Steve Grand

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Steve Grand
Steve Grand at the Come Out With Pride in October 2013.
Steve Grand at the Come Out With Pride in October 2013.
Background information
Also known asSteve Chatham
Steve Starchild
Born (1990-02-28) February 28, 1990 (age 34)
Lemont, Illinois
GenresPop rock, country, crossover
Occupation(s)Model, musician, singer, songwriter
Instrument(s)Vocals, piano, guitar
Years active2011–present
LabelsGrand Nation

Steve Grand (born February 28, 1990)[1] is an American singer, songwriter and model from Lemont, Illinois, a Chicago suburb.[2] He became an overnight internet celebrity and the music video of his first hit "All-American Boy" went viral on YouTube in less than a week in July 2013.[3][4][5] This attention landed Grand on Good Morning America, CNN and other national media.[6][7][8] In addition to being a musician, Grand has become an active figure in the LGBT equality movement.[9][10][11] He released his debut album titled All American Boy financed by a successful Kickstarter public funding campaign. The follow-up album Not the End of Me was released in 2018.

Life and career[edit]

1990–2010: Early life[edit]

Grand grew up in the town of Lemont, Illinois, which he has "lovingly described as one of the 'blandest suburbs outside of Chicago'."[12]

Grand started writing music when he was 11 years old. After graduating from Lemont High School, Grand attended Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, for a year. He then returned to Chicago to enroll at the University of Illinois and later left to focus on his musical career.[3][13]

Grand cites a wide range of musical influences, including: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Billy Joel, Blink-182, Green Day, Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, Lady Gaga and Fall Out Boy.[12] Grand told QVegas: "But it was Dad who got me started. He would listen to a song and tell stories about what each song meant to him: where he was in life, who he was dating, what car he was driving. He made me realize the lasting power of music -- how a great song can take you back to the moment you first heard it. From that point on, I knew that's what I wanted to do in life, create something so real and beautiful that it stays with its listener forever."[14]

2011–2015: Career beginnings and All American Boy[edit]

Prior to launching his musical career, Grand modeled under a number of pseudonyms;[12] he was a cover model for Australia's DNA magazine in 2011 with a photo session shot by photographer Tom Cullis.[15] He played piano at four Chicago-area churches and at various clubs in Chicago, most notably The Joynt in downtown Chicago, until 2013.[13] He also performed cover songs, including hits by Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, One Direction and Journey, and uploaded these to YouTube under the name Steve [Starchild]. However, Grand wanted to release original music.[12]

On July 2, 2013, Grand uploaded a music video for his song "All-American Boy" to YouTube—producing it himself at a cost of US$7,000. The video almost immediately went viral. Just eight days later, "All-American Boy" had more than 1 million views.[3][16][17][18][19] The song, set against a backdrop of country roads, an American flag and friends around a campfire, tells the story of a young man in love with a heterosexual male friend. Grand recorded the vocals in his parents' basement and maxed out his credit card to self-fund the video. The video was directed and edited by filmmaker Jason Knade.[20] BuzzFeed ranked the video for "All-American Boy" on its list of the "24 Most Brilliant Music Videos from 2013", and Out magazine named Grand to its annual "Out100" list of the year's most compelling LGBT people.[21][22] On July 18, 2013, Grand made his television debut, performing "All-American Boy" on WLS-TV produced program Windy City Live.[23]

Some media have claimed that Grand is the "first openly gay male country singer", although this has been disputed.[24] Grand does not claim to be the first of his kind, and often talks with praise about the trailblazers who have come before him. Several gay male country musicians have toured gay bars and other venues for decades, beginning with Patrick Haggerty's band Lavender Country in 1972,[25] and two months before Grand's video hit, The New York Times profiled openly gay singer/songwriter Shane McAnally,[26] who has had charted songs as a vocalist in the past and is currently one of the most successful songwriters in the industry. Other openly gay or bisexual male vocalists who have had successful careers in the country music industry as songwriters or musicians have included Jimbeau Hinson, Drake Jensen, Mark Weigle, Brian Glenn,[27] and Shane Stevens.[28] Openly gay country star Chely Wright lauded Grand as "brave" in remarks to Michael Musto of, saying: "This is uncharted territory, as you know. I came out after having been in the business for years. He's trying to get into the business."[29]

On a number of interviews and media appearances, Grand disputes himself being a country artist. In an interview with Time Out, New York in preparation for the launching of his debut album All-American Boy, he says: "There's a lot of talk about me being a country artist, and that was the headline from the start: Gay country artist. I never really identified with that — I certainly didn't put that out there myself, and I've never done anything to affirm that label. That was something that was just placed on me. I mean, I understand, [the song] "All-American Boy" does sound country, and the video is certainly very country. But there's stuff that's very dance-pop with not a trace of country on the record. So I think that will surprise people. But I'm a songwriter, and I've always been much more concerned about just the basic elements, the lyric and the melody rather than the production."[30] Metrosource wrote that All-American Boy has "disparate" song styles, but it "works as a cohesive unit - rarely seen today...."[12]

On September 6, 2013, Grand released "Stay", the follow-up single to "All-American Boy".[31] followed by "Time" in 2014.[32]

He announced plans to release his debut album financed by a successful Kickstarter public funding campaign. Just one day after the launch, the original $81,000 goal had been reached and in within 5 days, double the original funding goal, and by close, $326,593 had been pledged by 4,905 backers.[33] The album titled All-American Boy was released on March 24, 2015.[34] Since releasing his first album, Grand has travelled across the United States performing at Gay Pride Festivals and supporting gay causes.

On June 20, 2014, Grand performed at the WorldPride Toronto 2014 opening ceremonies. Steve Grand performed during the ceremony along with Melissa Etheridge, Deborah Cox, and Tom Robinson. Toronto, with a population of approximately 6.4 million people, held 3 marches over 3 days: Trans march, Dyke march, and the WorldPride Parade.

In June 2015, Grand made his first trip to Europe as an Arts Envoy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for the U.S. State Department. He and his band promoted LGBT rights in Austria. While in Austria, he gave a talk and did a video for the local NGO "It Gets Better."[35] He gave a concert hosted by the Tri-Mission Ambassadors at the residence of Ambassador Alexa Wesner, a concert for Vienna's LGBT community as well as a concert at the Pride festival in Graz.[36] He also performed at Europride in Riga, Latvia.[37]

In December 2015, Grand produced a bluesy and soulful reprise of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You".[38]

2016–2018: Not the End of Me and acting[edit]

In March 2016, Grand and singer/songwriter Eli Lieb co-wrote a duet "Look Away".[39] By November 2016 the music video had received over 1,000,000 views on YouTube.

In March 2017, Grand performed at the Gay Mardi Gras in Sydney, Australia [40] and Gay Pride Tampa, Florida.[41]

Grand made his acting debut in December 2017 on the web series "Falling for Angels" (a Here TV/Pride Media project).[42]

During the summers of 2017 and 2018, Grand took up residence in Provincetown, Massachusetts, while performing weekly at the Art House.[43]

Grand's second album, "Not the End of Me," was released on July 6, 2018.[44] The music on this album reflects Grand's development as an artist and performer with a wide array of songs capturing his moods and personal experience.[45] Not The End Of Me appeared at number 10 on the Billboard independent charts for the week of July 21, 2018.[46]

Personal life[edit]

By age 13, Grand had come to the realization that he was gay[47] and struggled to gain acceptance of his sexuality within his Catholic family and faith.[2] He came out to friends starting in eighth grade.[citation needed]

On Good Morning America Steve shared how difficult it was for him to come out to his parents as a high school student—saying with obvious emotion "I felt like I was a shame to my parents and that there was no way I could ever make them proud"․ When his parents learned of his homosexuality, they encouraged him to seek counseling that would last five years. While some have called his therapy conversion therapy, he has not. In an interview with Michael Musto of, Grand said: "I want to make it clear that it's been misrepresented that I went through what most people know as conversion therapy. I saw a Christian therapist who, among many other beliefs, believed I'd be happier in a straight life. He didn't shame me for being gay. Most of the focus, we weren't even talking about my sexuality. But certainly his belief that I'd be living a happier life as a heterosexual was indeed harmful. In no way, shape, or form ... do I condone ex-gay therapy. I think it's a horrible practice. There's no scientific basis for it. A person's sexuality is a part of who they are. And I certainly suffered for not having my sexuality affirmed."[29]

He came out at age 19, and has attended the Chicago Gay Pride parade.[12]

In June 2015, Steve was interviewed by Johnny McGovern and described his coming out process as well as his musical development through his first album.[48]

In December 2015, Steve went public with his move toward sobriety.[49]


Grand has become an active figure in the LGBT equality movement.[citation needed] In addition to being a singer-songwriter and performer, Grand has performed at Pride events – and has partnered with The Human Rights Campaign[clarification needed] The Anti-Violence Project, Bailey House, the GLSEN Respect Awards, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates and the March on Springfield for Marriage Equality.[citation needed]

In 2014, he was one of the performers at the opening ceremonies of WorldPride in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[50]

In June 2015, Steve Grand visited Riga, Latvia, to teach a master's class and to take part in the Europride festival that was held in the country's capital city.[51]

In popular culture[edit]

Steve Grand has become a media-sought figure as a gay young artist.[citation needed] In 2013, he appeared on Out magazine's "Out100" list of prominent LGBT people.[citation needed] He also appeared in 2013 on Instinct gay American magazine's cover as one of its "Leading Men".

In 2016, Grand was included in Out Magazine's 100 Most Eligible Bachelors.[52] In May 2017 Steve was named the #3 most eligible Gay Bachelor by Attitude Magazine.[53][54]



  1. ^ " - Our Interview with Steve Grand". Archived from the original on October 16, 2014. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Virtel, Louis (July 8, 2013). "TheBacklot Interview: "All-American Boy" Steve Grand". Archived from the original on July 12, 2013. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Lennox, Michael Cidoni (July 8, 2013). "Steve Grand's 'All-American Boy' Becomes A Gay-Themed Country Music Hit on YouTube". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
  4. ^ Gupta, Prachi (July 8, 2013). "Steve Grand hailed as first openly gay male country singer with YouTube hit". Salon. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
  5. ^ "Gay-Themed Music Video a YouTube Hit". Time. July 8, 2013. Archived from the original on July 12, 2013. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
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  7. ^ "CNN Newsroom: A New Kind of Country". July 20, 2013.
  8. ^ Larry King (February 27, 2014), My World Would Have Changed | Steve Grand | Larry King Now - Ora TV, retrieved October 31, 2016
  9. ^ Nichols, James (October 11, 2013). "Steve Grand, Gay 'All-American Boy' Singer, Performs at New York's Bailey House Benefit". The Huffington Post.
  10. ^ "The VitalVOICE: Steve Grand to Perform at March on Springfield".
  11. ^ "Openly Gay Record Artist, Songwriter & YouTube Sensation Steve Grand to Perform His Hit Single "All American Boy" at GLSEN Respect Awards - Los Angeles". October 4, 2013.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Gurry, Matt. "Grand Ideas: A unique voice at a special moment, singer-songwriter Steve Grand introduces himself - on his term s". Metrosource. No. June–July 2015. pp. 34–37. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  13. ^ a b "Our First Country Gay Music Video: Steve Grand – All American Boy". The Center Orlando. July 5, 2013. Archived from the original on July 10, 2013. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
  14. ^ "Steve Grand ALL AMERICAN BOY". November 2013. Archived from the original on February 20, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
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  16. ^ Inawat, Ron Matthew (July 11, 2013). "Chicago's gay country 'All-American Boy' Steve Grand hits 1m views". Chicago Pride. Archived from the original on July 12, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  17. ^ Benjamin, Jeff (July 9, 2013). "Meet Gay Country Star Steve Grand". Fuse. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  18. ^ Connelly, Chris (July 9, 2013). "Gay Country Singer Adjusts to Newfound Web Fame". ABC News Good Morning America. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  19. ^ Shamberger, Ebony (July 8, 2013). "Steve Grand called first openly gay country singer after video release". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  20. ^ Inawat, Matt. "Jason Knade Interview". Archived from the original on September 17, 2016. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  21. ^ Perpetua, Matthew (December 11, 2013). "Buzzfeed: 24 Of The Most Brilliant Music Videos From 2013". BuzzFeed. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  22. ^ "Out100: Steve Grand". Out Magazine. November 5, 2013.
  23. ^ Geoffroy, Kyler (July 18, 2013). "Steve Grand's Slow Rendition of "All-American Boy" Will Melt Your Heart". Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  24. ^ Schonfeld, Zach (July 10, 2013). "We Should Stop Calling Steve Grand the First Openly Gay Male Country Star". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  25. ^ Dickinson, Chris (2000). "Country Undetectable: Gay Artists in Country Music". Journal of Country Music. XXI (1): 28–39. Retrieved August 4, 2009.
  26. ^ "Out and Riding High in Nashville". The New York Times, May 24, 2013.
  27. ^ "Brian Glenn steps out on his own with 'Original Intent' | Out & About Nashville". Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  28. ^ Halterman, Jim (November 18, 2011). "Shane Stevens on 'Girls Who Like Boys'... Who Like Jesus". Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  29. ^ a b Musto, Michael (October 28, 2013). "Musto! The Musical! Country Singer Steve Grand: On Gayness, the Church, and Lusting For Straights".
  30. ^ Ethan LaCroix (February 11, 2015). "Steve Grand gets set to launch his debut album, All-American Boy - The singer arrives in New York for a Valentine's Day show, and he's ready to leave the whole "gay country artist" thing behind". Time Out New York. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  31. ^ "All-American Boy singer Steve Grand has new song and video with far happier ending" September 6, 2013
  32. ^ Curtis M. Wong (November 4, 2014). "Steve Grand Releases New Single, 'Time,' and Cover of Elton John's 'Bennie and the Jets'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
  33. ^ Kickstarter: "All-American Boy" - The Album by Steve Grand
  34. ^ Steve Grand's Debut Album All-American Boy Out March 24th
  35. ^ eswirdbesserAT (June 10, 2015), IT GETS BETTER with Steve Grand! | #eswirdbesser | #ProudToBe | #itgetsbetter, retrieved October 31, 2016
  36. ^ "Steve Grand | U.S. Embassy in Austria". U.S. Embassy in Austria. June 10, 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  37. ^ "Steve Grand and Stuart Milk attend EuroPride in Riga, Latvia – full report with pictures". Gay Star News. June 22, 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  38. ^ Steve Grand (December 21, 2015), Steve Grand - "All I Want For Christmas Is You" (Official Music Video), retrieved October 31, 2016
  39. ^ Eli Lieb (March 29, 2016), Eli Lieb, Steve Grand - Look Away, retrieved October 31, 2016
  40. ^ "Gay Times".
  41. ^ "".
  42. ^ "WEB Steve Grand makes acting debut in 'Falling for Angels' - Gay Lesbian Bi Trans News Archive - Windy City Times". Windy City Times. December 19, 2017. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
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  44. ^ Russell, John (July 4, 2018). "Steve Grand on getting sober, battling social anxiety and his new album 'Not the End of Me'". Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  45. ^ Currinn, Jonathan (July 13, 2018). "Track-By-Track Album Review: Steve Grand – Not The End Of Me". CelebMix. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
  46. ^ "Independent Albums". Billboard. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  47. ^ "All-American Boy' Becomes A Gay Themed Country Music Hit on YouTube". Roz and Mocha Show (Interview). Interviewed by Roz and Mocha. Kiss 92.5. July 11, 2013. Archived from the original on August 20, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  48. ^ Hey Qween! (June 8, 2015), Steve Grand on Hey Qween with Jonny McGovern, retrieved October 31, 2016
  49. ^ "Steve Grand: 'It's great not performing drunk all the time'". Gay Star News. March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 31, 2016.
  50. ^ "Rise Up" the theme as WorldPride 2014 arrives. Toronto Star, June 19, 2014.
  51. ^ "Steve Grand and Stuart Milk attend EuroPride in Riga, Latvia – full report with pictures".
  52. ^ "100 Most Eligible Bachelors 2016". Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  53. ^ "Out Magazine". Archived from the original on May 5, 2017.
  54. ^ "Attitude Magazine Names Top 20 Eligible Gay Bachelors Of 2017". Homorazzi Media. April 28, 2017. Retrieved July 18, 2018.

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