By Rachel Cholst, Contributing Writer
It’s a familiar narrative in Country Queer, but one that is all too rare in the country music world: a queer Southern musician comes to terms with those two identities, and returns to their roots in country music.
2021 is going to be Fancy Hagood’s turn to put his mark on country music. With a keen understanding of big pop sounds and warm, perceptive songwriting — plus a serious pair of pipes — Hagood is sure to storm Nashville when his debut album, Southern Curiosity, hits the shelves.
The Bentonville, Arkansas, native grew up singing in church, which you can hear distinctly in the album’s lead single, “Don’t Blink.” Struggling with social pressure as a teen, Fancy taught himself to play piano and began writing songs when he was 14 years old.
Fancy followed that path to college in Nashville, then to pursue a pop music career in LA, where he had a hit called “Goodbye” under the name “Who is Fancy.” When he failed to follow up on that success, he was ready to hang it all up and head back home to Nashville. Fortunately for us, Music City rekindled Fancy’s creative spark.
“Don’t Blink” is a gorgeous country song, one that captures the awkwardness, passion, and special protectiveness found in queer relationships. With soaring vocals and an arrangement reminiscent of classic 70s countrypolitan tunes, Fancy has embraced Nashville’s past and inevitable future.
“Genre was always a challenging thing for me,” he says of the song. “In LA, I was always being told how Nashville I was, and in Nashville, it was ‘Oh, you’re a pop artist.’ But when I wrote ‘Don’t Blink’ there, that definitely snowballed into the freedom that I can be all these different things.”
Co-written with Shak, “Don’t Blink” also illustrates the record’s sweeping emotional range. “A lot of my songs are autobiographical, but this one not so much,” says Fancy. “It’s about the kind of love I’m longing for—a love where if we’re apart, I long to be with them. It’s thinking about what I want a relationship to look like, and how precious I want that moment to be.”