Gay-themed music video a YouTube hit
This undated image provided by Digital Skylight shows musician Steve Grand, right, and actor Nicholas Alan appearing in this production still from the music video “All-American Boy.” Grand's self-financed, gay-themed video has been viewed more than a quarter-million times since it was posted on YouTube July 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Digital Skylight, Brendan Leahy)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — He's a musician without a record label, a card holder without any remaining credit. And the gig that supplies what he calls "food money" may now be in jeopardy.
But after events of the last week, Steve Grand said "I would die a happy man today," and not for the reasons he's suddenly getting attention.
Grand's first music video, for his country-tinged rock ballad "All-American Boy," was posted on YouTube last Tuesday. By last night, it had exploded, attracting more than 400,000 total views __ nothing for top-charting videos from big-name recording artists, but an impressive figure for one from a complete unknown whose only promotion has been internet buzz.
The video cost just $7,000, a fraction of the major-names' going rate, but it was a fortune to Grand, who came up with the entire budget himself by maxing out his only plastic to tell the video's story.
"All-American Boy" portrays a young gay man who misreads signals from an apparently straight "all-American" male friend. On a day hanging out with the gang, the two guys and a girl take off in a car. She drives, as the guys sit together in the back, with the straight man, at one point, falling asleep on the gay man's shoulder. Feeling like a third wheel, the girl eventually, angrily drives off, leaving the two men to pal around in the woods, where they end up stripping down and going skinny-dipping -- even sharing a quick kiss. Ultimately for the straight guy, it was just all in good fun. But for the gay man, it was something much more significant, and he is left dazed, confused and longing.
This June 29, 2013 photo provided by Grand Nation LLC, shows musician Steve Grand posing in Chicago, Ill. Grand's self-financed, gay-themed music video, “All-American Boy,” has been viewed more than a quarter-million times since it was posted on YouTube July 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Grand Nation LLC, Joem C. Bayawa)
The story was inspired by one of Grand's own.
"I was a 13-year-old boy (at camp)," noted the 23-year-old singer-songwriter, speaking by phone from his hometown Chicago. "One of my counselors was warm and strong and he took an interest in me __ not sexually, but as a friend, and it really moved me. I remember leaving with a horrible ache in my heart."
While "All-American Boy" is told from the gay man's perspective, Grand said he knew its tale of unrequited love would resonate across lines of sexuality. He's received hundreds of postings on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook from viewers, both straight and gay, saying they understand such rejection and heartache.