Nashville Pride’s two-day 2017 lineup includes music from every genre, from country to hip-hop, and features both established artists like Ty Herndon and CeCe Peniston and emerging talents like Ezra Furman and Julien Baker. Here’s a quick look at many of the artists performing on the main stage Sunday! (See also: Saturday!)
Ezra Furman’s recent album, Perpetual Motion People, illustrates timeless influences, delivered with a restless urgency and combative spirit that shines through his vocals and lyrics. The album’s title is programmatic: “That's who it was made by and that's who it's for. People who feel they can never settle. I’m restless in most aspects I am always changing the way I present my gender. My religious life is intensely up and down in terms of observance and personal convictions. I’ve always viewed the idea of truth itself as something wobbly, always slipping out of our grasp. That's what the songs are about: a head that is haunted, a society I cannot join, a lover who is perpetually in the act of leaving. A central idea is the fugitive or runaway, in a hideout built in the midst of an unfriendly or alienated world.
For years, Memphis native Julien Baker and a group of close friends have performed as the band Forrister (formerly The Star Killers), but when college took her four hours away, she continued her creative journey as a solo artist. As she began to work on telling her own stories, genuinely deep, surprisingly dark stories emerged from her thus far short life. Tales of her experiences are staggering, and when set to her haunting guitar playing, the results are gut wrenching and heartfelt, relatable yet very personal. That early work has now culminated in her debut full-length record, Sprained Ankle.
Ty Herndon is one of the most recognizable names in country music to LGBT fans, giving his recent coming out and active presence in the local LGBT community ever since. Herndon has an impressive string of hits that includes three chart-toppers (“What Mattered Most,” “Living in a Moment,” and “It Must Be Love”), as well as numerous top 10 hits, such as “I Want My Goodbye Back,” “Loved Too Much,” “A Man Holding On (To a Woman Letting Go),” and “Hands of a Working Man.”
Herndon recently released a new studio album, House On Fire, which represents some of the most meaningful and fulfilling music of his career. The album conveys many different messages that have recently take center stage for Herndon, delivered his trademark style.
CeCe Peniston is an international icon. As an artist, performer and songwriter, she is one of the most successful dance/club artists in the history of the US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play Charts. Early in her career, Peniston scored five #1 hits within just three years.
Her signature Dance hit “Finally,” which inaugurated her recording career, was #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and #2 on the UK Top 75. “Finally” remains one of the biggest dance records in history, having sold over 3 million copies worldwide.
“Finding a sound is everything,” says Conrad Sewell, “and it was a real struggle to hone in on one thing. So since this is the first thing people are going to hear from me, I wanted to focus on the songwriting—write songs that I felt were timeless or represented what I really wanted to say.”
Conrad had some pretty significant accomplishments even before his debut recordings. He has written songs for other artists in his native Australia, had a European hit with his previous band, and, most recently, wrote and sings the hook on Kygo’s global smash “Firestone,” which already has over 100 million streams on Spotify.