Music serves as the great unifier, and country music is rampant with messages celebrating inclusive love. The people who work for CMT are always proud of the network’s LGBTQ fans, and in observance of Pride month, the network has chosen five LGBTQ artists you need to know who are doing their part to unify music fans of all backgrounds.
CMT will participate in Nashville’s Pride celebrations Saturday (June 22). For the 2019 parade, CMT will deck out one of its production trucks and hand out awesome swag for everyone. The Nashville Pride Fest (June 22-23) will feature performances by TLC, Neon Trees, Cakes Da Killa, Madame Gandhi, Brandon Stansell, Brody Ray, Shelly Fairchild and more.
Here are five LGBTQ artists you need to know now:
Not only is Stansell living history, but he is also a triple threat as a powerhouse vocalist, world-class storyteller and a talented dancer whose resume includes Taylor Swift’s Fearless tour. No subject is off limits to him when it comes to writing original material. On the CMT Awards red carpet, Stansell said the last time he received some major fan love was when he sang his breakout single “Hometown” live recently at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. When he turned the mic to the audience, the packed house sang along. Stansell will perform at Nashville’s Pride festival Saturday (June 22) at Public Square Park (100 Metro Courthouse) in downtown Nashville.
Hawthorn bravely comes out at the end of his cinematic new video for his all-inclusive love song, “Dancing in the Living Room.” The Dallas, Texas native told the Dallas Observer that he never thought he’d come out as gay with his roots in the Midwest and South where it was ingrained in him that he would end up with a woman. Hawthorn hopes individuals see their own love story play out in the video’s plot. “I remember always thinking how special it was to dance freely with my boyfriend in the living room of our apartment — being gay, it’s not as easy to dance as a couple in public together as it is for a straight couple,” Hawthorn told his hometown paper. “I wanted to express how special that moment is for a couple when it’s just the two of you in the privacy of your own four walls.”
With a performance style that’s half-Dolly Parton and half-Dolores O’Riordan, Harper Grae exhibits cool country wisdom that’s beyond her years because of her grandparents’ raising. Her latest EP Buck Moon Medleys gets its title from the full July moon, and Grae should be feeling pretty empowered in this season with her birthday on July 4. “When people relate to the words I’ve written or respond to the notes I sing, I feel fulfilled,” she tells CMT.com. “Everything this world has to offer, the good and the bad, can be used for a greater purpose, and that is to help others. That’s what I want my music to do anyway.”
You know Keilhauer from her time competing on Blake Shelton’s team on The Voice season 16. But she’s also released two full albums independently and collaborated with pop’s Jordan Fisher for the Disney collaboration, “Happily Ever After.” Fresh off a tour with Jake Owen, Keihauer is set to release new music later this summer.
Leigh is best known in the mainstream country community as one of the prolific songwriters behind the soul-stirring lines in Zac Brown Band’s “Sweet Annie” and “Goodbye in Her Eyes.” She has built a devout following worldwide through years of constant touring and making original music that speaks to the soul. Her latest album is the 11-song Sonia Leigh and Friends: Studio 3 Sessions was recorded at London’s historic Abbey Road Studios with guests Broken Witt Rebels’ James Tranter, James Dudley and Luke Davis.