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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 17, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 46
THE MUSIC LOUNGE
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Once a Christian music star, Trey Pearson now sings a different kind of heavenly tune

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Hallelujah, it's a new day!

That's what Trey Pearson can say now that the past is behind him and the future looks brighter than ever. The 34 year-old singer-songwriter is a former Christian music star, the celebrated ex-frontman of worship rock band Everyday Sunday, which scored five #1 singles and twenty Top 10 hits on the Christian charts domestically, in addition to selling millions of albums in a seven-year span. But when Pearson publicly came out as a gay man to the group's fans last year, creating a national media storm, he faced an unfortunate end to his whole career. Thankfully, the closing of that door led to the opening of another, as the Ohio native retreated to what he does best, writing songs, and thus producing a set of pop tracks for his debut solo EP titled Love is Love.

Reached by telephone this week, I had a few minutes to chat with Pearson about this new chapter in his life and career. Here's what he had to say.

Albert Rodriguez: How do you describe your music? Is it Christian pop, or is there another genre you place it into?

Trey Pearson: No, I don't describe it as Christian. I guess it's pop music.

Rodriguez: Your career started in Christian music. Do you still perform any songs from those albums?

Pearson: Sometimes, yeah. I used to be on a Christian label and in a band called Everyday Sunday; then I left my label after my contract was up, after four albums. Last summer I came out publicly to my fans and this EP (Love is Love) is my debut. It's been a crazy transition in my life. I think the idea of calling music Christian became somewhat of a turnoff early in my career, just being a part of that industry. I think calling something Christian, besides the church, is a little weird, like calling Chick-fil-A a Christian restaurant, or a piece of music a Christian album. I think the word Christian is a much better adjective to describe a human being than a genre of music. As far as performing songs that I used to do, some of those songs are about my faith, but a lot of them aren't necessarily about my faith. There's a lot of stuff I've written before that I'm very proud of.

Rodriguez: What was your coming out experience like? Did you post something on social media, or were you outed?

Pearson: I came out publicly on the cover of a local magazine in Columbus called 614 and I guess it went pretty viral; it got picked up by the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC and ABC, and I wasn't sure what to expect. I think I was lucky. It was exciting to see that the world is changing because I did have a lot of support. Being on 'The View' and CNN; I think there was an overwhelming amount of love that was given out to me. I knew it would be talked about, but I had no idea how much it would be talked about and by the night my story had come out it was the #1 trending topic on Facebook, and that was a little surreal. And then to get a call the next day from 'The View,' it was crazy. But I'm very grateful to have shared my story and to see the impact it's been able to have on other people; it's been really encouraging.

Rodriguez: Did you grow up going to church, or going to youth group?

Pearson: Yeah, I grew up very much entranced in evangelical Christian culture. I started a band in my youth group, when I was in high school and I got a record deal with that band after my first year of college. So I was really consumed by that Christian sub-culture and that had such an impact on me, trying not to be who I really am. I was very much scared growing up that God would hate me if I was gay and I was scared that my family would not be proud of me, that they'd think something was wrong with me. I also thought there was something wrong with me because I was so brainwashed. So it took a really long time to accept myself.

Rodriguez: Has the fan base from Everyday Sunday migrated to your solo work, or have those fans abandoned you?

Pearson: Definitely some of them have abandoned me and definitely some of them have stayed. I just put out my second single, the title track to my new EP, 'Love is Love,' my first solo project that I've ever put out, so I have no idea what to expect. I feel like this is the best, most intimate thing I've ever shared before and I'm really excited to share it; and as far as older fans, I have no idea how many of them, what percentage of them are left listening. But I also think I've gained a lot of new fans, or people that were interested and excited to hear what I'm doing.

Rodriguez: Did you write all the songs on your EP?

Pearson: I wrote some of them by myself, and some of them, I co-wrote with my producer and another guy.

Rodriguez: What's the background of the song 'Hey Jesus,' which seems to question whether being gay is acceptable in the eyes of God?

Pearson: It's just one of those things that I was thinking about, everything I'd been going through. I was sitting in my living room with my guitar - and some of these songs take longer to write than others - but honestly, I wrote this song in about a half hour or less and I probably spent about another hour or two on the floor bawling my eyes out when I wrote it. It really encapsulates all the emotions I felt my entire life growing up that I think so many people from the LGBT community feel. So many of us have grown up in very fundamentalist Christian, or religious, backgrounds just wanting to know that you're loved and wanting to know you're accepted and to be loved just as I am. I was trying to not necessarily be theologically correct, or anything like that, but it's more trying to describe some emotions and issues that I've always felt. It was just a real emotional time, to finally open up and release that valve of emotions that I felt most of my entire life, it was such a beautiful and overwhelmingly emotional moment that led to my songwriting.

Rodriguez: Is Everyday Sunday done completely, or is there room for a reunion?

Pearson: No, it's done. It was a great chapter of my life and there are things about it that I'm very proud of, something I'd been doing since I was 16, but I'm very excited to have a fresh start to my life and to put out my debut solo work.

Rodriguez: Are you planning to go on tour with this new music any time soon?

Pearson: Yeah, I'm actually on my way to Chicago for a show right now, but I'm doing an EP release day concert in Columbus next Thursday night, which will launch the beginning of a 30-city club tour that I'll be doing. I'll hopefully be touring all over the world this next year or two.

Rodriguez: What are your holiday plans this year? Will you be on the road for Thanksgiving and Christmas, or at home?

Pearson: I'll definitely be home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'm very happy about that.

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