Out Magazine talks to the singer-songwriter about his latest video—which also features classic summer Americana—and why it's more of a positive message than Steve Grand's 'All-American Boy'
Out: Young love is an eternal story/message: What do you think the message of "Young Love" is for young gay men?
Eli Lieb: Love is love. I'm just celebrating love and life and to me that transcends, race, gender, sexuality, and any other distinguishing factors. Being gay isn't a gimmick or an issue for me, it's just me. In my music, my persona and this video, I want to represent myself authentically. And I believe everybody should express love how they know it and not be afraid of showing the whole world, including friends and family, how they feel. It was important to me to also show my friends, and represent other people in love (the girl and boy kissing, etc.), to say, "It's just love, let's celebrate it!" I don't feel any shame, and I don't feel self-righteous, I just am who I am, and I'm not afraid of it. On the positive side, I'm happy that being who I am might help others, to see a love like mine represented. Watching this video really makes me feel how I feel when in love. Not specifically gay love, or specifically straight love, just LOVE. And I wanted to show how lucky I am to have love between friends who can accept each other 100% for who they are.
Although Steve Grand said that his recent video hit, "All-American Boy" is positive in the way the straight male still wants to be friends with his gay pal after he kisses him, some could say that it's shame-based while your song/video is more of a celebration. What are your thoughts about that?
Firstly, I think that it's awesome that there is something in the air, that people are feeling the freedom to express their story, whatever it is. The story he tells is much different than mine, so it's so funny we both have a couple similar shots! I guess that fireworks and country rides in a convertible are just classic summer-time images. But I feel incredibly blessed that in my story there are no secrets. Everyone in the video and in my life, including me is happy with who they are. People have different experiences in being gay, and I think both videos give two different, very personal experiences.
Some people can relate to Steve Grand's video, because they are still closeted as is the lead character in the video, but for me, I wanna show the freedom of being who I am. I didn't set out to make a righteous statement with this video. I always live my life completely authentically without any fear of what others might think. I find true happiness comes with that kind of honest acceptance of oneself. It just so happens that one of my many characteristics is that I am gay. When it came time to shoot a video to this love song, I of course had to stay true to who I am in order to tell that story: I didn't flinch for a second. I hope that this video will help other people live their lives to the fullest: never out of fear and always toward love.”
Since your recent video became a viral hit on YouTube have you been surprised by any of the reactions?
I am thrilled with the response. Every new view is a welcomed surprise, and they just keep coming! I have over 10 million views on my YouTube channel now, which is quite the jump since "Place of Paradise" came out! It's been amazing to create this from the ground-up. I don't have a label or a big fancy team; it's all just me with the help of a couple friends, Geoff Boothby (director of "Young Love" and "Place of Paradise") being one of them. I feel extremely grateful and blessed that based off of who I am, authentically without holding back artistically, that I've been met with this kind of support and I truly believe that if everyone functioned from a place free of fear, we could all make our dreams come true.
Any surprises that you have in store for us?
Well, they wouldn't be surprises if I told you! But I am definitely working on a lot of new projects right now, and you guys will be the first to know!
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