Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-03-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

MUSIC Branden James talks new EP, coming out on TV
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Terri-Lynne Waldron
2015-09-15

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Californian Branden James was a contestant on season eight of America's Got Talent and impressed the judges with his operatic voice. But James also walked in his truth that day and came out to the TV audience. James is gearing up for his upcoming Chicago concert and talked to Windy City Times about his HIV status, his EP and his new foundation.

Windy City Times: When you were in high school, a friend heard you singing in the car and suggested that you join the school choir. What song were you singing?

Branden James: I think it was Amy Grant's Christmas music. I grew up in a Christian family and that was what was playing on the CD.

WCT: You have admitted to being shy, so was the idea of singing in the choir daunting?

Branden James: I guess it was. But it's something that came so naturally and immediately became my identity that I wasn't scared of it. It was really what brought me out of my shell.

WCT: Do you still consider yourself to be a shy person, in any way?

Branden James: I consider myself reserved and not as shy as I used to be by any means. But I am someone who is a little more reserved than most people.

WCT: How do you go from singing in the high school choir to auditioning for season eight of America's Got Talent in 2013?

Branden James: I've always supported myself as a singer [since I left college] with the Metropolitan Opera in New York and Los Angeles Opera as well. I've been on world tours with The Twelve Tenors and have done things with the pope and the Mandela family.

Having worked mostly in a classical music environment, I felt that it didn't suit my personality. It can be very rigid and classical music is about your perfection and I think that there is a lot of beauty and expression in things that are flawed. And I really wanted to explore that by being an artist.

WCT: You came out on TV during the behind-the-scenes portion of the show. Did you hesitate at all about letting people into your personal life?

Branden James: I wasn't trepidatious about my sexuality coming out. I felt like 2013 was a time [when] I did not have to worry about safety or backlash from the public. I was more concerned about putting my mother in a position where she had to speak about her values in a defensive way. My mom has been open and honest about her views and our struggles in our relationship and I applaud her for doing that because it took a lot of courage.

WCT: Earlier this year, you revealed to Attitude magazine that you have been HIV-positive since 2005. What made you want to share that story?

Branden James: To be completely honest, I intended on sharing that story in 2013 on America's Got Talent. For so many years, because of the struggles in my family, I carried guilt and shame with me just for being gay. And it's almost going back in the closet when I found out I was HIV-positive. I can't tell you the weight on my shoulders that was there.

All the producers at NBC knew about this and we were going to go with that as a life storyline. But at the last minute I decided that I wasn't quite ready for that, so I ended up not telling anyone. But I really felt powerful being on the show and just telling a little facet of my struggle with my family and how powerful it was for people to see that. And I realized how important it was to be transparent and authentic and to share our own stories because there's so much in them that can inspire and help other people.

WCT: Your latest EP, Crossover, was released this past August. Do you worry about fan and critical reaction, or do you put it out without any fear?

Branden James: I think that both of those are true. When I decided to work on Crossover for release, it was the first time I decided to record original music. I have always written original songs along the way, but I decided that regardless of whether or not I'm a classical singer or a pop/folk singer—I wanted to create something that was my own for me and release it. I suppose in the end that means that I didn't really mind either way what the fans thought because it was just a form of self-expression.

WCT: Are there others goals that you want to conquer?

Branden James: I'm really focused on wanting to help people and start a foundation. I have an organization I'm starting called You Belong that is about the common principle that we're all the same. We all have a place in this world because we're all human and one day we'll find that place through love and acceptance.

Branden James will perform at Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy., on Thursday, Sept. 24, at 7:30 p.m. For ticket information, visit www.auditoriumtheatre.org . For more on James, go to www.brandenjames.com .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Ariana, Gambino, Monae part of Lollapalooza 2019-03-20 - Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, Twenty One Pilots and The Strokes are among the headliners for Lollapalooza, which will take place Aug. 1-4 in ...


Gay News

Chicago Sinfonietta's "In Darkness We Rise" highlights Jewish experience March 23 2019-03-19 - CHICAGO ( February 2019 ) — For the world's most vulnerable, persecuted and troubled, even in the most sorrowful times of darkness, moments ...


Gay News

'Night of Noise' variety show April 14 2019-03-15 - The Illinois Safe Schools Alliance will be "breaking" the Day of Silence with its third annual variety show, "Night of Noise: Onward and ...


Gay News

"Trans Art Is" Trans Day Of Visibility 2019 Launch Celebration March 31 2019-03-15 - The Chicago Therapy Collective is at is again, building platforms for Trans and QTPOC* artists to share their voices, sounds, movements, and truths ...


Gay News

'Lights, Camera, Sing!' Windy City Performing Arts to perform cinematic scores March 30 2019-03-14 - Windy City Performing Arts ( WCPA ) will hold "Lights, Camera, Sing!" on Saturday, March 30, at 7 p.m. at Gannon Concert Hall ...


Gay News

Ravinia announces 2019 summer lineup 2019-03-14 - HIGHLAND PARK, IL — Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman today announced the not-forprofit festival's complete 2019 summer lineup—more than 140 events from ...


Gay News

Ravinia Festival Experience Center, immersive-experience theater, to open 2019-03-14 - HIGHLAND PARK, IL — Ravinia Festival will open a major addition to the park, the RaviniaMusicBox Experience Center, later this summer. The new ...


Gay News

SPRING MUSICAL REVIEW Singing and swinging through spring 2019-03-13 - Chicago will see and hear 20 musicals between now and late May. Some are touring hits calling again, such as Jersey Boys ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ: Aguilera, Beyonce, Tribeca Film Festival, Marc Jacobs 2019-03-12 - The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) announced the organization will honor six-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Christina Aguilera with the HRC Ally for ...


Gay News

New musical comedy "Once Upon A One More Time" set to Britney Spears music 2019-03-12 - A musical comedy featuring the songs of Britney Spears will fill the slot at the Chicago theater left vacant when producers of the ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.