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'Fire Island': Patrick McDonald Performs Original Song, Talks Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood Inspiration
Has Fire Island discovered the next country star? Patrick McDonald, a housemate on Logo’s reality series based in the popular gay summer destination sure hopes so. Ahead of tonight’s episode, Billboard is premiering a clip in which McDonald performs an original song. We talked to the aspiring singer about his songwriting process, his inspirations and whether or not the country music scene is ready to be more accepting towards the LGBTQ community.
What's the name of the song you performed?
The song I perform on the show is called "Learn to Let You Go." I wrote it right after I went through an emotionally draining breakup a few years ago. Since I was little, writing has always been a therapeutic way for me to process and express what I'm going through at the time. I was writing in my journal one day and the song just kind of poured out of me in a way that's hard for me to explain. It was pretty powerful and I wrote it in an hour.
Do you have any plans to release more music?
I absolutely plan on releasing more music. After I performed the song while we were filming I realized how much I enjoyed sharing a piece of my heart with other people. I spent a few months back in Georgia after we finished the show and wrote six new original songs that will be on my forthcoming record. It's the most personal thing I've ever created and I'm really proud of it. We hope to get it released by the end of the year. Until then, "Learn to Let You Go" will be available on iTunes next week and you can listen to it on YouTube.
You have a country twang in your voice -- who are some musical inspirations?
I was raised in the South, so country music was the soundtrack of my life. I'm inspired by so many artists but I've never felt a bigger personal connection to anyone's music than I do with Miranda Lambert. When I listen to her songs I feel like she is singing about me and I think that's the mark of a truly great artist. Her ability to connect with whatever I'm going through at any given time is really special to me. She was also born the day before me, so maybe there's some astrological reasoning behind it. She's also obsessed with her dogs so we have that in common as well. Scorpio sisters!
Country music has a stigma for being homophobic. Do you think that's fair?
You know, I think that stigma definitely exists in country, as it does in hip-hop, but I think we're in the midst of seeing that evolve as the world evolves. Ten years ago you wouldn't have seen a reality show about six gay guys on national TV either, so the landscape is always changing. I think country music is ready for an openly gay artists and I'd love to be a part of breaking down some of those walls.
There's been sort of a trend to acceptance of the LGBTQ community in the country music industry. What moment did you find the most groundbreaking, and why?
I think Carrie Underwood coming out in support of gay marriage a few years ago was very impactful. She is arguably the most popular female artist in country music and hearing her say "look, love is love" was enlightening and educational for the country audience. There is a definitely some lingering ignorance in the south but I have seen first hand how opening a respectful dialog with someone with opposing views can bring you to common ground. I am grateful to Carrie for that because it helped spark those conversations with a lot of people, even in my own extended family. I'm also really proud of Kacey Musgraves for clapping back at the stigma by releasing such LGBT-inclusive music. She is a trailblazer for sure and I'm excited to follow her arrow -- I mean follow her lead.
Fire Island airs 8pm EST/PT on Logo.