Day, another look out the window as the pandemic continues and I contemplate our relative solitude.

Lately, I’ve listened to the urging of my better angels and find myself reaching out to check on friends, or as I call them, ‘family.’

Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, says “loneliness is thought to be a biological drive that motivates us to reconnect.”

So, I’ve been making those calls and video chats that get put off to make sure folks don’t feel ‘forgotten in the middle of nowhere.’

Which brings me to this gorgeous new cover of “You Will Be Found” from the mega-hit Broadway musical, Dear Evan Hansen.

Recording artists Jeb Havens, Matt Zarley, and Julie Garnyé collaborated on the music video long-distance from their respective isolations during the pandemic lockdown.

I’ve profiled two-time OutMusic Award winner Zarley and the handsome Mr. Havens before on TRR, but this is my first chance to share Ms. Garnye’s talents here as well.

All three have lengthy resumes that reflect their vocal gifts and “Found” proves to be the perfect vehicle for the talented trio.

Havens leads out alongside a spare, pensive piano accompaniment, and is soon joined by Zarley and a soothing cello line. Next stop – the chorus, tightly-woven harmonies, and that key change you know is coming.

Like a powerful clarion call, Garnye sings as the beat kicks in:

There’s a place where we don’t have to feel alone / Every time that you call out, you’re a little less alone
If you only say the word / From across the silence your voice is heard

Beat, beat, beat, accelerando, more harmonies (excellent musicianship, btw) and we get to the big gorgeous ending that seems our due.

Big props to Zarley who edited the video. Three solo shots could have been a real snore to watch, but the whole shindig takes on such visual dynamics it feels like having a whole Broadway ensemble on my screen.

Enough of my prattling, though. Hit play, kick back and feel good. The right message at the right time.

Podcast: Bermuda Repeals Marriage Equality; Out US Olympians Celebrate Opening Ceremonies; Sir Ian McKellen Remarks On Kevin Spacey’s Late-Life Coming Out

In this week’s podcast:

• Bermuda becomes the first country in the world to repeal marriage equality

• The 2018 Winter Olympics open as the U.S. celebrates our first two out male athletes to compete at a Winter Games

• Sir Ian McKellen finds Kevin Spacey late-life coming out “distasteful”

• Plus, out singers Matt Zarley & Jeb Havens cover Meghan Trainor’s “Dear Future Husband”

Music Video: Matt Zarley & Jeb Havens “Dear Future Husband”

Check out the sassy new music video from out singers Matt Zarley & Jeb Havens (both favorites here on The Randy Report) as they share their take on Meghan Trainor’s “Dear Future Husband.”

Dig the awesome arrangement and tight harmonies. Totally fun.

The duo recently debuted their new show “Works of Heart” in Puerto Vallarta and Los Angeles and plan to tour later this year.

p.s. Jeb will be singing “now and forever husband” as he married his longtime bf, Steven, yesterday in Los Angeles. Congratulations to happy couple!

Podcast: Trump Administration Backs Anti-Gay Baker; Ellen Admits She Was Told To Tone Down The Gay; New Music From Jeb Havens

In this week’s podcast from The Randy Report:

• The Trump administration throws it’s support to an anti-gay baker from Colorado at the US Supreme Court

• A new study in the UK shows gay folks are still afraid to hold hands in public

• A new computer algorithm can determine sexuality by scanning a photo – not a good thing

• Ellen DeGeneres admits she was told to tone down the gay talk in the early years of her talk show

• Trans actress Laverne Cox books another network series

• Out international recording artist Jeb Havens offers a moving, emotional cover of Pink’s “What About Us”

All that and more in this episode of The Randy Report!

Instagram Round-Up: Labor Day Weekend

A round-up of what my much-cooler-than-I friends are up to on Instagram this weekend:

Pop/rock star Richard Marx closed out his successful 3 week residency at the Flamingo Las Vegas:

A post shared by Richard Marx (@therichardmarx) on Sep 3, 2017 at 1:30pm PDT

Tony Award winner Betty Buckley performed at 54 Below in NYC with Michael Feinstein:

Out singer/songwriters Matt Zarley and Jeb Havens announced a multi-week run in Puerto Vallarta titled, “Works of Heart:”

Tyson Beckford prepares for his final (for now) performances with the world-famous Chippendales in Las Vegas:

Nashville super-gays Joe Wooley and Jim Schmidt have been sharing awesome pics of Amsterdam:

A post shared by Joe Woolley (@woolleyjoe) on Sep 3, 2017 at 1:05pm PDT

Ruby Lewis, star of Las Vegas’ “Baz” takes an extra bow as she looks to her day off:

Out Music: Jeb Havens’ Gorgeous Cover Of Lorde’s “Liability”

Jeb Havens

Back from a year-long trek around the world (I actually caught him in concert in Puerto Vallarta last month), uber-talented Jeb Havens was quick to start recording new music.

And here’s his first new track – a cover of Lorde’s “Liability.”

I’m sooooo excited that Lorde has new music coming out! I absolutely adore her and can’t wait to hear the rest of this album in a few weeks. I heard this beautiful, dark, and emotional pre-released single and it immediately resonated with me, and I couldn’t get it out of my head until I recorded it in my closet.

Listen to the powerful yet sensitive reading of “Liability” below. You can find Haven’s music on iTunes here.

Podcast: Jeb Havens, Barronelle Stutzman, Texas’ “Bathroom Bill,” Finland Ready For Marriage Equality

Click play below as I recap this week’s top headlines from politics, pop culture and entertainment of interest to the LGBT community:

• Anti-LGBT florist Barronelle Stutzman loses again – this time in the Washington state supreme court over refusing to sell flowers for a same-sex wedding

• Texas gets pushback from the NBA and major stars on it’s proposed anti-transgender “bathroom bill”

• North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper shares his plan to repeal his state’s anti-LGBT law, HB2

• Finland’s Parliament kills a last ditch attempt to block same-sex marriage

• Out singer/songwriter Jeb Havens dropped his uber-romantical, world-traveler music video just in time for Valentine’s Day – “Pushy Little Compass Heart” from his album, Home Base

Hit play below – and share the link to share The Randy Report podcast!

Music Video: Jeb Havens “Pushy Little Compass Heart”

New music video from out singer/songwriter Jeb Havens for his song “Pushy Little Compass Heart” from his debut solo album, Home Base.

I’m not scared of losing my way anymore
Cuz I’ve got this pushy little compass of a heart leading me straight to yours

Jeb, who’s been on a world trek for almost a year with his fiancé, shares on Facebook:

Exactly 1 year ago, I released my album “Home Base”.

Today, I’m releasing the music video for the single “Pushy Little Compass Heart”, a song about finding your way towards the one you love. Steven and I filmed the video during our 5-day, 41-mile trek through gorgeous Abel Tasman, New Zealand. Hope you enjoy it.

Big Love,

I’ve previously featured Jeb and his music here and here and here and here.

Podcast: The Best Of LGBTQ Entertainment In 2016

Tune in as I share my “Top 5” lists of the best in LGBTQ music, film, theater and more from the year that was 2016.

• Top 5 songs from out musicians Ty Herndon, David Hernandez, Jeb Havens, Halsey and Tegan & Sara

• Top 5 LGBT themed movies: Moonlight, Retake, Other People, First Girl I Loved and King Kobra

• Highlights from Broadway including The Color Purple, Falsettos and Dear Evan Hansen

All that and much more. Hit the play button and enjoy!