Rising country singer Brandon Stansell opens up about coming out as gay to his parents in new single "Hurt People"

By Ally Mauch
May 28, 2020 10:00 AM
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Brandon Stansell; Cam
The Riker Brothers;

Brandon Stansell is sharing his coming out story in his new single "Hurt People," featuring country star Cam.

The emotional lyrics in Stansell’s song depict a narrative not often shared in the country music world.

"I've always connected with country music for its storytelling, but for the LGBTQI+ community — we are often told not to tell our story,” Stansell, 31, says of the single. “Though I don't believe a person has to be queer to find themselves in the lyrics of this song, 'Hurt People' is one of those untold stories.”

“I hope this song provides listeners of the genre a sense of representation that they may not often experience," he adds.

The next verse tells the heartbreaking story of when Stansell came out as gay to his parents a decade ago.

“Hurt People” begins with details about Stansell’s mother: “Mama was raised in a little house right on the Georgia line / Middle of three to a mother who drank way too much sometimes / She left home when she turned 18 for a different kind of life / She fell for somebody with some Southern charm she thought just might treat her right.”

“I knew they wouldn’t understand but I told them anyway / And 10 years later I’m still waiting for time to heal this pain / My daddy said I want you to know that we’re not proud of you / So I left home on my own just like hurt people do,” the lyrics read.

Stansell continues in the chorus: “You can hide your scars, ignore your pain but it all comes out in other ways / And you don’t know when so you’re living on pins and needles / So we do our best getting through our days but deep down it feels like we’re all the same / Nobody is good, nobody is evil but hurt people hurt people.”

Brandon Stansell
Spencer and Lloyd Harvey

“Hurt People” is not the first time Stansell has been open about his sexuality in his music. In 2018, the music video for his single "Hometown" became the first LGBTQ video to ever air on the country music network CMT.

"I think that visibility is important, especially in country music. I think that everyone wants to hear their story told," the Nashville native told Billboard at the time. "I think that's a commonality we share. For the longest time, people who are LGBTQ and lovers of country music, we didn't really hear our stories on country radio or played on CMT. It was really important for me to share my story in the most authentic, real way I possibly could."

As for his duet partner, "Burning House" singer Cam is a longtime LGBTQ ally. In addition to performing in GLAAD's Concert for Love and Acceptance at the CMA Music Festival, she once made a pop-up appearance at N.Y.C. gay cowboy bar Flaming Saddles — and invited the dive's bartenders to dance with her onstage at Madison Square Garden in 2018.