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Paisley Fields Breaks the LGTBQ Stigma in Country Music with “Electric Park Ballroom”
Paisley Fields Breaks the LGTBQ Stigma in Country Music with “Electric Park Ballroom”

Artist Name: Paisley Fields
Genres: Country
Location: New York

Paisley Fields is a wonderfully talented singer and musician as well as an unabashed source of inspiration for those wishing to excel in a field where they may face discrimination and conflict. As an openly gay man who works in country music, he is unapologetically himself as he continues to drive forward in an often-perceived conservative area of popular music. He released his excellent second album, Electric Park Ballroom, this past June on all streaming platforms. If he’s not creating or playing his original music, he’s probably on the road playing piano with Lavender Country.

Paisley grew up in rural Iowa and, perhaps unexpectedly, was very active in his local church and enjoyed his time there. Church music definitely influences his playing as a pianist, but he doesn’t notice or think about it consciously. He would play preludes on the piano during services and had fun with it, playing songs by Marilyn Manson on the church’s keyboard and no one noticed. Paisley told us, “A lot of queer people hated church, but I didn’t. I wasn’t out, but everyone knew and treated me well. When I visited years later with my husband, we were welcomed then as well.” When he was in fourth grade, he told his teacher he was going to be a singer when he grew up. One of his earliest musical inspirations came from Tori Amos – Unplugged. He loved it because, “It’s so weird and avant-garde.” The album bolstered his desire to continue learning to play the piano and he later got into other influential artists such as Nina Simone, Elton John, Prince and Rufus Wainwright.

The concept of Electric Park Ballroom comes from the name of a real place located in his hometown where Paisley and his parents would go line dancing. It was there that he felt his first connection to country music, dancing freely and flamboyantly as he wanted without having to worry about anyone thinking he was gay. He said, “Before I went to Electric Park Ballroom, I saw country music as square and lame, but once I danced to the song ‘Strokin,’ I realized there was more to country than what I thought.” 

Paisley’s songwriting process draws from his life experiences, but he doesn’t consider his songs to be autobiographical. There is plenty of embellishment, fiction and imagination in his lyrics. For instance, “Ride Me Cowboy” was written while he was laying in his bed alone and thought the lyrics were funny. On Paisley’s previous album Glitter & Sawdust, a song titled “Can’t Stop Our Love” tells a story about his internal struggle of coming out to his parents and friends. The lyrics consist of imaginary conversations with all of his loved ones, what they might say, and why he was scared to tell them he’s in love with another guy.

His foray into the country music scene as a gay man is extremely impressive as he grows his fan base every time he releases new music. Paisley’s recommendation to other LGTBQ artists getting into music is, “Find a community of like-minded people that you can grow and collaborate with. Work with people in the music industry that will work with both queer people and other minority groups.” Paisley continues to make headway in the country music scene in his time spent between Brooklyn and Nashville, stay tuned for more releases from him in the future!

To learn more about Paisley Fields, listen to more songs, follow his socials, or support his music, please see the links below:


Joseph Garabed

Written By Joseph Garabed

Joseph Garabed is a writer, songwriter, and musician from Naples, FL. He writes articles for both Music Neighbors and the Nashville Scene and releases music under The Joseph Garabed Band. 

IG: @josephgarabedband

MN Profile: Listen here

 

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