We recently had the chance to sit down and get to know Brandon Stansell, and believe us, you’ll want to do the same!
Brandon is a rising country star, who also represents the LGBT community in the country music genre. His recently released song “Hometown” is about growing up in Tennessee and the struggle of being gay in a conservative town, but overcoming adversity and living his truth.
NG: You recently announced your single, “Hometown.” It’s obviously a personal story, so can you describe how you went about choosing to release that song?
BS: When I wrote this song, I remember leaving the session thinking I would never release it – not because I wasn’t proud of it, but because I had written the song from such a deeply personal place, I never thought anyone else would ever be able to relate to it. I eventually decided to try it out at a few shows and the response was not what I was expecting – it became THE song people left talking about and THE song people felt most connected to; it would soon become the thing I am most proud of.
NG: You also just released a video for the song as well. What was it like making that?
BS: Filming this video was one of the most rewarding experiences, because I see this piece as a tool that has to the potential to make a positive impact on both the LGBTQ and straight communities. I grew up in small-town Tennessee, gay and a lover of country music. I thought I was the only person like me in the entire world, and that made for a very lonely childhood. I don’t want anyone else to ever feel that way and I think this video will bring comfort and hopefully some inspiration to people like me.
NG: What has the reception been to “Hometown” and the video?
BS: I’ve been overwhelmed, to be honest. It came from such a raw place – like putting a really painful chapter from your diary out into the world – that I just didn’t know what to expect. But from CMT making history with us by airing it, to the literally hundreds of people who have been commenting and reaching out to say how much it has touched them and helped, it has been rewarding beyond words. Especially in this social / political climate we’re in right now – to know that I’m able to contribute a voice to the call for hope, it means even more.
NG: You had the chance to record with Ty Herndon. What was that like and how did it come about?
BS: I owe a lot to artists who have been navigating these waters long before me, so working with Ty on “Slow Down” was not only an honor because he is an enormous talent and a dear friend, but all because he is one of the few artists that paved a path for an artist like myself to even exist.
NG: I know you’ve been inspired heavily by the 90’s, specifically the women of the 90’s. Who are your faves?
BS: Well, that’s who I grew up listening to – the ladies of the 90’s! Some of my favorites were, of course, Reba McEntire, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Shania Twain, Trisha Yearwood, and Lee Ann Womack. I remember one of my first concerts – my mom took me to the UTC Arena in Chattanooga to see Reba! Not too long into the show, she drove out onto the stage in a limo, stepped out wearing a floor length white fur and started singing Fancy. I remember, at that moment, looking at my mom and telling her I knew what I wanted to of the rest of my life – funny thing about this story is my mom didn’t know I was gay until I was 22.
NG: If you could duet with one of your favorite women from the 90’s, who would you choose?
BS: Hands down – Lee Ann Womack. I am such a big fan. I mean, there’s a reason a they call her the Queen of Country. And it’s my thought that Queens should stick together…
NG: What’s one song by another artist that you wished you had written?
BS: “Party Of One” by Brandi Carlile
NG: If you could describe your music in 3 words, what would they be?
BS: Really freaking good? Can I say that?
NG: You recently hosted a benefit concert for Nashville Launch Pad. How did that come about and what was it like for you?
BS: I was only recently introduced to Launch Pad and their work. I was struck by the statistic that last year 44% of youth coming to Launch Pad identified as LGBTQ – slightly above the national average (40%) for youth experiencing homelessness. These young people cite being rejected by their families because of being LGBTQ as one of the most common reasons for being homeless. I know all too well the fallout that can occur when you decide to be honest about who you really are. But being honest should never result in you having to live on the street.
So, with the help from some of my favorite artists including Ty Herndon, Cam, Natalie Stovall, Shelly Fairchild, Tiera and more we were able to raise over $6K for the non-profit at a benefit show at Analog at the Hutton Hotel on November 5. I am so grateful for the work Launch Pad continues to do in my own hometown and this was very least I could do to help in their efforts. It’s time we help fight the tide and make sure these kids know how wonderful they really are. I want them to live long, happy lives and be part of this change we’re pushing for.
NG: What can fans expect next from you?
BS: New music and new tour dates – coming soon in the new year so stay tuned!