"I'd say it's definitely my most vulnerable song," Lil Nas X tells PEOPLE of his upcoming single "Sun Goes Down," which drops Friday

By Glenn Garner
May 20, 2021 12:45 PM
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Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X
| Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Lil Nas X is preparing for his first Pride Month since coming out almost two years ago.

The two-time Grammy Award winner, 22, has since been embraced by the LGBTQ community for living out loud and taking the subsequent backlash in stride.

"The love outweighs the hate by like a hundred," he tells PEOPLE after receiving mixed reactions to the biblically-inspired video for his single "Montero (Call Me by Your Name)," which recently spent a fifth week at the top of the Billboard Global 200 singles chart. It makes it the longest-running No. 1 by a male soloist, just the latest record he's broken.

"I guess it's because I kind of grew up on the internet and I've been through this before, and I know to take everything with a grain of salt," Lil Nas X (born Montero Hill) says of the online hate that followed the video's release. "So it's rare that it'll actually get to me, where I'm like, 'Oh, that hurts.'"

Fans have praised the video for offering a spot-on visual metaphor for the coming out experience. "I was happy that a lot of people seeing this growing up are going to remember it for the rest of their lives and they're going to feel more confident in themselves," he says.

But the artist isn't done peeling back the layers of his identity, as he prepares to drop his latest single "Sun Goes Down" on Friday. "I'd say it's definitely my most vulnerable song," Lil Nas X notes.

"I definitely tell about some of my upbringing and it's also just a really great song," he explains. "And the video goes back to my past, to 2017 Lil Nas X in his prime. Like he was at prom, working at Taco Bell, and what he did in his room, praying his sexuality away. Like all these things that I experienced that I wanted to share with my fans."

He's come a long way since the all-too-relatable woes of coming to terms with his sexuality. "It's been such a huge shift, a huge change," the Montero artist says of his journey since coming out publicly on June 30, 2019, the last day of Pride Month. "It's been a transformation throughout the small three years of my career so far. It's been fun, it's been sad, it's been a lot of things. But that's life."

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Lil Nas X is teaming up with Ugg for their Pride campaign. In addition to donating $25 to GLAAD for every pair sold of their Disco Stripe slides, up to a guaranteed maximum donation of $125,000, the brand is hosting their fifth annual "Proud Prom" with the Pacific Pride Foundation, open to LGBTQ and allied youth of Santa Barbara and the coastal communities of California.

"It's great for people in the community to have a safe space for their prom," he says. "I feel like especially growing up, like when you're at prom, if you want to be with that other person ... you're catching a lot of eyes. It's great that they're doing that. They're making that space for people in our community growing up to have that."

Lil Nas X campaign imagery for #UGGPRIDE
Credit: Courtesy of UGG

The "Old Town Road" artist can next be seen making his Saturday Night Live debut, performing this weekend as the musical guest, alongside host Anya Taylor-Joy.

"I feel amazing," Lil Nas X admits, before going on vocal rest ahead of the gig. "I'm going to go out there and just murder it."