As an out and proud gay man who once fronted the Christian rock band Everyday Sunday, Trey Pearson has certainly been forced to ask some tough questions throughout his life. And on his meditative, atmospheric new song "Hey Jesus," he's sharing his struggle to reconcile his sexuality and his faith with the world.
"It's been awhile since I came out and I was wondering / Do you love me the same," he sings, adopting a heartfelt, reflective tone to match the gentle guitar strumming and orchestral flourishes. "I know that I could never change / I tried so hard brought so much pain / I just wanna be loved for who I am."
If the lyrics come across as searching, the video for "Hey Jesus" demonstrates that Pearson – who was forced to deal with a boycott from Christian festival workers who didn't want him to perform at Joshua Fest in 2016 – is more than comfortable living his truth in plain view of any critics. The video features him in bed with a partner, as well as a drag queen and young boy mouthing the lyrics of the song. (That queen, incidentally, is Boyonce, part of the West family that recently sent Nina West to RuPaul's Drag Race and national prominence.)
"I wanted the video to show a few different scenes of different stages of life, and a few different scenarios showing different people of all ages and backgrounds that all have experienced those same feelings and questions," he says, adding that, "85% of LGBTQ adults in America came from conservative Christian/Catholic upbringings, so I feel like the song resonates in those ways."
Pearson, who co-directed the video with Megan Leigh Barnard, says, "I had a very clear idea of what I wanted the video to represent, and it was such a fun and meaningful passion project to do."
Additionally, the singer-songwriter tells Billboard that while the song itself asks big questions, he's in a confident place right now. "Coming out to myself and my family was the most difficult thing I had ever faced, so coming out publicly or being vulnerable in my music and journey, talking about all of that feels pretty liberating," he says. "For me, this song represents all of the feelings I had felt since I was a kid. I think a lot of people can relate to that."