By Will Groff, Contributing Writer
Texas-native Curtis Braly flips the script on the country party song with his new single, “That Should Be Me”. The song pairs stadium-sized production with lyrics that knowingly repurpose bro-country tropes.
“Blue jeans/Ooh/ Painted on your money maker!” Braly sings with a wink in the second verse. The video is equally playful, toying with audience expectations by setting up a familiar bar scene and then (spoiler alert) queering it.
We spoke to Braly about the inspiration behind the song and his experience navigating the country music world as a queer person.
The song has an interesting sound — it hits harder than a lot of the stuff currently coming out of Nashville. Who are your influences?
Growing up, my influences were predominantly Reba and Garth. They have an amazing ability to make lyrics come to life and a uniqueness in connecting with their audience. These days, I not only really enjoy the creative uniqueness of Kane Brown, but also how humble and kind he is.
You’ve spoken about encountering homophobia early in your country career. Can you speak to that experience?
I had many people in the industry that I looked up to and considered mentors tell me that if I ever wanted to sell out a stadium, then I needed to keep my mouth shut about being gay. Otherwise, I’d be putting a cap on my level of success and probably only play Pride festivals.
I’ve also had shows and interviews cancel on me last minute after the promoters or editors found out I was gay. It’s unfortunate but it’s just a lack of education, understanding, and compassion on their part.
Do you see things changing?
I do think we are seeing a big movement and change happening within the country genre. Other artists, both gay and straight, are rallying and becoming allies to show that our industry can be inclusive of everyone. I don’t think it will be long before we see a gay country artist take home an Entertainer of the Year award.
What message would you want to give your queer fans?
The main message would be just to support your community and show one another love. It starts with us! If we can’t love one another and show compassion within our own community, how can we ever expect those outside our community to do it?
Lastly, any plans for celebrating Pride?
Absolutely! I’m getting on a plane shortly after this interview and headed to visit family and friends in my hometown of Houston, TX, as well as attend the Pride festivities there this weekend. Then, I’m flying to Amsterdam in August to celebrate Pride across the pond. That will be my first visit to Amsterdam and I’m really excited about that!
This interview has been revised for length and clarity.