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With singer/songwriter Steve Grand, an interviewer can lead the conversation in any number of directions. And I sensed he was bracing for the worst when we spoke on the phone in mid-April regarding his return appearance to Puerto Vallarta in less than six months.
His national career is just five years old, but Grand has achieved a degree of mass success (and community-wide notoriety) that lifelong careers are built upon.
He captured the pop culture zeitgeist in 2013 when the music video to his song, “All-American Boy,” became an overnight viral smash on YouTube. The song, about a gay kid falling for a straight friend, has a country tinge that led many to deem him the “first openly gay male country singer,” a label he spent years refuting. Then came the accusation of slut-shaming that Grand hurled toward the online blog Queerty for routinely posting photos of him in various degrees of undress, despite his claim that plenty more artists and creative people post far more racy material without so much as a blink from one of the biggest U.S. LGBT media companies.
“I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career already,” he said, “and sometimes you have to make mistakes to learn, and that’s been the case for me in a lot of instances, but one thing I’ve really tried to do is always really consistently make my fans know how much I appreciate them for their support.”
This will mark his second full summer and third consecutive year playing the popular resort destination of Provincetown. He’s putting the final touches on a new album that he promises will be released in early summer.
“It is going to be a full album,” he said. “I’m really just finishing up, putting the final touches on the last two songs. All of the songs have been written and we’re pretty much done recording. Now it’s mostly moving into the final editing stage for those last two and then some still need to be mixed.”
Then there’s his return this month to performances in Puerto Vallarta and Act II since the six sold out performances back in December and January.
“I really loved Puerto Vallarta,” he said. “It was a wonderful experience. Playing at Act II was really great, too. Sutton Lee Seymore was performing there at the time and she’s really awesome. We got to hang out in the dressing room and just laugh and have fun. “
“I do love coming to Puerto Vallarta even after just one time of being there.”
In fact, it is the intimacy of the Act II performance space that Steve Grand prefers. “I feel like I can make it more personal for the fans and I really actually make a point to make eye contact with everyone I can see,” he said. “Of course, with the lights that’s not really everyone but it’s easier to kind of read and control and to play to a smaller room just for me personally. I feel like my music comes across better that way and it comes across better also from what audience members have said in the past, like they prefer seeing me live, that I really am able to do justice to the songs in a different way, in a way that may be a little more delicate and raw.”
It’s here where it all comes back to the fans again.
“I really like to give a lot of myself to my fans,” he said, “and they have really blessed me with support by showing up for shows and buying the music, playing the music and buying the merchandise so it’s allowed me to do what I do and I really feel lucky.”
Steve Grand performs at Act II May 21 and 23 at 7:30pm and on May 26 at 9:30pm. In addition, he will appear in the parade on May 24.