Fans might know 11-year-old Brian Falduto as “Billy”, the stylist from the 2003 cult classic film, School of Rock. Evermore, a breakthrough character for LGBTQ youth, his representation blares against gender binary stereotypes.
Ultimately, Falduto’s character is unforgettable. The actor went through a journey of overcoming after the role. The free, confident spirit that earned him the role in the first place was under attack. Brian struggled with daily, vacuous homophobia. The young star was bullied instead of being celebrated for their bold representation. Suddenly, Falduto was more aware of how he presented to the world than ever before, but Falduto kept pushing boundaries. He eventually found himself, and GLAAD too.
In 2020, Falduto partnered with Beloved Arise, an organization that fights for queer youth of faith, among other organizations, including GLAAD, to produce an anthem for LGBTQ Catholic youth. The partnership catapulted the release of Falduto’s single, “God Loves Me Too”.
Brian Falduto has partnered with @beloved_arise to create their official anthem. We are proud to join @glaad, @trevorproject, Mama Bears, @ourbibleapp, and even more LGBTQ+ organizations in supporting this message. https://t.co/AaqHZcuPX4
— The OUT Foundation (@OUT_Foundation) June 16, 2020
The GLAAD Media Institute alum said the GLAAD Media Institute’s training helped prepare his voice to advance topics and priorities that he’s passionate about. The singer, songwriter is now an LGBTQ life coach, and he’s about to present a new side of himself for the world to embrace.
On March 10, Falduto’s EP, Gay Country, will debut to the world. He tells GLAAD that he is excited to release these songs to fans new and old.
“This album is kind of just me finally having fun with the fact that I am gay and out,” shares Falduto. “I love country music and letting myself be really bold and brave with tying those two elements together.”
Fun is exactly what listeners will experience. The seven song release catapults the sounds of Y2K country. Inspired by the likes of Faith Hill, Zac Brown Band and Carrie Underwood, “Same Ol’ Country Love Song,” the album’s debut single, is jam-packed with LGBTQ joy. The single is a reminder of what it’s like to allow that joy to live like a blazing fire for the first of many times, while playing with traditional country-pop love songs in an LGBTQ inclusive fashion.
Pride magazine called the single a “toe-tapping” hit. Falduto’s magical baritone vocals fill the ears with a round depth and a feeling of freedom.
In late January, the song “Big Boy’s Club” was released. The track is about Falduto’s desire to have a long-term serious relationship. “I’m done with the games,” said the country singer, reiterating the lyrics. “If you are ready to be real, then baby let’s go.”
The third song on the EP, tackles the complex culture, and stereotypes, of dating within gay communities. The country star is letting the world know how he’s going to show up in the dating world. The upbeat energy prongs into the track’s vocals: “In the big boys club, it’s finally about real love.”
“I feel, so often, we have to act like we’re casual or cool about dating. What about those of us who are really serious about it, and understand that it’s vulnerable, and it’s risky, and it’s a lot of hard work. It’s not something that you just think about on a whim,” the singer said.
His proud anthology of love shines in each song. Songs, that Falduto says, seem far away from where he is heading in the music world. Falduto has already started writing new music as he promotes Gay Country’s release.
All in all, Falduto also wants to see wider representation in country music. They recall graduating college and working for a country music radio station. “I went to so many concerts and events because of my job, and I just, you know, would be the only one with short shorts on, or with a tight tank top,” Falduto recalled.
He was sure he wasn’t a part of the country music target demographic, so he made a place for himself, and his community, within the genre.
“I still love the music and I love the storytelling,” said Falduto.
To check out Falduto’s latest lyric videos go to his YouTube page.
Gay Country drops everywhere March 10.