Grand Stands

Four years af­ter his me­te­oric rise to LGBT fame, singer Steve Grand is still here and has more to give

Where Chicago - - WHERE NOW -

STEVE GRAND, THE CHICAGO-BRED SINGER AND OPENLY GAY CELEB, HAS SOME AD­VICE FOR HIS FANS: “GO OUT AND GET TOUCHED,” HE LAUGHS.

The hunky crooner, 27, is ref­er­enc­ing the par­tic­u­larly sexy song “Safe and Sound” from his up­com­ing sopho­more al­bum, which he ex­pects to re­lease later this year (though he teases that he may sud­denly drop a sin­gle this month). While Grand is stay­ing mum on the al­bum’s de­tails, he con­fides, “It’s about the re­la­tion­ships that I’ve been in, some of the things that I’ve strug­gled with. All the highs and lows. It’s go­ing to take peo­ple for a ride.”

If you’re un­fa­mil­iar with Grand, here’s his story in a nut­shell: In 2013, while work­ing as a bar­tender at pop­u­lar Chicago gay club Mini­bar, he achieved in­ter­net vi­ral­ity with his mu­sic video “All-Amer­i­can Boy.” The pop/coun­try tune racked up a mil­lion views in eight days (it’s got 6 mil­lion now). Shows like “Good Morn­ing Amer­ica” la­beled Grand the first openly gay coun­try singer—a moniker he feels doesn’t ac­cu­rately rep­re­sent his style as an artist. In 2014, he used the crowd-fund­ing site Kick­starter.com to raise more than $300,000 for his al­bum, “All-Amer­i­can Boy.” Since then, he’s been on a global tour of gay fes­ti­vals and events, post­ing his ad­ven­tures for his 213,000 In­sta­gram fol­low­ers. He’s got a pen­chant for wear­ing Speedos at the beach— and the in­ter­net loves it—and a check­ered track record of mis­s­peak­ing dur­ing in­ter­views (he ad­mits, “There’re many in­stances when I think, ‘Oh I could have done that dif­fer­ently,’ or ‘I should have said that [dif­fer­ently]’”).

But now it seems Grand may fi­nally have a han­dle on his fame. Un­like many overnight sen­sa­tions, he’s man­aged to keep his mo­men­tum up. “I feel like I’ve just been keep­ing my head above water. That’s kind of the game of it,” he says. “You feel like you’re con­stantly in this crazy storm at sea and maybe things will set­tle down, but they never re­ally do. I’ve just never let my­self sink.”

While his rapid as­cent to dream­boat celebrity sta­tus hasn’t left Grand much time at home, he’s thrilled that this year he’ll be back to en­joy Pride. “Chicago Pride is a spe­cial thing for me, I’ve been go­ing since I was 19,” he says. “I love the pa­rade be­cause its be­fore ev­ery­one gets too crazy. I like peo­ple let­ting their guard down, tak­ing off their clothes—I like tak­ing off my clothes. [Edi­tor’s note: We can tell, Steve.] It’s a fun, lib­er­at­ing thing. I’m just so proud to be from Chicago.”

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