"By 12 I was already set on being a rock star," says Steve Grand, whose viral hit, "All-American Boy," turned a classic country music template -- falling for the wrong man -- into a catchy anthem of gay longing and regret.
Even in America in 2013, finding a record label to support that kind of song is near impossible, which is what makes Grand's decision to self-release his song on YouTube, complete with a sexy video he paid for with his life savings, so bold. His tastes may be mainstream, but his methods are anything but, demonstrating -- if proof were still needed -- that the once-mighty labels have been outmaneuvered by technology. For gay musicians everywhere, that can only be a good thing.
"This has been my dream," says Grand. "It makes me feel really good that something I created has inspired others, or made them feel a little less alone in the world."
Photographed in New York City on September 12, 2013