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The 'sassy' kid from School of Rock is now an out and proud gay singer

From 'you're tacky and I hate you' to spreading a message about love and acceptance

The 'sassy' kid from School of Rock is now an out and proud gay singer
Brian Fadulto is now an openly gay singer

‘You’re tacky and I hate you.’

That’s the line everyone associates with Brian Falduto, who played Billy ‘Fancy Pants’ in the 2003 hit film School of Rock, starring Jack Black.

Falduto was in fifth grade during filming and at that time, he had no idea about the subtle nod to the LGBTI community his character embodied.

‘Richard Linklater did a very good job at directing us children in a way that brought out these inner characters, mine being just an elevated version of my sassy self at the time, without inhibitions,’ Falduto tells GSN. ‘And I think at that age, being told I was playing a “gay role” would have been very overwhelming to me and would probably have resulted in some hesitancy.’

‘So who do you like?’ Jack Black’s character Dewey Finn asks the group of fifth graders, referring to their musical inspirations.

‘Liza Minnelli?’ Falduto’s character replies, referencing the gay icon.

‘I do remember early on in the process the costume designer on set asked me one day, “Do you even know who Liza Minnelli is?” To which I replied no and he proceeded to give me my first lesson in what I now know as Homo 101,’ says Falduto.

‘It didn’t take long for me to realize the subtle nods I had been giving to the LGBTQ community,’ Falduto recalls.

‘I was very quickly labeled “the gay kid from School of Rock” once the movie came out both among peers at the time and on a wide scale. It was a tough thing to be labeled at such a young age because for starters, I really barely knew what being gay really meant.’

‘All I knew about it was from the context I was hearing it in and in the fifth grade, growing up in a fairly conservative area 12 years ago, it definitely had a negative connotation.’

‘Being called gay by a group of fifth grade boys was embarrassing,’ Falduto states, citing these experiences as the reason it took him so long to come to terms with his LGBTI identity.

‘Everyone’s just entering puberty, figuring stuff out, just getting in touch with their hormones, and I’d already been told what I am before getting a chance to decide.’

Falduto didn’t come out as gay until his senior year of college.

‘This rejection of being gay was embedded in me very early on in a deep area of my brain, but I don’t regret anything,’ he says. ‘I love that my journey was this because I feel I was meant to have this past with an LGBTQ struggle because now that I’m able to look at everything more clearly, I’m so proud of how full circle I’ve come – I feel I’m now my truest self.’

‘And I love that I was able to be Billy in School of Rock with such unhindered confidence at a young age because I’ve heard such lovely stories from people and how they related to it. If my life had been a breeze after the movie, I don’t think I would value my role in the movie or my role in the LGBTQ community nearly as much as I now do.’

Graduating from Wagner College in New York City with a dual degree in Theater Performance and Arts Administration, Falduto has continued his career both as an actor and a musician.

Musical Career

Love One Another is the title of Falduto’s EP, marking the start of his journey as a singer/songwriter. Playing guitar and songwriting started out as just a hobby for Falduto, as it helped him therapeutically to work through different emotions after a heartbreak.

‘But then, over time, as I wrote more songs that I found were sort of “saving me” from the depression of a rough heartache, I thought about all the songs of artists that I listen to and how those songs have provided me with an outlet for my emotions for so long and I figured, hey maybe my songs can do that for someone else. Maybe I should share them,’ he says.

Brian Falduto

Brian Falduto

‘This past year I started collaborating with other musicians and booking gigs in and around NYC, etc. which all eventually led to the recording process for Love One Another.’

‘I’d say my favorite part of performing live has to be sharing my lyrics, which is why I try and keep whatever set up we are doing always focused around the lyrics,’ he states. ’I’m a big fan of a stripped down acoustic thing where the heart and soul of the song is exposed vulnerably. Those are my favorite performances to watch anyways – for someone to tell me they were able to connect to something I wrote expressively, that’s the greatest compliment I could receive.’

‘If I could put this EP into a sentence it would be, “Love has wounded me, and yet I know that love is the only answer.”’

‘The majority of the songs revolve around past relationships and experiences, but the song I’ve chosen to sort of push out the EP with is “Turn That Song Back On.” It’s a message people need to hear right now, or at least hear again… always, actually. And it’s the song that makes PRIDE month a good month to release this album. With the current climate of the world, and with what I know about my role in the LGBTQ community, I’m happy to offer this song and this message as my personal love note to everyone. Love one another.’

Brian Falduto’s EP Love One Another is available now.


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