Sinclair on sexuality, songwriting and chosen family

AE: What does your wife do?

Sinclair: She’s a painter. She’s incredible. She has an Instagram that’s fantastic and gets a lot of art fans on there. It’s NatalieRoseArt. She’s brilliant. She just started doing it a whole lot more in the last two years. She went to a school in Northern California in high school and did art so she’s finally pursuing her dream. I’m really excited for her.

 

AE: Did you meet in Nashville?

Sinclair: We did, we met in Nashville. She had been here about a year longer than me and actually, Easter of 2012 she knocked on my door and it was for a party that we were having. And one of our friends invited her and it was like, I felt like I was getting hit over the head as soon as I opened the door. And so we probably started dating only three weeks after that day. Yeah, it was wonderful.

 

AE: Is there a big LGBT community in Nashville?

Sinclair: You know, there is an awesome community. We need to be more involved in it. We went to this thing called the QD Prom and I think it stands for Queer Dance Prom and it was one of the best things Natalie and I have ever done. It was about 500 people and most of them are gay couples, and it’s really cool to—because i never want to prom, actually, and my wife went a couple times, but she didn’t go with girls. And I think that was the story for most people there. If they had gone, they went with a best friend they were pretending they weren’t together, or they were with somebody of the opposite sex—and so it was a really fun time to have this little photo booth and couples are just being really comfortable dancing to the slow songs. It was just like really cute, you know? But they do that once a month and it’s a pretty loving, great community here.

 

AE: That’s great. You know Southern states can get a bad rap for being homophobic. So you feel like it’s a pretty gay-friendly place?

Sinclair: Nashville is much more forward-thinking than the rest of Tennessee. I think it’s pretty safe for me to say that. And honestly I haven’t been to any other Southern states—I haven’t been in like country areas enough to know how that is. I know Atlanta is pretty comfortable. I’ve been to Alabama with Natalie and I didn’t get a really clear indication either way, so I don’t want to, like, cast any judgment, but yeah—Nashville’s very, very warm.

 

AE: Now that the EP is out, are you actively writing and recording for the full-length now?

Sinclair: I am actively writing, and it’s been going—I thought I was going to have a dry spell right now. I thought I was going to put out the EP I was so anxious about, and now I have to start writing a full-length, but I actually think I’m just so amped up after the release. People have ben so positive about my EP that I’ve kind of been on a high. And so writing for the full-length is already happening, and I’m probably going to start tracking in the next five months. Touring quite a bit this year, I hope. There’s a couple things that are being talked about, but nothing solidified at the moment. We’re playing the Pride Parade in Nashville, I believe that’s July 5th. That’s going to be a blast!

 

AE: I really enjoyed that video you made of you talking about coming out to your family. Have the circumstances changed at all—have they come around a little bit more?

Sinclair: Well, that’s a really good question. I had one sister visit me recently and that was really great, but overall, there’s definitely no acceptance, so to speak. And that’s hard. Natalie and I are actually celebrating May 1st with our friends and family. We got legally married in Northern California last June and we wanted to celebrate with the people and the community closest to us so we’re having a big celebration. I invited all my family, they all said no, based on belief and I guess it was a conflict of interest to them. So that’s hard, and I knew that was going to be the answer but it’s still an interesting feeling, especially because I hear a lot of people—a lot of times people will say to me, “Oh, you know—it’s your parents, they’ll come around!” but it’s hard for me to maintain hope in that sense. And I think what I’ve come to learn is that I don’t know that I need to expect them to change their mind, because I don’t know how fair that is anyway. But rather that I just need to find and embrace family that’s chosen by me. And I’ve been able to do that, for the celebration. I think that’s kind of the answer for me. Even if, you know, I lost my family in the sense of true love and support, I really got a beautiful family and support system here, and I have confidence I will have them always. And I think that’s just as priceless.

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AE: I think a lot of people are going through that, or have been through that, and to hear a public person like yourself talking about it could mean a lot. Do you have any advice for others who might be in similar situations?

Sinclair: I mean, first off, I would say don’t bury your feelings. Let yourself be emotional. You have to miss them, don’t stuff that inside and try to pretend like you’re bigger than that. And at the same time, if you’re wanting advice from a parent, do your best to call up a friend or somebody who you know would be willing to talk about it and initially it might not feel the same, you’re not blood. But at some point, when you call them and invite them into your life in that way, they feel more like family. And it invites them into that position of closeness. So you definitely have to open yourself up into it. People aren’t necessarily going to jump in and say “Hey, I wanna be your mom!” or your sibling or your dad. But if you feel like you want your friends to be at all these important events and be there to talk to when you’ve had a breakup or when any challenging things are happening—financial advice. They’re not going to necessarily volunteer right way, but I guarantee if you put yourself out there, people are going to be very happy to step in and give you that love.

 

AE: A lot of people, especially in the LGBT community, have chosen families and I think sometimes we’re better off for it. Who you choose to keep around you is very key to happiness and personal acceptance. Is there anything else you’d want people to know about you if they’re just learning about you for the first time?

Sinclair: I definitely want people to know that the reason that I release music and have chosen this career path is certainly not at all related to, like—I mean, honestly, I think about this all the time: If I wanted to make a lot of money, this is not what I would have chosen. It’s not a reliable way to get a lot of cash. I know that at some point it raises a lot of challenges with people watching you and things like that, but the reason that I am making the music I’m making is because I feel it’s like a necessity for me. It’s almost like a healing process for me to make it.

And then I feel that it’s really important to give it to other people. And, like you said, if there are a lot of other people going through the same thing that I went through—which I think I’m far from alone in this—and at the time, I felt alone. “This Too Shall Pass” is a big one—I’m really glad I got to release that on the record. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people who like “Heaven on Earth,” who really get what I was writing it for, and that’s why I do it. They’re with their lover and they totally get it. “Hey—let’s make our own little place, a little piece of Heaven and who cares what other people say—they don’t know what we have.” And that’s really exciting to me to be able to give people a little something and that’s really why I’m doing it. I can’t think—there are so many times when I feel exhausted and my wife reminds me, you have to let these songs go. And I thin she’s right. That’s why I do it.

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