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