LGBT Academy Of Recording Arts Presents 9th OUTmusic Awards Online

Last night, the LGBT Academy of Recording Arts (LARA) presented an online presentation of the nominees and winners of the 9th OUTmusic Awards on

These are actually the winners of last year’s awards, but the presentation was cancelled due to some financial issues. Those issues continue to be shrouded in secret for what has been deemed legal reasons.

Via press release:

The 9th OUTmusic Awards were scheduled for production on January 19th, 2015, but the ceremony was postponed due to the fact that OUTmusic Inc. the 501c3 non-profit organization was the victim of a substantial financial fraud crime.

“Unfortunately, we had to abruptly postpone our production of the 9th OUTmusic Awards due to the fact that our organization is the victim of Financial Fraud Crime which caused significant and astronomical damages we were not able to recover from as fast as we wanted to. Hence, we were not able to deliver the production of the 9th OUTmusic Awards months later as we were planning. I wanted to share this information with you sooner, but because this was a crime against our organization, I was advised to not disclose any details to ensure the best possibility for justice to prevail in our favor. I have taken the necessary steps with the proper authorities and have been working with some generous business, media, and creative industry professionals who stepped up to offer their support in our endeavor to recover.”

I’ve supported the OUTmusic Awards in the past as I’m a big believer in giving LGBT artists acknowledgement for their artistic achievements. Here’s hoping OUTmusic’s issues have been resolved and the organization can move forward in celebrating LGBT achievement in music.

Here’s a complete list of the announced award winners:

Gold Nation (Soundtrack To Freedom)
Sir Ari Gold with Bob Sandee, Zhana Roiya and Sophia Ramos

We Will Know
Omar Thomas

She (She4Me)
Jen Foster

The Other Side
Monifah Carter

Be Strong (LGBT Youth)
MRF feat. Lisa Bello, Justin Waithe, and Sheree Dunwell

Something Great
Karmen Butler

Deja Vux

New York
Infinite feat. Sonny Lewis

Hell In Gramercy
Derek Nicoletto

Unexpected Love

Ooh Damn (Like Ooh)
Reina Williams

Our Love Is Here To Stay

Toya Delazy
Forbidden Fruit

Come Bless The Lord With Me
The Relationship


Jess Godwin

“Rebecca” from the webseries Producing Juliet
Rob Gokee

Forever With You
D’Lance Jones

Since U Been Gone
Well Strung

MRF feat. TJ Johnson, Clevland P. Jones

We Will Know
Omar Thomas

It’s Christmas Everyday

The Candi & Randy Show: 2012 OutMusic Award winner Matt Zarley


Fresh from his double win at the 2012 OutMusic Awards, Matt Zarley joins us to talk about attending the event this past weekend in Las Vegas where he was honored for Single of the Year (“Change Begins With Me”) and Album of the Year (“Change Begins With Me”).

The OutMusic Awards are presented by LARA (LGBT Academy of Recording Arts).  The OutMusic Awards nominate and honor LGBT musicians for their achievements and contributions during the past year.

OutMusic Awards 2012: Matt Zarley wins top honors

Matt Zarley won Single of the Year and Album of the Year for his song “Change Begins With Me” and his album of the same name at the 2012 OutMusic Awards in Las Vegas.

Other notable award winners include Vicci Martinez (of The Voice) for Best Rock Song, Frenchie Davis (of The Voice, American Idol and Broadway) for Best Dance/Electonica and Jeffrey Straker for Video of the Year.

Here is a complete list of winners from the 2012 OutMusic Awards:

Album of the Year
Winner – Matt Zarley – “Change Begins With Me”

Single of the Year
Winner – Matt Zarley – “Change Begins With Me”

Best Pop Song
Winner – Todd Alsup – “The Only Thing”

Best Rock Song
Winner – Vicci Martinez – “Come Along” feat Cee Lo Green

Best R&B/Soul Song – (Tie)
Winner – Nhojj – “Live Your Life”
Winner – B Slade – “I’m Done” (feat. Yummy Bingham)

Best Dance/Electronica
Winner – Frenchie Davis – “Loves Got A Hold On Me”

Best Folk/Country
Winner – Antigone Rising – “Everywhere Is Home”

Best Alternative Song
Winner – Love Darling – “Let Go”

Best Hip-Hop/Rap Song
Winner – KIN4Life “It’s Over Now”

Video of the Year
Winner – Jeffery Straker – “Slings and Arrows”

Best Song On A Soundtrack/Instrumental
Winner – Mark Barnes – “Gabby’s Song” (A Tribute To Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords)

Best Jazz/Cabaret Song
Winner- Avi Wisnia – “Maoz Tsur (Rock of Ages)

Best Spiritual/Inspirational Song
Winner – Jason Walker – “I Am Changing”

Best Spoken Word
Winner – Red Summer – “Loose Woman”

Best International Song
Winner – Virago – “Love Over Fear”

Biello-Martin Love Song
Winner – Brett Every – “What A Beautiful Day”

Best Producer of the Year
Winner – Michael V. Doane – “Little Kid”

Best CD Cover Artwork
Winner – Rachael Sage – “Haunted By You”

Sonicbids Humanitarian Songwriter of the Year
Winner – Frankie Love “Now Is The Time”

Interview with Singer/Songwriter Justin Utley

I’ve been a fan of Justin Utley and his music since his 2005 CD “Runaway.”

With his muscular country/rock voice, hunky good looks, open smile and public activism on behalf of the LGBT community, it’s easy to be drawn into all things Justin Utley.

Before moving to New York City, Justin lived in Utah and spent time involved in the Mormon Church’s same sex attraction “conversion” therapy program. Since then, Justin became an activist for civil rights and for LGBT equality. He began to speak out against the Mormon use of “conversion therapy” and speaks out as a role model for anyone struggling with the Church and spreading the truth about ‘therapies’ that faith based religious groups prescribe.

Nominated for four 2010 OUTMusic Awards at the LGBT Academy of Recording Arts in NYC, his song “Stand For Something” won Best Country/Folk Song of the Year.  The song was Justin’s personal musical response to the passing of Prop 8 in California.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with the handsome artist and what I thought was going to be a 15 minute segment easily became a full hour.

Justin is charming, disarming, direct and open in talking about his music and life journey so far.

Randy: You’ve spoken out about your experience with “ex-gay therapy” – can you tell us about it?

Justin: I can tell you that it doesn’t work. After coming back from my Mormon mission, I went to my bishop and told him I was having these feelings that I might be gay. So they sent me to a facility run by the church which is like the church’s “therapy/counseling” type thing. It’s all bound by church social science, so they can’t really explore outside the realm of that. So he sent me there to ask for a specialist in “same gender attraction disorder” – because homosexuality means that you’re sexual and they didn’t want you to be sexual so you have an affliction, it’s like a disease.

So I went to this one on one therapist for two years and then group therapy for the same amount of time. It was kind of like AA where everyone sits in a circle and talks, but with “ex-gay therapy” everyone is still gay the next week. At first it was liberating because I had met people who were in the same boat because I had spent 20-something years thinking I was the only one who was having these ‘issues’. But then, like, a year into it I was like “so when do things change?”

In the end, the therapist had me convinced I had been molested as a child. So before I even came out to my family I had told my parents I had been molested as a child. The one who called it out was my mom. And she was like,  there was never a day when you ‘came home from piano lessons an hour late.’  The way your conscious works, I would have known if something had happened. So this whole idea of whatever you’re going through, this repressed memory that never happened needs to stop and you need to deal with your bullshit. So I decided to stop the ex-gay therapy, and I decided to start dating someone.

Let’s talk about your music. You were nominated for 4 OUTmusic Awards in 2010 – winning for “Country/Folk song of the year” – how cool was that?

It was very validating. In 2009, I decided to stick this out and do what I came here to do. When I submitted it for the OUTmusic Awards, I felt like it would be great to just get a nomination. And then they came back with four nominations! And at that point I thought: Wow! I’ve definitely struck a chord – this is me. I’m meant to do this. It was amazing.

What is the process of writing like for you? Do you sit down on a regular basis to exercise that muscle? Or do you need to be inspired by a thought or experience?

I get inspired. Like when I recorded “Behind My Eyes,” a few years before that my aunt had just committed suicide in Utah. She had called me a few weeks before and I thought that was really sweet – she had always supported me even though she was the ‘black sheep’ of her family, she was always defending me, she always had my back… and then she was gone.

“Behind My Eyes” was born out of that unfinished conversation that I wanted to have with her. The problem was that I had stopped writing it when I started putting down the earlier material. I had started writing it when I was feeling moved and inspired. So I had to lock myself in a room and listen to the orchestration of the song over and over again until my mind and my emotions went right back to where I was when it all happened. And that allowed me to keep writing the song.

Tell me about writing the song “It Is What It Is”…

I remember coming home one day and my boyfriend was there.  We had moved in together after about two months – which I found out was pretty quick for relationships. He was still at home and I was like, “I thought you were a manager at Equinox (prominent gym in NYC)? And he was like “oh no, I’m a personal trainer.” So I said “when do you train clients?” and he said “I don’t have any right now.” And I was like “how are you paying your share of everything…?”  And he said his mom sends him a check. And I thought, wow – it’s not that I judge you because you don’t have a job. It’s that you don’t have a work ethic.

We ended up having this argument and I asked him “what do you want to do with your life?” and he said “I want to be a back-up dancer for Madonna.” I said “dude, you are like 6’4″, 200 something pounds and thirty-something. You’re probably not going to be backing up Madonna for anything.”  I mean, I ‘m all for people pursuing their dreams but I also want to be a realist… and I thought to myself “what the fuck? really?” He really didn’t like that answer and… he broke the top of my nose.  LOL… There’s even a line in the song “I never felt so out of place, I took one step back just to save my face.”  Yeah, he got a little angry. So I moved out and that night I wrote “It Is What It Is” which is one of my favorite tracks on the album.

You have a concert coming up in New York City on March 30th at The Triad.

Yes! It’s this cool place on the Upper West Side – red curtains, little big theater, perfect for the setting and it’s the first time in NYC I’ll be performing with a full band. I’m very, very excited and it’s going to kick off my summer of gigs.

Now, I’d like to ask some of those “odd interview questions” because I love to see what people will say.


If you were a super hero, which super hero would you be?

The Hulk.

Ok! good answer. That was easy  🙂

I have to say, my temperament has changed a bit – the gym used to be a real intense goal for me. So maybe a morph between that and Superman. I think that may have something to do with the cape and the briefs and all that stuff for Superman, but…

Who was your first celebrity crush?

Ummm… probably Tom Selleck. My grandmother had this poster of him that I remember as a child, and I remember thinking “oh lord… that’s a handsome man…”

What’s your biggest turn-on in life?

As cheesy as it sounds, I get the biggest rush from putting together the first layers of a song – the first ‘beginning, middle and end’ of a song. When I can sit back and say “X amount of time ago this was dead space – there was nothing. And now I’m looking at this creation. A blank canvas that had nothing now has this depth and this emotion in it. I really, really love that feeling.

What is your life philosophy in ten words or less?

“Be the change you would see in the world.” That’s really what it’s about for me right now. There would be so much more happiness and so much less bull-shit in the world if people lived by that. I talk to people about my music these last few years, and talk about equality. And people say to me “I’m on the boat but I want someone who’s going to lower my taxes…” And I think – I’m not willing to sit at the back of this bus or go back to what I was. I’m worth so much more than that. I would pay 90% taxes to be able to feel and have the same rights, to be able to love, and be able to have the same life as anyone else in this country. I don’t see how there’s any other price that you can put on that.

You can find Justin Utley’s music on Amazon, iTunes, his website – – and all major music sites.  Go get his music!

And you can follow Justin on his Facebook Fan page.

Here’s one of my favorite Justin Utley songs – “Great Escape” – from his new CD  Nothing This Real

OUTMUSIC Awards to be held Monday, May 23 in NYC

From the AP: Things are looking up for OUTMUSIC: Its seventh annual awards ceremony next week, honoring artists from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, will be at its largest venue to date and has drawn big sponsors including Live Nation. But the group’s chairwoman and CEO said there’s more work to be done.

When it comes to mainstream music, “artists are often persuaded to pretend to be straight to get the best opportunity,” said OUTMUSIC chief Diedra Meredith.

Under her stage name, Deepa Soul, she herself was told “to essentially stay in the closet” when signing a recording contract.

Chely Wright, a former country music star who’s to be honored at Monday’s awards show at Irving Plaza, announced last year that she was gay. Wright was ostracized; radio stations stop playing her songs, and she was made to feel like an outsider in the industry.

Wright said it was as almost as if she didn’t exist.

Though she wasn’t thrown out of the Academy of Country Music or had any Country Music Television appearances canceled, she said “I haven’t gotten any invites, either.”

Wright said she knew of the possible consequences when she came out but was still confused by the ordeal because she was the same performer who had enjoyed a successful career since 1994.

At one time, Wright was one of country music’s darlings. She was romantically involved with country star Brad Paisley, whom she credits as one of her two main loves before coming out.

Immediately after her announcement, Wright says OUTMUSIC embraced her and made her feel like she was part of a community again. Now she’s touring in support of her 2010 release, “Lifted Off the Ground.”

Wright is to be given the organization’s Vanguard Award, bestowed on an individual who leads the LGBT community. Cyndi Lauper will be honored as the organization’s person of the year. Jonathon D. Lovitz, host of the Logo series “Setup Squad,” is one of the evening’s presenters. He expects to have some fun with the crowd.

Ray Boltz leads nominees with four nods, including album of the year for “True.” Deepa Soul, Jason Walker and Christine Martucci are scheduled to perform. The show will be broadcast on the Logo Network at a later date.

For more info, click here.