Pride Music: Country Artist Hayden Joseph ‘Out’

Out country artist Hayden Joseph
Out country music artist Hayden Joseph

Rising country music artist Hayden Joseph releases his uplifting anthem of self-acceptance, “Out,” just in time for Pride month.

The new song showcases Hayden’s bright and effortless vocals amid modern country-pop production. The inspiring and forward-looking lyrics are a clarion call to be out and proud of who you are.

“Every artist needs an ‘I am’ song, and this is mine,” says Joseph about the new track. “At its core, it’s a track about celebrating who you are. For me, it narrates coming out and fully accepting myself, but the meaning will change depending on the listener.”

“I’ve sat on the song for 3 years because I didn’t want to ruffle country music feathers, but I have decided this Pride month is the time.”

Hit the play button below and bounce along to “Out.”

Hayden has been making waves as one of the few out-and-proud singers in the country genre for the better part of the last year, following the successful release of his 2021 debut album, Different (which has garnered over 300,000 streams).

He knows he faces an uphill battle as an openly gay male pursuing a country music career; it’s no secret that the genre hasn’t always been inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community. Despite that, he prides himself in the inclusive nature of his lyrics, and earnestly aspires to “write songs for everyone.”

Hayden strives to continue breaking industry barriers, just as he says in his new single: “Times are changing, uncovering new ground. The world is ready for how I’m speaking out.”

For more out country music artists, check out my previous posts with Cameron Hawthorn, Ty Herndon, and Patrick Masse & Drake Jensen.

You can follow Hayden on Instagram here. “Out” is available now on all digital download/streaming platforms.

Out Music: kate gill “ken&barbie”

Screen capture from 'ken&barbie'

Screen capture from 'ken&barbie'
kate gill is a 20-year-old singer-songwriter hailing from Queensland, Australia. She garnered a following on TikTok of over half a million followers from singing acoustic covers of pop songs including “A.M.” by One Direction, “The One That Got Away” by Katy Perry, and “Love Story” by Taylor Swift.

kate was inspired to write “ken&barbie” after hearing the story of how her best friend came out and struggled with his sexuality growing up. The original TikTok of kate singing the track has over 4M views to date and almost 30k original videos made.

You’ll note in the music video (over 123,000 views to date) the lyrics relating to the parents’ admonishments have a dull, grey background. But when kate sings the boy doesn’t have to explain himself, color returns to the screen.

Just a few remarks from the over-500 comments made on the YouTube page:

“This hurts so deeply because it’s so accurate I can’t”

“I’m bisexual and I am currently in love with a boy. But my parents are religious people and my dad is a pastor. It’s just hard knowing that they are homophobic. This song is literally breaking me apart, but I somehow find comfort in it. Thank you”

“I am straight and I have a lot of friends who are Bi. To be honest, this song hurts me. I can’t imagine the struggles they had to face ALONE because they had no one to actually listen and understand them. Y’all, chin up :(( You can do this!!”

“I’m subconsciously obsessed with this song”

“’17 years old feeling like a stranger at home’ damn that get me”

“I relate to this so much that it hurts, for about 9 years my mother has pushed being straight on me (I’ve not came out yet) she would always say that she wouldn’t hate us if we were gay but, she would be disappointed and cry asking what she did wrong. I work myself up to coming out to her and she ends up saying something weird about gay people and makes me take the decision back.”

Hit the play button and take a listen. You can download/stream “ken&barbie” here.
Cover art for kate gill's "ken&barbie"

New Music: Fab The Duo, Cazwell, Kylie Minogue

Greg Driscoll and Brendan Eprile in ‘Party For Two’

Catching up on new music releases this week:

Fab The Duo, biracial glam pop-rock duo and real-life couple, released their brand new single,”Party For Two.” The perfectly-timed quarantine bop is a celebration of staying in and bringing down the house with your dance partner of choice when you’ve got “nothing to do.”

The music video features the jubilant pair bringing the party to life as they tear up the floor with each other alongside a quartet of energetic backup dancers, offering inspiration in a time when it’s needed most:

“I know the world is frustrating and angry and oh so annoying. But sometimes you’ve got to close your eyes, grab that bottle of wine and dance the night away.”


Cazwell – “Ice Cream Truck 2020”

Out rapper Cazwell celebrates the 10th anniversary of his hit “Ice Cream Truck” with an updated version co-produced with Vjuan Allure, along with a fresh new music video (NSFW).

Cazwell was determined to have his video open up with rarely seen trans male representation. Artist and trans activist, Ezra Michel kicks it off by playing the opening drum line beat.

The video has a handful of hotties from the original “Ice Cream Truck” video from 2010 like Geronimo Frias and Alex Maravilla, plenty of new studs and an abundance of butt cheeks.


Kylie Minogue in “Magic”

Australian superstar Kylie Minogue drops her latest single and music video, the disco-tastic “Magic.”

Produced and mixed by PhD (also known as Peter Wallevik & Daniel Davidsen), “Magic” is an uplifting track interlaced with piano and brass, leading up to a feel-good, melodic chorus. The official video, filmed at London’s iconic Fabric nightclub, is an homage to British club culture, giving Kylie fans a moment of escapism to celebrate on a fantasy dancefloor.

Out Music: Bright Light Bright Light’s Latest Is Totally ‘Cool’

Bright Light Bright Light (Rod Thomas) & crew in ‘I Used To Be Cool’ (credit: Tyler Jensen)

 

Bright Light Bright Light serves up a bouncy, Fire Island beach-y synth-pop bop with the release of his latest song and video “I Used To Be Cool.”

A cheeky ode to cherishing your “15 minutes in the sun,” the music video for the new track is a campy homage to ’80s/’90s cinema, that feels one-part summer romance, one-part John Waters irreverence, and one-part classic MTV music video nostalgia.

(screen capture from ‘I Used To Be Cool’)

Fans of the 1980s will recognize tribute moments to Risky Business, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Desperately Seeking Susan and the music videos for “Magic” by The Cars and “Rock the Cradle” by Billy Idol.

The new video finds Bright Light Bright Light (aka LGBTQ pop star Rod Thomas) and two friends tending to the summer housework of a dreamy heartthrob. Not-so-subtle swooning, a saturated daydream sequence, and warm synths all add up to the perfect musical 80s homage for your July 4th holiday.

This is the third single from the artist’s upcoming album, titled Fun City, a collection of 80s-inspired dance-pop, as well as a musical love letter to the LGBTQ community.

According to Thomas, the vocals for Fun City were recorded on the empty dancefloor of East Village gay club Bedlam, a conscious decision made in an effort to channel the energy of the queer trailblazers that influenced him like Sylvester, Erasure, Scissor Sisters and Hercules & Love Affair.

The title of the album is a historical reference to a quote from NYC mayor John V. Lindsay who on his first day in office in 1966, amidst a crippling transit strike, said “I still think it’s a fun city.”

A Randy Report favorite for years, Bright Light Bright Light has been a staple of the international LGBTQ+ music scene for over a decade, having released three prior albums and touring as both a solo artist and as support alongside pop royalty like Elton John, Cher, Erasure, Ellie Goulding and Scissor Sisters.

Check out my previous coverage of Bright Light Bright Light here.

Pride Music: Billy Porter & The Shapeshifters “Finally Ready”

Emmy/Grammy/Tony Award winner Billy Porter drops this disco-tastic new track, “Finally Ready.”

Porter describes the collaboration with The Shapeshifters as “a declaration of Pride, of breaking free from past traumas to take a chance on love.”

Cinematic strings, live horns and Billy’s unmistakably powerful voice create a sonic dancescape complete with a message of Pride via Billy’s joyful lyrics.

“Finally Ready” hits on so many levels for me,” says the Pose star. “First, being ‘finally ready’ to experience what real love is. And thankfully, I have somebody who loves me enough to love me through trauma, to be present, and allow me to grow, into this.”

“I’m also ‘finally ready’ to be who I am, who I’ve always been,” he adds. “It has been a rough road, I’ve been through so many changes, but I always kept the faith and now I’m here.”

“And lastly, I’ve made a lot of different kinds of music – R&B, show tunes, ballads. But it should come as no surprise to anyone at all that disco is in my blood! I love to feel sparkly and have that light shine back into the audience. So, yes, I am ‘finally ready’ to make a classic disco record.”

“Now, let’s dance!”

News Round-Up: June 21, 2020

Singer-songwriter Pablo Alborán comes out (image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

NewNowNext: The pandemic might have forced us to reimagine how we honor Pride Month, but the spirit of Pride is very much alive. Check out this list of 10 virtual Pride events you can attend from the safety of your own home, including a range of events centering Black LGBTQ people amid ongoing actions against systemic racism and police brutality.

The Know: Kenneth Felts, at 90 years old, recently came out as gay to his family and friends. After deciding to write his autobiography during COVID-19 lockdown, he was inspired by the memories of the man that got away.

Pride Music: Fab The Duo has also released their new blues/gospel-tinged music video “Our Love Is Resistance,” the title track from their new EP. The video shows the duo marching down the streets of Manhattan towards The Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the gay rights movement.

Of the title track and music video, Fab The Duo says: “We recorded this song and music video at the beginning of 2020 in a world that feels very different from the one we live in now. Yet this track and its message seem more relevant than ever. We must fight against the hate and injustices of the world at all costs and know that love will prevail.”

Digital Journal: The Amazon Video series After Forever scored three trophies including “Best Drama Series” at the 2020 Indie Series Awards on Thursday. The second season of the acclaimed series  is nominated for six 2020 Daytime Emmy Awards including “Outstanding Digital Drama Series.”

ABC News: Florida continued to set record-breaking numbers of COVID-19 cases, with an additional 4,049 new cases reported Saturday. There were an additional 40 Florida resident deaths related to COVID-19, according to the state’s Department of Health. On Friday, Florida reported what was then its record-high one-day increase of 3,822 cases.

Out: In an emotional video message posted to his Instagram account, Grammy-nominated, Spanish singer-songwriter Pablo Alborán (top photo) publicly opened about his sexuality, and how he is coming out as a proud gay man.

“Today, I want my voice to be louder and for it to have more value and weight. I’m here to tell you that I am homosexual and it’s okay. Life goes on, everything will remain the same, but I’m going to be a little happier than I already am.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

🙂

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International Transgender Day Of Visibility: ‘I Am Samantha’

L-R Benjamin Scheuer, Samantha Williams

In honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility, singer-songwriter Benjamin Scheuer releases his new song, “I Am Samantha.” The touching track recounts the real-life journey of Samantha Williams – a transgender woman who Scheuer first met and befriended at a coffee shop in New York City.

As Scheuer learned about Samantha’s story – and she, in turn, learned about his career as a singer/songwriter – she reflected on the fact she’d never heard a song about someone named Samantha. He promised her to change that, filling notebooks with details of her life and her journey to transition, and ultimately writing what is now “I Am Samantha.”

“I Am Samantha” is the story of one trans woman. It is also the story of what it means to love and be loved. With uncommon empathy, Scheuer unpacks not just Samantha’s journey, but the human journey we all take to find identity, acceptance, and love.

Today’s release comes accompanied by a powerful music video directed by T Cooper (director of the award-winning documentary Man Made) and starring a cast of 27 trans actors (believed to be the largest trans cast assembled to date).

The visual was also helmed by an all-female, LGBTQ, and/or person of color crew.

The song is being released today, March 31st on International Transgender Day of Visibility in partnership with a host of incredible organizations including the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF), GLAAD, Trans Lifeline, and The Ally Coalition.

Of their partnership on the project, TLDEF Program Manager AC Dumlao shares: “‘I Am Samantha’ is more than a song and a music video, it is a message that trans communities are resilient and multifaceted, and our stories are meant to be seen and heard. At TLDEF’s Name Change Project, where we connect low-income trans folks with legal representation in the name change process, we work with hundreds of trans folks every year, who like Samantha, are looking to live in their truth with their chosen name. TLDEF is excited to collaborate with Canvasback Music for the release of ‘I Am Samantha.’”

Benjamin Scheuer’s journey to this debut is not your standard singer/songwriter story. Well known throughout the theatre world on both sides of the Atlantic for his one-man show THE LION (2014), (which delivered a clutch of awards including a Drama Desk Award for “Outstanding Solo Performance,” an off-West End Award for “Best New Musical,” and an ASCAP “Cole Porter Award for Songwriting”).

Below you can check out the behind-the-scenes action from the making of the music video for “I Am Samantha.”

Samantha Williams penned this short essay to explain who Benjamin Scheuer is to her, how the song and video came to be, and what it means to be called by your name:

He’s a customer at the West Village coffee shop where I work, a fellow artist (I’m a writer; he’s a musician) who attended a reading of one of my screenplays and gave truly helpful notes, a tall guy with a boyish face and steampunk style, with cherry-dyed hair, elaborate boots and epaulets, and yet announcing his presence most resoundingly with his seemingly ever-present smile and earnest, enthusiastic greetings.

Benjamin Scheuer (pronounced SHOY-er) is a storyteller with a guitar, sharing through song his own very personal trials and triumphs as well as those of others. I already knew this when in his presence I complained to a coworker, as we listened to the Foo Fighters song “Sean” (also my fellow barista’s name), that there were no popular songs about “Samantha,” the name I had taken as my own about a year before (though I’m still not sure this oversight of songwriters throughout contemporary music history is actually true).

“I Am Samantha” was conceived in that moment of everyday food-service-industry banter, both songwriter and subject knowing this wouldn’t be just another lighthearted serenade or would-be rock hit in which the name was chosen simply because it rhymed with something or had the right number of syllables.

This was highlighted for Benjamin when I told him the origin of “Samantha,” that it had been the only name my parents could agree on prior to my birth, not yet knowing what was between my legs—which would ultimately lead to a name I went by for decades before all but erasing it from identifying documents (Ohio being one of four states that don’t allow changes to one’s birth certificate).

Benjamin and those involved in every aspect of the recording, producing and upcoming release of “I Am Samantha” have each endeavored to understand and do right by the story of my transition from [dead name] to the fully realized, confident person I am today.

Each of them I’ve had the pleasure of meeting is just as evidently excited as I am to share this song, this story of struggle and self-discovery, with the world—so that it might do what art uniquely can, which is to increase empathy by revealing the world through someone else’s eyes, while also, I can attest, making some of us feel just a little less lonely.

Benjamin Scheuer and Samantha Williams in Los Angeles
Benjamin Scheuer and Samantha Williams in Los Angeles (photo: Noa Griffel)

News Round-Up: January 10, 2020

Burt Ward as Robin and Adam West as Batman (promo photo via ABC)

Some news items you might have missed:

PageSix: Burt Ward, recently honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his role of ‘Robin’ (above) in the campy 1960s series Batman, says ABC advised him to take pills to reduce the bulge in his Robin trunks. #ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmm

Lambda Legal: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld a lower court ruling in Roe & Voe v. Esper that halted efforts by the Trump administration to discharge members of the Air Force because they are living with HIV. The panel of three judges wrote, “Any understanding of HIV that could justify this ban is outmoded and at odds with current science. Such obsolete understandings cannot justify a ban.”

Deadline: Trevor: The Musical, an acclaimed stage adaptation of the 1994 Oscar-winning short film that gave rise to one of the nation’s most prominent LGBTQ organizations, will make its New York debut this April in an Off-Broadway staging.

CNN: The latest CNN/Des Moines Register polling shows four Democrats closely clustered at the top of the rankings: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (20%), Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (17%), former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (16%) and former Vice President Joe Biden (15%) all cluster tightly at the top of the pack. That’s an increase of 5 points for Sanders and a drop of 9 points for Buttigieg since the last DMR poll in November.

NBC News: After nearly 40 governors agreed to allow refugees in their states, Texas Gov. Greg Abbot became the first governor in the country to refuse to take in refugees today. However, 18 of his 26 Republican counterparts chose to open the door to refugees, much to the surprise of the Trump administration.

USA Today: Brazil’s Supreme Court has reversed a ruling that would have required Netflix to remove a satirical film depicting Jesus as gay.

Out Music: Randy Report favorite Halsey drops her new music video, “You Should Be Sad,” in advance of her third studio album Manic set for release January 17.

The video is set at a country-inspired barn dance/rave and features choreographed sequences as Halsey channels her best Shania Twain. Fun clip and visually there’s lots of eye-candy.