Podcast: AGT’s Branden James Chats On His Memoir ‘Lyrics Of My Life’

Branden James (right) with his husband James Clark
Branden James (right) with his husband, cellist James Clark

Musician and now-author Branden James first captivated millions as a finalist on Season 8 of America’s Got Talent in 2013 where he received high praise from the judges for his emotional, operatic vocals.

During his time in the national spotlight, he hit more than one perfect note as he shared details of his coming out story and his broken ties with his religious family with the TV audience.

In his recently released memoir, Lyrics of My Life: My Journey with Family, HIV, and Reality TV, Branden highlights the conflicts of growing up gay in a world that looked upon his true self and beliefs as an impractical, sinful way of life.

The cover of Branden James's new memoir 'Lyrics of My Life: My Journey with Family, HIV, and Reality TV'

Through it all, he was surprised by one startling realization: how vital it is to be completely authentic in order to help others, as well as continue to heal himself.

Lyrics of My Life is authentically Branden sparing no details about his lack of stability as a young adult, estrangement from his close-knit family, and, despite it all, his unbreakable will to overcome adversity.

Searching for his own personal freedom, Branden finds reconciliation with his family, rediscovers his faith, and realizes that affliction and hardship are not what define us as human beings.

The response to Lyrics of My Life has been awesome. Among many to praise the memoir were the readers of POZ who voted the book ‘Best in Literature’ for 2020.

Since his time on America’s Got Talent, Branden has performed for Pope Benedict and The Mandela Family in South Africa. He has also performed at The Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago.

He currently tours internationally with his husband, Australian cellist, James Clark in a cello and vocal duo called Branden & James. If you travel to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in the near future, the terrific twosome are in residence at The Palm Cabaret through February 2021 with their new show, The Lady Gaga Songbook.

But, for now, join me as I chat with the oh-so-talented talented Branden James.

Lyrics of my Life: My Journey with Family, HIV, and Reality TV is available at all major booksellers including Amazon.

Podcast: Author/Illustrator Mike Curato’s Terrific Graphic Novel ‘Flamer’

In this episode of The Randy Report podcast, I chat with award-winning author and artist Mike Curato, who recently released his debut YA graphic novel, FLAMER, a coming-of-age story that confronts ideas of homophobia, bullying, body image and coming to terms with identity in every sense of the word.

Curato’s YA graphic novel follows 14-year-old Aiden Navarro who navigates friendships, deals with bullies, and spends time with Elias (a boy he can’t stop thinking about), as he finds himself on a path of self-discovery and acceptance.

Unfolding over the course of the last week of Boy Scout camp in 1995, Aiden’s story is heavily inspired by Mike’s own experience as a Boy Scout (and eventual Eagle Scout) and his coming out as a teenager.

Author & Illustrator Mike Curato

The Hollywood Reporter called FLAMER “the kind of book that might change its reader’s lives.”

I grew up as an avid fan of comic books, and I can see why graphic novels have become the grown-up version of that visual medium.

I really enjoyed not only Mike’s prose but his illustrations which are clever and powerfully evocative in their own right as a part of the storytelling. If you haven’t checked out graphic novels lately – this is the one!

FLAMER is available on Amazon here, and at Bookshop.org here.

New Book: Explaining To Kids Why Their Uncle Has A Boyfriend ‘Rainbow Relatives’

Whether you have your own questions as you prepare to come out to your kids, or you aren’t sure how to explain to nieces and nephews why their uncle has a boyfriend, or why their friend has two mommies, author Sudi (Rick) Karatas’ new book Rainbow Relatives can help.

With an entertaining approach to educating yourself and your peers about the issues and topics surrounding the LGBTQ community, Rainbow Relatives will help in prepping for the answers to kids’ questions and help adults raise kids to be open-minded and accepting adults.

This is the book that will help you approach those vitally important conversations and predict what you can expect from them.

The idea for the book came from a real-life phone call between Karatas and his sister. He asked if his niece and nephew knew that their uncle was gay. Her response? “I’m not sure; I think so. I don’t know how to talk to them about it, I wish there was a book on that…”

Ding ding ding!

Karatas shares a variety of stories, such as that of a Mormon woman’s transition from fighting against gay rights to becoming a crusader for them. Also included are the voices of filmmakers, actors, musicians, mental health professionals, and more.

Through Rainbow Relatives, Karatas helps parents support, advocate for, and educate their children, relatives, and family friends.

Check out author Sudi (Rick) Karatas and Rainbow Relatives below: