I do remember that. I just saw [Glee alum] Darren Criss a few days ago, and we reminisced about that because he sang it. Glee had a huge impact on the band because it helped our first song take off and it had a huge impact on a lot of people, especially within the gay community. One of the reasons I’ve felt such a need to speak out on this is I’ve gotten countless emails and letters from fans around the world who said, “I’m gay, but I know you’re Mormon so that probably means you don’t accept my lifestyle, but I love ‘It’s Time’ and your music.” That was devastating and it broke my heart to get letters like that. I’ve written back to these people to tell them, “No, I do support you and I’m here for you.” It’s been a driving force for me to raise awareness and make a difference and not just sit back to let people feel that hurt. “It’s Time” reached a lot in a lot of different ways.
During your TrevorLIVE speech, which you gave while accepting the event’s Hero Award, you announced an upcoming benefit show in Utah called Love Loud. What is that and why are you doing it?
It’s been a long time coming for me. These last couple years, I’ve felt a burning inside of me, especially after talking to a therapist about things I felt guilt about. One thing that has been on my heart heavily for quite a while has been this: Even though my faith isn’t always the strongest and my beliefs are more of my own, the world typically thinks of me as a Mormon, so I feel like I’m an activist for bigotry in some way. One of those ways is that Mormons believe the doctrine is if you are gay and acting upon it, that is sinful. That is a very dangerous and hurtful and hateful thing to preach and to teach our children. To be gay is beautiful and right and perfect; to tell someone they need to change their inner-most being is setting up someone for an unhealthy life and unhealthy foundation. I know a lot of Mormon youth who are gay and hide it because they feel as though God hates them or God is judging them. In Utah, the No. 1 reason for death among teenagers is suicide. On top of that, the Family Acceptance Project just put out research showing a child not accepted at home or in the community is eight times more likely to attempt suicide, three times more likely for risky drug behavior and risky sexual behavior than their peers. These statistics are speaking loudly. There’s a problem with this being taught to our youth.
As a spotlight Mormon, I felt the heavy weight to speak out now and do something about it; otherwise I’d just be sitting back being an activist for bigotry. So I got together with progressive activists Steve and Barb Young in the Mormon community to put on Love Loud on Aug. 26 for all orthodox religions that teach children it’s sinful to be LGBTQ and that It’s hurting our youth. This Love Loud festival is going to get out people of all types -- the LGBTQ community as well as the orthodox religion community and people with no faiths -- and have them all come together to listen to music and to speakers who will talk about how important it is for families to not just accept it, but let their children know they’re beautiful the way they are, and if there is a God, then God is all for it. I believe in Mormons and I believe in people in orthodox religion and I believe they have good hearts. But I believe we all can be educated on the matter to create positive change. This is about awareness more than anything.
We’re partnering with GLAAD, the Trevor Project, Encircle and Stand4kind. Tickets for Love Loud will be $11 and go to those four charities. We wanted to make it cheap because it’s more about awareness. Imagine Dragons, Neon Trees, Tyler Glenn and a bunch of artists we’ll announce later will perform. And Steve and Barb Young are going to speak. It’s a family-friendly event in Provo, home of [Brigham Young University]. Nobody should feel attacked. It should be no taking sides, just love and talking about ways to create an environment of love and acceptance for our LGBTQ youth. I think it’s going to be the biggest festival to ever happen in Utah. On top of that, it’s going to be for an incredible cause that most people wouldn’t expect to happen in Utah.
You closed your TrevorLIVE set with “Radioactive,” which won the best rock performance Grammy in 2014. What are your thoughts on the Grammy voting process finally being moved to online voting instead of paper ballots this year? One major benefit for voting members is they can now listen to nominees’ music while voting online.
Thank goodness. That probably needed to happen for quite a while. This improves the voting process because artists will now be judged upon their merit and not just name recognition. That’s important. Countless artists throughout the year haven’t won a Grammy because they don’t have the name value to them and they deserve to. I’m glad the Grammys made the change.