Positive Celebrity Exclusive: Brody Ray talks AGT, his transition and the LGBTQ community!
If you’re familiar with America’s Got Talent, then you know how much passion and excitement people have when they step up on the audition stage. The talent that step on that stage hope to create new opportunities from their life struggles, stories, and dreams.
PCG had the honor of talking to Brody Ray about his audition, transition and desire to be a positive influence for the LGBTQ community.
Ray shared his story of why he choose to audition on AGT, instead of another competition:
“I think AGT stood out to me because they take a variety of acts. And you’re not just focusing on singers. So it kinda opens the doors to people of all ages and all talents. And really any person who might be different and have a story to tell. Especially an emotional, heartfelt story. It really does have a bigger impact on the community and the people watching when you can connect with that person, not just from the talent, but from their life. I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for me to get up there and share my story and share my talent, not just as a singer, but as a transgendered artist as well. You’re not competing with hundreds of other singers, you’re competing with singers, contortionists, balancing acts, dance crews, etc. It’s not all focused on ‘who’s going to be the best singer,’ ya know? I feel like I really have the opportunity to shine on AGT.“
And that’s part of what makes America’s Got Talent such an incredible show. It focuses on more than one aspect of a person’s life and allows them to be unique, tell their story and touch viewers in positive ways. People come from all walks of life to share their talents with the world and tell their stories. Their stories are impactful and they touch viewers in positive ways. Their pasts may include homelessness, mental or physical health struggles, or coping with painful personal experiences, but that makes their talents that much more incredible.
Brody Ray got a standing ovation from the audience and three judges, and that had a huge impact on him. He shared how powerful it was with us:
“Wow! I have never felt emotion quite like that before in my life. It was the most emotional thing I’ve ever done, and that I’ve ever experienced. It felt very validating for me. It took me a while to find that word, but that’s the word that I can really connect to, because I’ve been working so hard to prove to people that this is who I am. But you don’t have to judge me for that, I want you to judge me on my talent and my vocal ability… my musicianship. I want you to see me as ‘Brody Ray,’ the singer-songwriter, not the transgendered singer-songwriter. And when I saw them standing and cheering, my knees started to shake. I could have almost collapsed in my tears because it was so overwhelming. I was just so happy and grateful for that opportunity. I just could not hold in my tears… I mean everything had come full circle at that moment in my life. Everything that I have worked for… all the pain and struggle that I have been through, all led up to this moment. And it was perfect. I wouldn’t have changed it at all. It was perfect and I’ve just been working so hard for a moment like that and it finally came, and I have never been happier in my life.”
If you ask us, Brody Ray has already earned the hearts of people all over the world. And by doing so, he did the best thing a singer and songwriter can do, which is to influence and inspire the world.
There are always going to be people in this world who don’t agree with you. People who tear you down or make you feel like your not good enough because you’re not the “same,” as everyone else. Whether that be because of your personality, sexuality or situation in life. But isn’t that all the more cause to be loving, supportive, and to have an open heart? It should be, but sometimes it doesn’t work that way. Finding someone you can trust, talk to and reveal your innermost thoughts is important. Support is important.
Brody has a lot of love, but there’s always someone looking to pull other people down. It’s likely you can relate to not being supported in some way. Brody knew from the start that people would judge him because of his story.
He shared with us about seeing those negative people, but not letting them negatively affect him:
“That’s what I’ve noticed. I don’t read comments much, but if I do, I’ll scroll through a couple and I’ll read. There will be so many good ones. I’ll know right away if there’s a bad one coming… within the first sentence. And I can stop reading it or delete it or whatever I have to do to go around it. But I told myself I would not go through and read comments before I did any of this because that would upset me. It would hurt me and it would make me feel less confident in myself. So, I told myself not to do that and to skip over those. But what I’ve found is that for every negative comment, there was a thousand positive ones!”
That just goes to show that we don’t need to pay attention to what “bullies,” are saying. We shouldn’t read or pay attention to their hurtful comments. It takes strength, but just like Brody Ray, we shouldn’t feed those negative people. Instead, we should look for those who have been supportive and have made us feel good about the things we’re doing and going through in life.
Many in the LGBTQ community struggle with identity, and can also relate to the song Brody picked by Jordan Smith. Brody opened up about how scary it was to tell his story and share his talent at first. He also dove into why it’s important to have a strong support system:
“It was a little scary, but I knew that I had the opportunity in the past to tell my story on a platform… on the TLC episode. I knew that I did it then, and I knew I could do it again. No matter what happened, I was going to be okay. And I was going to have support, even if there were going to be people out there who didn’t support it. I would always have somebody who did. And I had the most amazing reaction when it came to my social media. There was obviously a lot of people out there who made it clear they didn’t like what I was doing, but there were two times more people who made it clear that they did, and they liked it, and they understood it. And so it just proved to me that there are more good people out there than bad.”
“I believe most people are good… I actually do believe that. It just gave me a sense of calm and hope that I could get up there and tell my story and I would be okay. And especially in a place like California. People are so up to speed with gender identities and sexuality there because it’s just more fast-paced. So, when I told my story, I got up and told them who I was, and I got a standing ovation for that alone. That, right then, just melted my heart. I couldn’t even hold in my tears. I cried before I even performed. It was so emotional for me. And I knew I was going to be okay in that moment. It took my nerves away. It really helped me focus on the song and the message. And delivering that message in the best way that I could.”
Brody also touched on how he felt sharing his story would send a positive message:
“Well, I kind of want to send a message out that states: You know, you don’t have to be held down by the ways we are different from others. You don’t have to be excluded from being successful because you’re different. I just want people to know that you can chase your dreams and do what you want to do and live a happy and successful life, no matter how you are born, or what you were born with… you can do it if you choose to do it. I want to send a message of hope and possibilities, and that you can get through a successful transition with support from your friends and family. Those things are very important for a successful transformation. We all want to know that we are loved and supported and there are people we can lean on when we are having a hard time. That makes us more confident, you know?! In everything that we do. And so my hope is to maybe help family members understand that it’s okay to support a transgender, gay, lesbian, or bisexual family member, and lift them up, because it’s not a choice, no one would ever choose that. It’s something that you’re born with and you don’t get to choose that. We’re trying to share that message that this is normal. It’s okay. And we need to help each other, you know?!”
Brody is focused on America’s Got Talent right now, and he’s doing great! It’s a journey he will continue to take as he continues to create music and do what he loves for a living.
“I want to continue to carry that message of hope and light. Like Simon said… bringing forth ‘original material and show us who you are as a songwriter, as an artist.’ I think that was also something that I wanted to continue to do, and prove that I can do these things. I’m not any less capable of doing them because I’m different. I want to continue to carry that message of hope, but also that message that I’m here for the music, I’m here as a songwriter, as a singer, as a vocalist and I’m here to compete, meaning I want to win. And I want to be successful with a music career. I want that to be my main focus and my main goal. I want to continue to make hits, make records, get myself on the radio, get signed to a record label… that’s my goal, you know?!”
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“It’s a good goal and I wish you the best of luck. It’s an awesome competition filled with so many awesome personalities.”
“So many! I’m just so lucky to be apart of this season. I’ve met so many amazing people. And I’ve worked with so many, and I’m just overwhelmed with gratitude.”
Brody shared about the audition. And he wants anyone with that insight to know how to control their nerves, and that they can accomplish anything. He said:
“I would say to get out of your head and get into the song, or get into whatever act you’re doing and just give it your all, like you would be performing in front of a family member or in front of a mirror. And it’s no different. You’ve just got to really know that your nerves are something that you can control to a certain point, and there’s things you can do to help yourself prepare for these events. Don’t be afraid. If I can do it, I think anybody can do it, because I’ve overcome so much performance anxiety and nervousness to get to this point. I’ve been auditioning for things for so long that my nerves get the best of me and ruin my performance, and for once it didn’t happen that way, and I was able to find a way to control those nerves. I think if you can learn to control that anxiety, you can accomplish anything.”
I love that! I think a lot of people are just scared. They’re scared and they are nervous. They don’t think they are good enough, but as long as you are confident in your ability, and you tell yourself that you’re good enough, you can be very successful.
Brody absolutely loves charity. He shared his thoughts on GLAAD, HRC and the US campaign:
“I have been really involved. I did an interview with GLAAD, and then HRC and the US campaign. They’ve been really supportive. There’s a lot of things online… a lot of businesses that are supportive of everything. I really love what GLAAD is doing and what HRC is doing. It’s just so important. Everything they’re doing and fighting for… they are fighting for our rights… our human rights. I couldn’t be more grateful for them, especially for them to support me too, you know?!”
They’ve done a lot of good work. That’s awesome that they’re working with Brody.
The best part of AGT for talent has to be when they watch themselves on the air for the first time. They get to relive that moment and realize this is real life. Brody shared his experience with us:
“It was nerve-wracking. I had all the emotions coming at me at the same time. I had fear, anxiety, excitement, joy. I was proud. I was also very hard on myself. I’m very hard on myself as an artist. ‘Oh, I didn’t sing that note right,’ or, ‘I could have sang that part better.’ I was just trying to lay back and not be so hard on myself and enjoy it. Enjoy the moment and soak it up and take it in… and I was able to do that. And watching it and seeing how they put it together, it brought back all those emotions from when I first felt those emotions on stage with Tyra. It made me feel like I was reliving the moment. But also, I got to see things I never got to see before. I never got to see the episode before it aired. I was watching it for the first time with everyone else too, you know?! It was cool. It was new. I had the chills and I made myself cry”
We can’t wait. We’re excited to see where Brody’s journey takes him. He’s truly an inspiration. If you haven’t seen his AGT audition, check it out below. Don’t forget to follow Brody Ray on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook! That way you can stay up-to-date on his journey! And let us know what you think about Ray’s performance and how did he inspire you? Sound off in the comments!
Brody Ray: Grew Up As Natalie But This Transformed Singer’s GOT TALENT! | America’s Got Talent 2018