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Nash New Artist Interview: Curtis Braly

Humble, Texas native Curtis Braly knew he wanted to pursue music after performing at an eighth-grade talent show. Growing up, Braly was relentlessly bullied and found it hard to find connections with other people. His theatre teacher convinced him to sign up for the talent show and after his performance, he noticed how the crowd reacted and knew being on stage was his calling. “All of these kids who made my life miserable on a daily basis were in the audience. They stood to their feet and they were clapping and chanting my name,” he tells us. “It was this overwhelming feeling of love and acceptance that I had just never experienced from my peers before.” He found that the best way to connect to others was through performing and entertaining. He’s been chasing his country music dreams ever since. 

He was highly influenced by artists like Reba, Garth Brooks, Clay Walker, and Dolly Parton. He would buy their concerts on DVD and watch them in his bedroom over and over again. He mentions that he would watch them closely to see how they performed and interacted with the crowd. In a way, he was studying their performances. “They were mentors of mine and they didn’t know it,” he says through a laugh.

Braly made the move to Nashville around six years ago and as a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, he was nervous. He had heard people in the industry talk negatively about gay people, say there wasn’t room for gay acts, and speak about how they’d never pay money to promote a gay artist. “I thought ‘I have a choice to make here: I can either be in country music, which has been the dream my entire life, or I can be gay.” He never said anything about his sexuality or made it public knowledge because he was rightfully scared.

Things changed for him in 2016 when he toured with legendary country singer Tanya Tucker. At the time, he was revealing bits and pieces about his personal life and his team had told him that her fans were conservative so he might get beat up after walking off the tour bus. They scared him so much he thought he might even die. He ended up touring with her on and off for about two years and found that his experience was completely different then what he told it would be. “Not one time did we ever have a problem with the fact that I was gay, out, and talking about it,” he says with conviction in his voice. “I would do meet and greets with Tanya after her shows and her fans who had no idea who I was before that night, would come through and they would shake my hand. They would tell me what a great time they had, and a lot of them would say, ‘We’re super proud of you for standing up for who you are and showing that you can do this in country music.’” He also mentions how Tucker would have gay fans who would also come through the line and give him big hugs and thank him for what he’s doing and proving to the world.