Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, LGBTQ advocate and queer influencer Brandon Stansell has queued up the post-pandemic, summertime soundtrack we’ve all been craving with his single, “Pick Up Where We Left Off”. Brandon describes himself as a country artist who sings about all the traditional country things a male artist would sing about. You know..breakups, booze and boyfriends..
“Pick Up Where We Left Off” Brandon states “Sets the tone for the entire EP – it’s fun, it’s flirty and full of all the summer vibes you could want!” was the first track released from Brandon’s forthcoming EP This Must Be The Place which is set for release on September 3 via PEG Records and Warner Music Group/ADA.
The second single & title track to the EP, “This Must Be The Place” which Brandon states, “Is a look into a heart that has healed from a breakup and is ready to try again. It’s forward leaning with a true sense of optimism about what the future holds married with a melody that makes you want to listen to it over and over again”.
Stansell, who put out his first EP in 2015, has been an ardent advocate for the queer community and the advancement of LGBTQ artists in Country Music. Brandon’s music video for “Hometown” was the first LGBTQ-themed video to ever premiere on CMT. Last year, he released Hurt People (the title track featuring Cam) – a heartbreaking EP about his own family’s response to his coming out with Billboard magazine hailing Brandon “a bold new voice in the genre, as comfortable making you tap your foot as shed a tear – a singer songwriter with something to say, and a voice to remember” and Rolling Stone declaring Brandon “A Country Artist You Need To Know.”
In addition, Brandon was the first recipient of the Rising Star Award at Ty Herndon’s Concert For “Love & Acceptance Foundation” in 2020 and performed on the red carpet countdown show at this years event. Brandon is also currently featured on the Grammy Museum’s Collection: live series and has launched his podcast I Love This Country where he shares new country music and stories each week from mainstream country to artists who are breaking the mold.
How do you identify and how would you describe yourself as an artist?
Well, hello. I’m Brandon Stansell (he/him/his) and I would describe myself as a country artist who sings about all the traditional country things a male artist would sing about. You know..breakups, booze and boyfriends…
How did everything start?
I’d say everything started about thirty years ago – I was six and singing on the Opry stage. I was a kid performer at Opryland – it was basically my second home, and I loved it. It’s where I learned how to entertain and where I first found my love for Country Music.
How was your coming out experience?
My coming out experience was terrible. Imagine the rug being pulled out from under you and then someone trying to smother you with the rug. Coming out anywhere can be tough but coming out in the South to a strict Southern Baptist family was, in fact, terrible. That said, despite it being as hard as it was, I am thankful for what I had to go through because it made me who I am – and that is someone I am really proud of.
Do you feel like you’re an advocate for the LGBTQ+ and queer/trans/gender non-conforming communities?
I always say advocacy and artistry go hand-in-hand for me – I can’t imagine doing one without the other, especially when we still have so much work to do in the name of equality. I also think music is a great unifier and healer – it’s something that can bring people together despite their differences – and I hope my music is at least doing a little of that.
Is there enough LGBTQ+ representation in country music?
Country Music, at its core, is about storytelling but for so long queer artists, musicians, writers, have all been told not to tell their stories. That’s changing, but the small amount of queer artists in Country Music are just the beginning. Until a queer story is just a prevalent as a straight one, then no, there is not enough representation.
Who are your inspirations?
Amy Grant, Dolly Parton, Tracy Chapman, Brandi Carlile – in that order.
Any dream collaborations on your bucket list?
Amy Grant – she is the reason I started singing. So yeah, it feel like a full-circle moment to collaborate with her.
What is your favorite style of music to listen to?
I’m pretty eclectic but there is a reason I write and sing Country Music – it’s my heart.
Talk to me about your new singles “Pick Up Where We Left Off” and “This Must Be The Place.”How did you come up with the idea for the video clip for “Pick Up Where We Left Off” and who did you collaborate with?
My friend and director, Trent Atkinson, did the treatment for the new music video “Pick Up Where We Left Off.” We wanted to make something we though everyone could relate to and nothing was more universally experienced than the pandemic. So we married all of those pandemic moments I think we all felt at one point or another over the past year with a little bit of romance and what we got was something colorful, crazy and completely perfect.
What are your future plans?
Well, I am looking forward to the release of this EP on September 3 – it’s music I am proud of and excited for people to hear.
Official Website: HERE
Spotify Podcast “I Love This Country” HERE