Christian rock singer Trey Pearson recently came out to the public on his website, where he chronicled his struggles to admit to himself and then to his family that he is gay.
Now more comfortable in his skin, Pearson talked with Windy City Times about his message of love, music as therapy and male attention.
Windy City Times: I read your coming-out letter on your website and I also watched your interview on The View. Which came first?
Trey Pearson: I put the letter out on May 31 [of last year] and it was the number-one trending topic in the world on Facebook. The next morning The View called me and asked me to come onto their show. I went on The View days after the story came out.
WCT: Did writing the letter feel like a weight was lifted off your shoulders?
TP: Yeah. Being able to not feel like there's a part of me that I can't face anymorewhen you don't feel like you have thatyou feel like you can face the world and there's nothing to be scared of anymore.
WCT: The first video for your debut solo single, [away from your band, Everyday Sunday], is "Silver Horizon." The video shows you watching from the back of a church while a college-bound young man shares his message of hope, only to be embraced by a churchgoer from the pewwho may or may not be his partnerat the end of the video. A lot of the parishioners appear to be accepting of the couple.
TP: The first time you watch the video you ask, "What's going on here? Is it just me or are these guys eying each other?" When he runs up on stage and kisses him, you want to know how the people that are there will react. I wanted to portray the video in a way that's hopeful and [show] that there are more and more places that are amazing. I also wanted to show what the dream is, that a kid can grow upno matter who they areand feel loved by the people around them.
WCT: The video was filmed in Chicago at Ebenezer Lutheran Church. Why did you choose to film it there?
TP: That church is an open and affirming church, and one of the pastors there is a good friend of mine and the director [of the video, Stephen Cone] is based out of Chicago. It just all fell together perfectly.
WCT: The YouTube comments for the video have been both positive and negative. Does that surprise you at all?
TP: Not surprised at all. [Laughs] Really excited that there were people that were exceedingly moved by the video and express that to me on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Obviously, there are homophobic people out there that live in a world of fear. One of the most important things is just that I wanted this video to evoke an emotional response. I think art is so powerfulthat it should. Even when it's anger, sadness or excitement, I just wanted it to do something to cause an emotional reaction.
WCT: You were married to a woman [Laura] before you came out and you have two kids with her. You have talked about how amazing she has been throughout this process.
TP: I am not married anymore, and my ex-wife and I co-parent our kids. She was really there for me when I needed her, when I came out. Even when it's the best thing for you, we're both going through different stages of grief. I wouldn't want to speak too much on her behalf, but we're doing the best we can to get through this and be the best we actually can be for our kids and get to the healthiest place we can in our lives. That's the most important thing.
WCT: Have you gotten support from other bands or artists since you came out or are they afraid about how it might affect their careers?
TP: A lot of them have supported me through text messages and phone calls, maybe not on a public level where their scared it might affect their careers. That's kind of a shame but it also gives me a little bit of hope that the world is changing.
WCT: Since coming out, have guys been pursuing you?
TP: A lot of guys do reach out to me. That's okayI'm not complaining. I decided when I was going through counseling and I was able to admit to myself that I was gay, a year and a half ago, the counselor encouraged me to take that first year and not get into a relationship and really get to know myself as a gay man without having somebody else involved. So I definitely have gone on a lot of dates, but I haven't gotten to the point where I've fallen head over heels and gotten into a relationship. Just because I'm gay now doesn't mean that I need a man in my life to make me complete.
WCT: Your debut solo record is coming out later this year. With your lyrics, is it important for you to change the minds of those people who are homophobic, or just speak your truth?
TP: I definitely just really want to speak my truth. You definitely hope that your art moves peoples hearts, but writing music has always been therapeutic in my life. Part of my life has been so suppressed and [writing] has burst it open and made me overflow with creativity and things to write aboutand I've certainly had a lot to write about over the last year. I think I'm making the best music I've ever made and I'm really excited to share that with people.
For more about Trey Pearson, visit TreyPearson.com .