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article imageInterview with Steve Grand: 'All-American Boy' Special

By Markos Papadatos     Mar 6, 2014 in Music
July 2, 2013, was a big day in the life of Chicago singer-songwriter Steve Grand. His self-funded music video "All-American Boy" was posted on YouTube and turned him into an Internet music phenomenon.
As of today, his music video has generated over 2.8 million views and ever since, his music has touched listeners and fans worldwide. He has been hailed as a "viral sensation," as well as one of America's "first openly gay country stars."
Regarding the idea behind his breakthrough single "All-American Boy," he shared, "When I was a young kid, my dad would always brag about me and my brother. Once day, we were walking and he patted us both on the head and he told us that we were his 'all-American boys.' He took a lot of pride in that and so that stuck with me all these years. I learned that I was gay when I was 13 and it made me re-examine what it means to be 'all-American' and I found myself questioning as to whether or not I am excluded from that, now that I know that I am a gay man. Almost exactly 10 years later when I realized that I was gay, I released a video for the song, which re-examined and broadened the idea of being 'all-American' all inclusive."
He continued, "The song is a story about unrequited love between two men. It is something that I have experienced countless times and it is something that all humans experience at some point to all different degrees. I feel that this is true for gay people that grow up in a predominantly heterosexual world."
Grand launched a Kickstarter campaign for his upcoming CD, where his fans were able to successfully fully fund his project in just 17 hours. It had been shared approximately 9,000 times on Facebook and more than 1,600 consumers had stepped up to show their support. In less than two days, his Kickstarter became one of only 32 artists out of over 27,000 musicians to raise $100,000 or more, which is quite an accomplishment. "I am still stunned," he said in disbelief. "I always knew that my fans would come through for me, but for them to be able to do this in 17 hours, I am so blown away, and so humbled and so grateful. Not only did they reach the goal, they have blown past it and have made me one of 32 artists past the $100,000 mark, which is just incredible. I told my fans that every dollar that we raised will allow our voices to be heard on a bigger, global scale and there is so much power to that."
As an independent singer-songwriter, Grand has had a great deal of creative and artistic freedom to record music that is authentic and dear to him. "It's really a beautiful thing since it shows that the power is being put back into the hands of the people that consume art, which is the way it should have been," he said.
He manages to stay connected with his fans around the clock. "I am very connected to them," he said. "I take it very seriously and I have hold that relationship very sacred. It's not just about the music for them, but it's this movement to get our voices heard and to see us represented in a different way and to be a part of us for me is really special."
Grand has accumulated over 101,000 fans, who are affectionately known as "Grandfam" on Facebook. "That was really cool, since it happened the day after my birthday," he said. "I am so grateful to have this pocket of followers that understand what I do and understand my message and who believe in it and want me to succeed."
His newest original single "Back To California" deals with the subject matter of friendship and he dubs it as one of the most "honest songs" that he has written. "In that song, through my own life experience, I wanted to capture the disillusion of youth. When we are young, we have all of these hopes and dreams and the world seems like this great place that we cannot wait to plunge into after high school. We see how these goals and dreams are not always realized and they do not always come true. It is based on a true story of a friendship that I had with a girl starting in middle school. We were the best of friends and we bonded over many things. This friendship lasted into high school and circumstances made us break away in high school and in college we would see each other every six months. We would change so much and so fast each time we would see each other. That love never died after all of these years of separation and distance and time. That is something that I wanted to capture and the song came immediately after she posted on Facebook that she got engaged and this flood of memories came rushing in. The idea of California is both literal and metaphorical. California represents the time in my life when I had that friendship," he said.
He concluded our interview by sharing his definition of success. "Success is waking up each day and doing what I dreamed about since I was a very little kid. It is being able to touch and move people with my music and my stories and the messages that are in my music. I feel like a very successful person since I am doing that right now. I am getting to have a positive impact on people, and I am getting to watch my music bring people together amongst themselves," he said.
For more information on singer-songwriter Steve Grand and his music, visit his official website.
More about Steve Grand, AllAmerican Boy, Interview, back to california, Kickstarter
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