Brandon Stansell Talks Emotional 'Hometown' Video & Being Openly Gay in Country Music: 'Visibility Is Important'


Country music might not be recognized for being inclusive to LGBTQ artists, however rising musician Brandon Stansell is redefining the style one soulful track at a time.

“I believe that folks, particularly within the south, who take heed to nation music are extra open and loving than we give them credit score to be,” says the doe-eyed 31-year-old. “We simply have to present them the chance to point out us.”

Twangy and reflective, the Nashville native’s new music video for "Hometown" begins on a word acquainted to many LGBTQ of us; a dad or mum’s emotional response to his popping out. Stansell stands tearfully in a doorway whereas his mom yells angrily right into a cellphone, “I don’t need my son to be referred to as queer, I don’t need him to be queer. I believe the entire thing is an abomination.”

She can’t even take a look at Stansell within the eye as she mutters, “You wish to go on the market and make us ashamed of who you're, that’s a alternative,” seconds earlier than kicking him out of the home. The scene is heartbreakingly acquainted for a lot of queer folks. While solely 10 % of younger folks within the United States establish as LGBTQ, they account for 40 % of homeless youth.

The video's premiere was a little bit of a monumental second: it debuted on CMT final month, bringing a queer storyline to the community's nation music followers. Billboard chatted with Stansell concerning the groundbreaking music video, his personal popping out and navigating the nation music scene as an brazenly homosexual artist.

Why was this story vital so that you can inform?

I believe that visibility is vital, particularly in nation music. I believe that everybody desires to listen to their story advised. I believe that’s a commonality we share. For the longest time, people who find themselves LGBTQ and lovers of nation music, we didn’t actually hear our tales on nation radio or performed on CMT. It was actually vital for me to share my story in essentially the most genuine, possible way I presumably might.

Have you confronted any challenges within the nation music scene?

I assumed there can be initially, that I might be met with a bit of extra resistance. But actually, ever since I began strolling down this highway and pursuing nation music, I’ve actually had nothing however good issues stated to me and about me with what I’m doing. I had an identical dialog with Cody Allen, who hosts the CMT radio present. He got here out just a few years in the past however he’s established a profession for himself. Even he was saying he was actually shocked at how great his fellow artists have been and the way loving the followers have been to him and the way great his bosses at CMT have been. I believe that folks, particularly within the south who take heed to nation music, are extra open and loving that we give them credit score to be. We simply have to present them the chance to point out us.

In the primary minute or so of the music video, we see your mother reacting fairly negatively to your popping out. Did you draw on real-life experiences for that second?

I kinda speak concerning the video as being a illustration of my very own story. That first scene is sort of a boiled down model of each motion and response I’ve ever had with any of my members of the family. It was only a option to inform it in essentially the most clear, concise, and full manner in a minute if we presumably might. It’s one thing most individuals might relate to. As a homosexual man, that relationship with my mom and seeing that break is the factor folks relate to with the approaching out expertise. I had a number of similarities and my very own expertise. They ring true whether or not it was my mom or my sister or my father. We sort of piled all of them into that one second because the illustration of the complete factor that occurred.

It’s been attention-grabbing over the previous month to see how many individuals see themselves in that second. It’s not concerning the scenario, it’s about these issues being stated and people emotions that you've. Wherever you have been or regardless of the circumstance, these are common emotions. That's what we wished to faucet into. That uncooked feeling of devastation. When you see this assist system that you've recognized and are available to anticipate your whole life, your loved ones, evaporate in a second once you determine to be trustworthy about who you're. By some miracle, we have been in a position to seize that in about 40 seconds and it’s resonating with folks.

How have followers reacted to the video? What do you hope your video does for viewers?

The responses have diverse throughout the board. My hope with the video was that it will engender conversations between the LGBTQ group and the straight group. For my group, it will assist folks not really feel alone. When I used to be a child watching CMT, I by no means would’ve anticipated to see a video like that. If I had, I wouldn’t have felt within the silo that I felt like I used to be dwelling in for thus lengthy. For straight folks, I believe the second they get a peek into what these conditions are like and the way life-changing they are often, to determine “you already know what, my homosexual brother, sister, son, daughter, I don’t need that to occur to them." That’s the start of breaking the cycle of this heartless and mindless hurting of each other only for being LGBTQ.

A fan despatched your video to his mom and so they had a really transferring dialog textual content. How does it really feel to your artwork to be transferring folks in that manner?  

When I noticed that alternate with this man and his mom, and them each watching the video independently of one another, and the mom seeing this factor and saying “let’s begin once more,” sort of searching for a refresh and restart, and for the son, getting that apology that he by no means thought he would get. Hey, I understand how you're feeling! That’s vital. It’s very straightforward in households to suppose that the apology step is just not wanted however it’s so wanted for therapeutic. That one interplay made this complete factor value it, all of the work, on a regular basis we put into this. That one factor made it value it.

Watch Stanell's "Hometown" music video beneath.