Country singer-songwriter Brandon Stansell is telling stories that often go untold on country radio on his new EP Hurt People. There's no shortage of country songs about taking your significant other home and showing them around your hometown, but Stansell's heartwrenching "Like Us" is a reminder that those visits unfortunately aren't a reality for LGBTQ+ people.
"I bet my family would love you/ They take a little warming up to/ They'll press you on the details of the first night that we met," Stansell sings. "And my mom would bake you something sweet/ That good southern hospitality/ And you'd look around and wonder why I ever even left/ And wouldn't that be nice/ But we'd never get inside/ As if I had a choice to fall in love/ But home isn't home for people like us."
In a new video, which Wide Open Country is premiering today, Stansell explains that he was inspired to write the song after hearing Sam Hunt's "Kinfolks."
"I wrote it because, I think as queer people there are a lot of experiences that we have never had...I didn't date in high school. I was obviously closeted, so I missed out on kind of what that was like. One of those other things I think about is this excitement people feel about taking their person home. I've thought about that a lot over the years," Stansell says. "I was driving down Santa Monica Boulevard when I got back from Nashville and Sam Hunt's new song "Kinfolks" came on. I love that song, but it's all about that excitement of taking your person home to meet your parents and what that's like. I just don't relate to that. I know a lot of queer people who can't relate to a song like that. So I wanted to write one that we could [relate to]. It pulls at your heart a little bit because the build up is how great this experience would be, but how it's just not possible, because of the circumstances and how people have responded to my being queer and other people as well. I thought it was important because it's another one of those stories...It's a story that a lot of people can relate to, but it doesn't really get told a lot because it's hard to listen to and it's hard to tell, but I think it's important. I'm really proud of this song."
"I think people had kind of guessed that I was queer but then it was suddenly okay. Because it came from the boss lady: 'This is okay,'" Stansell told People.
Stansell told the magazine his coming out experience with his parents wasn't as positive. But the singer-songwriter is using his experience to bring new stories to country music, ensuring that LGBTQ folks see themselves represented in the genre.
"That's why I write the stuff that I do, that's why I sing and talk about this and other queer issues. That's why it's important for me to tell my story," Stansell told People. "Because it doesn't have to be replicated."
Listen to "Like Us" below.
Stansell's new EP features the title track "Hurt People," a duet with Cam.
For more information on Stansell, visit his official website.