Nashville native and Weho dweller Brandon Stansell is changing the face of country music. Since being named one of Rolling Stone’s “10 Country Artists You Need to Know,” Brandon is hitting the road to tour America with his first album, Slow Down.
Based on his Southern roots and Las Angeles life, he describes his singing style as “California Country,” and he doesn’t shy away from being the gay boy from the South. In May, he will travel to Palm Springs to headline the Hot Rodeo festival and this summer he will play the Kentuckiana Pride Festival in Louisville.
The coffee lover and CrossFit enthusiast slowed down enough from his hectic travel schedule long enough to tell GayCities about working with Taylor Swift in London, the chaos he experienced in New Delhi, and the best bar in WeHo for Moscow Mules.
Favorite travel destination so far?
I have been to every state in the U.S., but haven’t been abroad as much as I’d like. Last year, I spent my 30th birthday in Kauai and I would have trouble finding enough good words to say about this place. I will definitely be back.
Worst travel experience?
A couple of years ago, my two best gays and I spent a few weeks in India, the Maldives and Dubai. When we landed in New Delhi, there was a whole lot of chaos that I just wasn’t ready for. We were in a car accident in Agra. We were attacked by a bunch of bats on a riverboat in Kerala. And there was no alcohol, which, for me, is like the kiss of death. When we finally made it back home, I basically kissed the sidewalk at LAX.
Dream travel destination:
When I was a dancer for Taylor Swift, we had two shows in London, but we were only there for 48 hours, so I didn’t see anything but the inside of the venues she was playing. I would love to go back and spend some time in the city. For a southern boy, I feel oddly connected to that place.
Where are you traveling next?
I am headed to Palm Springs tomorrow for a promotional weekend where I’ll be doing a few local interviews promoting the Hot Rodeo I’m headlining May 11-13. If you’re in Palm Springs, come say hi.
Describe your music style, “California Country.”
I always tell people that my music is just as much a reflection of my living in LA as it is of my Tennessee roots. I grew up on country music and have loved it my entire life. But after living in LA for so long, I couldn’t help bringing a more laid back approach to the genre I have loved for so long.
What’s it like in the country music scene being openly gay?
I guess it’s like being in the country music scene being openly straight, except I date men.
What are your favorite gay hang outs in your hometown?
Well, I think you could count all the gay hangouts in Nashville on one hand, but I do love them. I always make sure to make the rounds when I am in town — Tribe, Play, and karaoke at the Lipstick Lounge.
What are your favorite gay hangouts in LA?
This is going to sound like I need a better hobby, but I love sitting at the high top tables outside of Saint Felix in WeHo, sipping on Moscow Mules and people watching. If it’s happy hour, there is a good chance you’ll find me there. I am also a big fan of Flaming Saddles — it’s basically my mothership.
How do you relax while on vacation?
I sleep. When my body knows it’s vacation time, it basically shuts down. You might be able to coax me out of bed with a bottle of bourbon or a glass of wine, but that’s about it.
Are you singled, married, dating?
Dating. I always tell people that if I hadn’t gotten dumped so many times I would have nothing to write about. But after many failed relationships, I finally conned one into sticking around. We’ve been together a little over a year and I haven’t messed it up yet, so, for me, it’s going well.
What’s your favorite Pride town?
I have only been to Pride in LA, San Francisco, New York, and Nashville. I feel like I might need to grow this list before I pick a favorite.
Anything else we should know about you?
There is not a Golden Girls episode I can’t quote from start to finish. I’ve always considered this to be my true talent. I also apparently repeat punchlines to jokes three times … and laugh at them every time.
Check out Brandon’s video, “Slow Down,” and look for him at the Hot Rodeo in Palm Springs, May 11 – 13.