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Country boy Brandon Stansell: ‘My RPDR favorite Eureka will be in my next video’

Written by gaytourism

Eureka and Brandon Stansell | Photo: @theroxytaylor and Riker Brothers

Country singer Brandon Stansell says he’s ‘freaking out a little’. His ‘favorite’ drag queen Eureka, one of the final four on RuPaul’s Drag Race, will star in the video for his new single (pre-savable on Spotify) and he just can’t contain the excitement.

He is a genuine Southern guy, Stansell, born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. In a city like that, following the country path might sound like the only choice. Brandon started out as a back dancer for Taylor Swift, instead. Although he had always dreamt of being a country singer, it was only after Swift’s Fearless tour that the then-dancer decided to give songwriting a go.

And it was for the better as Stansell is now one of the most appreciated rising country artists and an inspiration for his fans, particularly those in the LGBTI community.

‘Country industry’ and ‘coming out’ are words that don’t go together well in the conservative deep south of the US. And yet Brandon summoned all his courage to live his truth when he was 22.

An image of singer Brandon Stansell

‘Don’t spend any more of your time living a life that isn’t yours.’ | Photo: Riker Brothers

‘Coming out was the hardest thing I ever had to do, but it was also the best thing I ever did for myself,’ Brandon, now 31, told Gay Star News.

‘I came out because I was in love and I couldn’t hide it or lie about it any longer. But because I came from a conservative, Southern Baptist family, I knew I was about to experience a complete fallout with the people who were supposed to love me the most because of that choice.’

Coming out in the country industry

Before Stansell, other big names of country music decided it was about time they came out of the closet. Chely Wright and Ty Herndon, to name but a few. The main difference was that by the time Stansell’s first EP Dear John was out, so was he.

‘Thankfully, since I started pursuing my career in country music, I’ve had a surprisingly wonderful response. Much like my family and their reactions, the industry has and continues to change,’ he says.

‘People are more loving than we credit them to be. We just need to give the opportunity to show us.’

‘I’m walking into things optimistically.’ | Photo: Riker Brothers

He also has some wisdom to share about his experience.

‘Coming out forced me to come to terms with who I am at a pretty early age and I think that’s a great thing because we get to spend the rest of our lives knowing who we are rather than trying to figure it out,’ he said. 

‘Whatever you dream of being, it’s important to recognize that coming out can be scary and it can be painful but in the end, it’s a purifying process that only leaves you stronger once all the fires die down.’

‘We need to be visible’

Stansell approached the country world as an openly gay man and that shows in his videos. Portraying relatable same-sex couples’ dynamics is refreshing for any musician, but it’s just revolutionary for a country singer.

‘When I started making videos for my music, there was never a question as to who would play opposite me. So, if I was going get my heart broken, a man was going to break it. If I was going to fall in love, I was going to fall for someone I was actually attracted to,’ he said.

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Brandon Stansell at Pride Live!

After singing at St. Louis Pride earlier this month, Stansell will perform at Pride Live!, a three-hour event watchable on GLAAD’s YouTube channel on 29 June.

Hosted by YouTuber Hannah Hart, the event is a partnership between GLAAD, Buzzfeed, and Into magazine. They are aiming to raise $50,000, all of which will go to GLAAD’s youth initiatives.

‘I am especially grateful anytime I get to be a part of Pride lineup,’ said Stansell.

‘I love to sing but I am equally as passionate about advocacy work and helping to create a better path forward for people like me, particularly if they like country music!’

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