Marriage Equality in Music
The artists on these pages have incorporated the issue of marriage equality into their work. Click on the title of the piece of music to hear it/see the video. These musicians are supporters of equality for all -- we hope you enjoy their work -- please encourage and support their art!
Singer/Songwriter and Musical Philanthropist
Sean is located in San Francisco CA, where he serves as a songwriter and videographer for the LGBTIQ civil rights movement.
Sean's newest piece of art is music video for an original song he wrote called Marry Them. It's a song/video about a straight husband who changes his mind toward voting for marriage equality. The purpose of this musical video is to help change the hearts and minds of those voting on marriage equality in Maine, Minnesota, Washington and Maryland on November 6, 2012.
Since Proposition 8 passed in California in November 2008, Sean has written and self-produced numerous songs for LGBTIQ civil rights. His work has been geared towards helping to change the hearts and educate the minds of those who don't fully understand LGBTIQ people and towards helping to galvanize the LGBTIQ community to further the movement toward freedom and equality. Sean is also a singing member of the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus. He wrote a song that the chorus performed on its historic 2010 California Freedom Tour, "We Are Coming Out", as the chorus traveled to areas of the state that voted in favor of Prop 8. Sean's eventual goal is to release a trilogy of music albums on iTunes called United We Love as a means to raise funds for, and further awareness of, the movement. He plans to fulfill this goal by the end of 2012, if not earlier. Sean has the album More Equal Union currently available for purchase. All proceeds raised from sales of his songs and albums on iTunes are being donated to LGBTIQ equality advocacy organizations.
Arro Verse is a multi-instrumentalist who has written songs in a variety of genres including country, rock, R&B and children’s music. In 2011, Arro Verse won the RightOut TV “Best Video” award for her hit single Don’t Be My Boo Boo. With such heartfelt and classic sensibilities, the now Los Angeles based Arro has created an ingratiatingly melodic and professional variation of pop and rock which appeals as much to the lovelorn teenager as it does to the working class 30-something. With the release of her 2012 hit Love Follows Me, Arro is skillfully employing her professional singing and songwriting ability, which is currently breathing life, variance and originality into the now commercially glossed over sound currently dominating the industry.
An out lesbian performer, Arro recently released Marry Me, a song inspired by our President Obama's public announcement in support of marriage equality. Marry Me inspired her latest project calling for social change, The Marry Me Movement. This movement is a cross country venture committed to supporting marriage equality through music and sports. Marry Me is an ally of Marriage Equality USA.
Singer/Songwriter & MEUSA Advisory Board Member
Tom Goss is a unique voice among gay singer-songwriters—a former Catholic seminarian turned guitar-toting troubadour whose heartfelt lyrics, hooky melodies and quirky charm have earned him a dedicated national following.
Watch Tom's track You Don’t Question Love and check out Tom's www.ThePoliticsofLove.com. Here you will find everything you need to lead your own workshop on marriage equality. This curriculum will help you facilitate an open and educated dialogue -- perfect for college groups, churches and even your own home. Tom offers up dynamic acoustic rock featuring muscular guitar, hooky melodies and a uniquely powerful voice. If Tom has any patron saints, they are Jack Johnson, Damien Rice, Ben Folds, and Joss Stone. Since April 2006, when he released his self-produced debut, Naked Without.
Tom has played scores of coffeehouses, bars, gay pride festivals, house concerts and other events - honing his skills along the way. With the January 2008 release of his second CD, Rise, Tom demonstrated just how far he’d come. The six songs showcase his stylistic flexibility, from the urgent growl of Morning Sun to the sweet and unadorned King of Something Right. The music video for Rise barreled its way to #2 on MTV’s LOGO and stuck around for 8 weeks. In April 2009 Tom released his latest album Back to Love. The album continued to build on themes of rebirth and renewal, of love and loss and what lies beyond. An unabashed romantic, known for his songs about love (many inspired by his husband Mike, whom he married in October 2010), in February 2012 Tom released You Know That I Love You. Tom's music provides a playlist for anyone on a journey from darkness to light. You can find Tom Goss on his website: www.TomGossMusic.net
New music video, for Brett Every's marriage-equality song What A Beautiful Day, with animation by Jo Knox. Brett is a Sydney-based singer/songsmith who has had the absolute pleasure of releasing 4 original albums and working with amazing musicians and guests along the way. Brett's website: http://www.brettevery.com/
MÉLANGE burst on the LGBT music scene in 2007 with her anthem/song GAY BASH which aired in various film festivals overseas including the London Gay and Lesbian Film Festival opening up for Queen Latifah's movie Life Support. Her videos have also been shown in Germany, Spain, and Australia, and she has released her full length CD titled The Movement 2008-2009.
A survivor of the cancer Hodgkins Disease, an outspoken, openly lesbian hip-hop artist who has been performing to audiences across the nation, she has taken music to new heights and her personal growth. Her passionate lyrics and intense performances have stirred many across the world. Her song, Gay Bash, delved into the death of her fictional best friend Kevin at the hands of gay bashers. A compelling music video (directed by Camrin Pitts) of the song was made which made it onto MTV LOGO, where it received frequent rotation, making it a staple on their Top Ten list, The Click List, throughout the summer of 2007-08 and the year end Top Ten for their New Now Next music show.
Her video Gay Parenting also known as I've Got You was in heavy rotation on MTV LOGO climbing the charts from 2008 into 2009 currently on their Top Ten Click List. Ms. Lavonne released her 3rd video in 2011 on MTV titled Domestic Violence (directed by Hilary Goldberg and produced by Jennifer Wright) addressing same-sex domestic abuse sponsored by Power Up and the film crew from Without A Trace. Her album The Movement established Lavonne's blend of conscious and intelligent hip hop rap, taking on the foes of equality and justice. Her songs tackle issues such as gay parenting, domestic abuse, AIDS, the presidential campaigns, discrimination, global warming, shallowness, and hip hop hypocrisy. In a move that is sure to generate controversy, she states in her song Future President, that "gays are the new blacks".
She has recently finished up filming for UCLA Research Center in Partnership with Nokia for an interactive music video and short film application for their new phone app. Rachel Powell, a well known writer in the entertainment industry brought her friend Ms. Lavonne in on the project and Nokia fell in love with Ms. Lavonne’s song, Haterz. They centered the music video and the film around Ms. Lavonne’s on stage persona.
By Town & Country
The blue state country band Town & Country is the brainchild of frontman Rob Shapiro and producer Brian Woodbury. Shapiro and Woodbury first met in the New York music scene in the ’90s when they were both fathers of young daughters. Years later, after relocating to L.A., they formed Town & Country, based on their shared love of country, in both senses. Theirs is an expansive approach to Americana. Says Shapiro, “We think country music belongs to the whole of the country, not just one region or one politics.”
The first single from their new CD Town and Country takes on the topic of marriage equality. Everybody Wants to Say I Do, which Shapiro and Woodbury wrote together, addresses marriage –- gay or straight –- from a universal point of view, as in, “I will love you for the rest of my life.” Says Woodbury, “We’re inspired by the great storytellers of Nashville’s Music Row, and these were stories that needed telling. As a couple of straight married guys, we found it galling when friends of ours couldn’t legally do something so simple and universal.”
Though immersed in Americana, Shapiro and Woodbury have varied musical backgrounds. Shapiro has toured the U.S. with his critically acclaimed band Populuxe, and performed solo in Bora Bora. His cover project, The Velvet Collar, released its first collection this year. His speaking voice can be heard reading many best-selling audiobooks. Woodbury’s projects have run the style gamut from downtown art pop to post-modern big band jazz. He has written extensively for theater and TV, including some cartoon theme songs (Pepper Ann, Teacher’s Pet). His songs have been sung by Lisa Loeb, Jill Sobule, Nathan Lane and Terre Roche of the Roches.
New York Times: "Your music is beautiful." About Gay Life: "Indie sensation Nhojj is the artist to watch this year." The Advocate: "Congratulations on making history." "Gay singer-songwriter Nhojj made music history twice in the past year -- first as the only black male ever to win an OUTMusic Award for his song Love, and then, more remarkably, hitting the coveted #1 spot on MTV’s music video chart ..." BET: "A soul pioneer." Centric TV Soul Sessions: "Soul Sessions congratulates soul singer Nhojj for being a Black history and a gay history first!"
Nhojj is blazing trails... He's peaked at the # 1 position on MTV Music Top 100 and CDBaby Out & Proud Charts. He's made OUTMusic Awards history as the first black male to win an OMA. He's shared stages with Regina Belle, Taylor Dayne, and RENT's Crystal Monee Hall. His work has been seen and heard at the Cannes Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival Queer Lounge. With 6 CDs, 5 Singles, and an intimate DVD performance filmed by Emmy nominated director Bill Cote, Nhojj is uncompromising in his efforts to produce positive, affirming music and videos. His latest is a groundbreaking Amazing Grace music video, using the Christian hymn to uplight and inspire gays on the issue of gay marriage. Check out Nhojj on his website: www.nhojj.com
Cheryl Barclay has been singing gospel and choral music since she was a child. She was classically trained and has sung professionally since the age of 13. Cheryl met song writer/producer JaVonne Armstrong in 2004 and the two released their first gospel CD, We Are Here…To Praise the Lord, in March, 2008. Cheryl’s clear, crisp vocals fused with the urban jazz/funk soul of JaVonne’s music have earned the pair quite a bit of local notoriety, as well as the opportunity to perform at the legendary Cotton Club in NYC. Their music ministry is in its infancy, but has already touched hundreds of people. Their debut project, We Are Here… to Praise the Lord, is well worth purchasing. There is a little something on there for everyone, from jazz, to funk, to house, to a heart-wrenching rendition of Oscar Williams’ Safety – guaranteed to touch one and all.
JaVonne is hoping that the Waiting All My Life song and video will be used in a way that will further the marriage equality cause and help to raise awareness. She and Cheryl are also hoping that the song becomes a great hit so that they can donate a portion of the proceeds back to the movement. Cheryl and JaVonne are currently planning a CD which will include Waiting All My Life, other love songs, spiritual music and dance music geared towards our community. They are very aware that there is a real need for their music and artists who are publicly “out”, especially in the "neo-soul" genre and gospel music arenas, where LGBT artists are almost always completely closeted.
Pop/R&B Recording Artist, Pianist
Watch David's I Do! music video directed by Alan Cumming and Ned Stressen–Rueter. A born entertainer and bon vivant, Raleigh’s signature soulful vocals and piano wizardry combined with his powerful songwriting has long been a fixture on the New York City nightlife and music scene. Born in Rochester, New York, Raleigh was named a child prodigy in the Who's Who Book of Music after the family moved to Seattle. He received a scholarship to attend Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. After being “discovered” and beginning to record while in his teens, as a young adult Raleigh made his way to New York City. The unmistakable sound of Raleigh’s breathtaking voice positioned him as a titan in the New York City music scene.
David has toured Europe and Australia; he continues to reach audiences across the globe with his extraordinary talent, captivating persona, and unforgettable songs. Songs related to Marriage Equality on David’s album Beginning Again are: I Do!; One Together; Ready, Willing & Able; and, Gratitude. All songs can be heard on David’s website: www.DavidRaleigh.com and are also available on iTunes, Amazon.com, CDBaby.com and other sites.
Jack Schell/the SoundWeaver
Singer, Songerwriter, Composer
With years of experience as a composer, musician and audio engineer, Jack Schell, The SoundWeaver, creates strong melodies which instantly evoke visually graphic images or “Musical Art Pieces” that for each individual listener can become quite personal and meaningful. When these Musical Art Pieces are coupled together, they form a remarkable stream of imagery that can be termed “Soundscaping” and are often perfect for film scoring. For the SoundWeaver’s imagery to work, Jack’s compositions tend to be mostly instrumental, since lyrics often limit each listener’s interpretation. Lyrical verses are minimal and when used are for accents and emphasis.
Jack’s own compositions, as well as his collaborations with Earl Slick, lead guitarist for David Bowie, have been used in television for sports shows and for radio and television advertising. Jack has writing, keyboard and pre-production credits on Earl’s CD Zig Zag which features a who’s who list of vocalists including David Bowie, the Cure’s Robert Smith, Joe Elliot of Def Leppard and Martha Davis of the Motels.
Jack has released seven of his own creative albums on CD to date: Ageless Music, Blue Aura, Laguna Sweethearts, Snottsdale Serenade, Library One, Air Taxi, and Vespa to the Sea. Check out Jack's music on his website: www.theSoundWeaver.com
Watch Tannyr's The Equality Song music video on YouTube. Tannyr Denby is an up and coming singer/songwriter whose music style is diverse. Her repertoire of original songs includes R&B, Jazz, Blues, Country, Rock and Reggae. So, no matter what your favorite style of music is, Tannyr has one for you. Tannyr was born 26 June 1987 in Bedford, TX. At the age of two, her parents moved back to their native city of San Diego. After graduating Helix High School, Tannyr earned a BA in Communication from the University of California, at San Diego. Tannyr hopes to make a difference with her music and is currently pursuing her singing and songwriting dreams independently. Tannyr's website is www.tannyrdenby.com
The hip hop kid-turned-Man with No Genre returns with a cover of Nina Simone's Be My Husband. Timely in the coming age of marriage equality, this live staple of Juha's is now a multi-style benefit single for New Alternatives, a NYC-based organization for homeless queer youth. In addition to the hypnotic chant of his original, this single adds: a psychedelic soul mix from New Orleans musician Christopher "Chops" Ingold; the dance floor stomp of Eddy J. Free; cinematic shuffle from Lin Sangster; Brett Basil's broody 80's new wave take; and Bridgeport's artistic lullaby. An interlude features a vocal relic from Juha's radio interview with Sheila Garrett, a lesbian teenager who committed suicide in 1993.
All musicians, DJs, and master-hands have donated their skills to this project. It's music you can get married to.
Juha is a queer married man with a step-daughter -- he is personally invested in marriage equality. Born in the USA, Juha now dwells in the London UK borough of Hackney.