Country singer Brandon Stansell joins Paul Cardall’s “All Heart” podcast to discuss his new documentary “Three Chords and a Lie” about his experience coming out as queer. The two also dig into his background growing up in the small town of Cleveland, TN, his advocacy work, his music and the mantra he wants others to remember him by.
Growing up playing shows as a kid at the Opryland theme park in the ’90s to having his parents drive him to shows in Nashville multiple times a week as Stansell explains on the podcast, it’s obvious that performing has always been in his veins. Nevertheless, he admits that it wasn’t until recently that he felt comfortable paving his own way in the industry.
“I grew up kind of feeling like you know your lane and then you become an adult, and you’re like, ‘Wait a second, am I supposed to be in that world?’ Because there are just so many hurdles to jump over…The past four or five years, I’ve just been kind of jumping over things, but I really feel like I’m starting to find my lane a lot more.”
Of course, his lane has already been well-paved considering his debut in 2018 with his music video “Hometown” which was aired on CMT and put down in history as the first music video on CMT to display a homosexual relationship.
Even so, his path to releasing “Hometown” hasn’t been without struggle. In his documentary “Three Chords and a Lie” Stansell shares his experience coming out to his Southern Baptist family and where he is now.
Aside from the documentary and most important to him is working through his tumultuous experience through the power of music. In his most recent work, an album titled Hurt People, Stansell explores further the struggles he’s continued to have and the generational differences when it comes to perspectives on mental health. He explains to Cardall what the title track means to him.
“If I’m honest, I still struggle with family relationships, with fallouts and with just my day-to-day life, trying to push forward. But one of the things that has really helped me is just recognizing the humanity and people. Hurt people hurt people. I think it’s just a very human feeling that we are all fallible people trying to do our best, but we inevitably fail and we hurt people around us. That’s just an inevitable thing. It doesn’t mean we’re bad people, it just means that we have to try to be better than we were the day before. So, that song has really helped me and I hope that it has found the ears of the people that needed to hear it.”
His music, in this way, is his most vulnerable and candid space in which he’s able to ponder and attempt to reconcile from the struggles of his past. And in his future, long after his time has passed, he hopes to be remembered for living by this mantra: “care enough about yourself to be yourself.”
For more on Stansell’s documentary, his advocacy work and his story, check out the rest of the conversation on “All Heart with Paul Cardall.”