For up-and-coming singer-songwriter Tyler James Bellinger, being openly gay in the music industry is about more than releasing a topical song during June’s pride month. It’s about spreading awareness and making others feel comfortable with who they are.
“If I’m going to have any type of platform, I want it to be one that changes lives or even just a single life. I love singing and writing music, but for me performing and becoming ‘famous’ can’t be the only driver of my success,” said Bellinger.
Bellinger has recently released two singles, “Save Me,” and “Feels Like Home,” that both tackle more personal issues for Bellinger.
“Feels Like Home,” which was released first, deals with the problem of LGBTQ homelessness, which is often ignored. For the music video for “Feels Like Home,” Bellinger partnered with the Ali Forney Center, an agency dedicated to helping LGBTQ homeless youth.
“It was incredible to be partnered with such an amazing organization. I knew the video meant nothing if it couldn’t direct people to find help or learn more about LGBTQ homelessness,” said Bellinger.
“Save Me,” which was released on June 27th, focused more on Bellinger’s personal struggles in his relationships and day-to-day life.
“I felt like my career, my relationship, faith, everything, was crumbling around me. ‘Save Me’ was a prayer to God, a plea for my relationship and a release for my emotions,” shared Bellinger.
With both singles, Bellinger has branched away from more upbeat music in order to properly channel more serious topics. “It’s not fair to expect artists to continually create the same sonic landscape and churn out the same music the public wants them to release,” said Bellinger. “I want the freedom to explore sounds and topics.”
However, the drive to make more serious music came from Bellinger noticing a lack of discussion of LGBTQ issues, as well as his own experiences being an openly gay artist in the music industry today.
“There are a lot of parameters on LGBTQ artists,” said Bellinger. “It’d be nice to see labels, playlists, etc. take chances and put support into LGBTQ artists outside of June’s Pride playlist or ‘gay’ leaning media.”
For Bellinger, he has been able to see firsthand how the music industry can be discriminatory to LGBTQ artists. “I’ve has an A&R tell me they wouldn’t sign me because they already had another gay male artist on their label, so our stories would be too similar,” said Bellinger.
And while Bellinger hasn’t quite reached the audience he is hoping to, he is still persistent in putting out his music and singing about what matters to him.
“I just want to write the songs I wish I had as a kid,” said Bellinger. “All I can do is share my songs and stories and hope they resonate with people.”
Stream Bellinger’s music here:
Featured Image via Tyler James Bellinger