“In a world where you can be just about anything, be yourself,” – Chase Sansing
Country music singer, Chase Sansing strums his guitar with the Gay Pride Flag blowing in the background. Launching his new music video “Begins With You,” Chase sings his lyrics at Pride Festivals throughout the country, including in his home town of Nashville.
In February, this year, Chase released “Begins With You” as a homage to his coming out. The verse, “Life’s a beautiful ride if you open up and take a look around,” is meant to inspire those who struggle with their coming out, as he did.
Chase Sansing was born in Starkville, Mississippi and grew up in Macon, Mississippi. It was not easy for him. Said Chase, ”I’m not sure when I realized I was gay, I just remember knowing that I was different. During that time, I also discovered that I wasn’t into sports and hunting and fishing as the other boys were in my class, so I searched for a different way to express myself. That’s when I found music. I started playing music after my parents surprised me with concert tickets in 2003. I was nine years old.”
His first concert was to see Blake Shelton. “After that night I felt like I finally discovered my passion and a way to express myself. I began writing songs at 13, playing guitar at 15, recording my own songs at 17. When I turned 19, I moved to Nashville.”
His debut album was Here I Am and his second album was Playlist. Chase said, “My songwriting process usually comes from a simple idea. From there I sit down with my guitar and write the words along with the music. Everybody does it a different way but the easiest for me is to write both at once.”
Chase Sansing was born and raised in the deep, deep South
It was a challenge growing up in the Deep, Deep South. I asked whether the South is accepting today of the LGBT community. He commented, “I think the main reason they have a ways to go is because most of them won’t open up to the idea of it until it happens to their family. That’s how my situation ways. My parents were never against it, but they did have their beliefs until I proved them wrong.
Just as my sexuality will never change, the Deep South will never change. I can only hope that they will change. Of course some down there hope that I will change also. The only difficult part was fearing what my family and friends would think. It did cross my mind many times how it would feel to be open with everyone but I always thought that day would never come, especially since I had a dream in country music.
I came out to my parents first, which led to other family members. Once they all knew, I announced it to everyone else.”
Besides his passion for music, Chase has written a memoir, Backstage: The Truth Behind Me, an honestly raw account of his life. He said, “I feel like writing a book was easier than songwriting because I wasn’t trying to put words to a melody or make things rhyme. I just started from the beginning of my life to where I am now. I didn’t leave anything out. It was so easy to write because nothing in my life was any longer a secret.”
He said of his memoir, “I hope my story encourages you to be the best you can be. Everyone is perfect in their own way, but only you can play that role as perfectly as you can.”
As a country music artist, Chase hopes to inspire his fans to be who they are. His advice to young people struggling with their identity is, “I would start by saying it is not as bad as it seems. I know everyone has a different experience. But if you work on understanding and accepting yourself, then your process becomes much easier.”
When he is not making music he is passionate about photography and filmmaking. “More so film,” he said. “Everything I’ve ever been into has always been on the artsy side.” He is getting himself established in Nashville and wants to continue recording songs and making videos.
I asked him how he handles his fame. “I wouldn’t necessarily call it fame, but when people do reach out to me,” said Chase, “I treat them with as much respect as I can. I appreciate it more than anything. It’s like a big thank you and a reminder that my work is being heard.”
Follow Chase Sansing on his website chasesansingmusic.com and on Facebook.