Steve Grand burst onto the music scene in the summer of 2013 with his All-American Boy video as a complete unknown.
Since then, he’s developed such a solid fan base that he was able to fund his debut album through Kickstarter.
But there’s another side to fame that Grand has also seen – people who just don’t like the less Al-American Boy image that has emerged through his sometimes playful, sometimes darker darker non-music YouTube videos.
He’s well aware of the backlash and the effect it has had on his image. He has also enjoyed showing his buff body off but complained about old, near-naked modeling photos of him still being posted online by blogs.
‘I just know people have really, really low expectations of me and that’s what the Internet does,’ he tells PrideSource in an interview posted Monday 21 March).
‘I’m such an easy person to target. Young, good-looking, white, gay men – we love to hate those people. But there’s been a real person there the whole time.’
Grand self-financed his breakthrough video and has remained fiercely independent so far without record companies or a high-powered publicist.
He admits he hasn’t always handled it all well. ‘I’m not very good at crafting the public image version of me. I’m just not. I’m too messy of a person, and I care too much about being able to be a real dimensional human being.’
But he doesn’t want to be a ‘well-oiled machine’ like Taylor Swift.
‘I still am just a regular person operating in the same world as everyone else. I’m not rich and famous. And I think there’s a weird disconnect that, when someone has any degree of fame on social media or whatever, we discount them as being a real, complicated human being.
‘I feel like I have always fought for myself to be seen as a complex, nuanced human being, to the point where I would rather not have lots of success and notoriety if it means that I can’t let all the messy edges of me show.’