Brian Falduto is calling out the dating scene with a “fun little anthem” inspired by late 90s and early 2000s country music. “Big Boys Club,” the latest song to release as Falduto readies his debut album, Gay Country.
Some fans might remember Falduto as Billy, when he acted in School of Rock, starring Jack Black, two decades ago. Now, Falduto is turning his attention to country — a genre that’s long been a part of his life — and Black recently showed love for Falduto’s viral single, “Same Old Country Love Song,” on TikTok. Falduto followed his viral single with “Big Boys Club” on January 20, taking on an upbeat, full country sound (he calls himself the “gay Jo Dee Messina,” he said with a laugh during a recent conversation with iHeartRadio). Falduto wrote the track with Collin Keller, and recorded it in Nashville, Tennessee.
“I just felt a little fed up with the dating scene. …If you think about it, dating can be exhausting, right? We don't talk about that enough,” Falduto shared with iHeartRadio. “The miscommunications, the swiping on the apps, the ‘blah, blah, blah,’ you know? It can be a lot to put yourself out there, and I feel like in order to put yourself out in a really serious way, it takes a lot of introspection and self-awareness. And so, I wanted to create a song that celebrates the people who are striving to show up in that way in the dating world. So, that's kind of what this is. It's a fun little anthem for those of us who are taking dating seriously.
“I've gotten a bunch of messages of the people who are really appreciating the message of the song. I'm really happy with the way we did it, too, because the song has a lot of heteronormative topics and sounds in it, I feel like. What we've done, (is) we've just like introduced them in a new, more playful way,” Falduto continued. “And I think this message, too, it could easily be a heavy message because it's about dating, which is like a topic that affects a lot of people. …But we did a fun job with this one of just saying in a fun way, ‘Hey, what about those of us who are out here?’ (Those of us) just trying our best to show up in an authentic, intentional, relational, relationally satisfying way. …The song's more of a celebration of those of us who are doing it that way, rather than a critique on any of the ways other people are going about dating.”
“‘Big Boys Club’ is a commentary on the dating scene in gay culture but it's delivered through the Trojan horse of a country song that contains many of the stereotypical sounds & themes you'd expect from the genre. It has a similar energy to Blake Shelton's ‘Boys Round Here’ as far as the tone of the song goes--but it's gay! We even went so far as to include some baseball references throughout. If you weren't paying attention, you might be surprised to find out that it's actually a celebration of a deeper queer love that questions the limiting hetero- & homo-normative dating constructs that have left a lot of us feeling unfulfilled.”
Country music has long served as an inspiration to Falduto, who recalls growing up listening to Shania Twain, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw and other iconic artists in the late 90s and early 2000s. Falduto’s debut album is full of “playful” lyrics and a “full country vibe where you just wanna roll the windows down and sing along. …There's a bunch of queer voices emerging in country music and I'm loving what everyone's doing, but I wanted to revisit the sound that I grew up on and take that and turn it on its head because I felt like no one had done that yet. So that's what we were aiming to do with this project.”
Falduto said Gay Country is a project that parallels his personal growth. He remembered, “when I came out, I wasn't really sure how I wanted to present myself or what to say. …It's less about evolving into something, I find, and it's often about removing blocks. Because we put up all these protective things when we're younger, right? To keep us safe. And it's about like removing all these layers and just getting down to the core of who you are.” Falduto’s music reflects that, he said, as he removed “blocks” with Gay Country.
Falduto describes country music as “a beautiful genre where you can find yourself,” known for its unmatched storytelling. The singer-songwriter and life coach remembered working at a country music radio station out of college, and finding comfort and healing in the music amid a tough breakup. The music made Falduto feel “a lot less alone,” though he noted that he wasn’t fully seeing himself “because there wasn’t much queer representation,” in the genre at that time. Now, the genre is seeing a shift in its voices while staying true to its storytelling core, Falduto believes. He nods to Kacey Musgraves, Maren Morris, Ingrid Andress, Orville Peck, Brothers Osborne and others as artists who have made strides in country and whose storytelling is powerful.
“Even as recently as four years ago, I was really unclear about my identity as an artist in the country lane. I knew that I would never deny being gay for the sake of being a successful country music artist but I simultaneously felt as though I had to be careful how I pitched myself. How much of my queerness would be acceptable amongst the audience I’m trying to reach? I found familiarity in navigating what might be too much or too little because that’s what I used to do when I was younger to survive,” He continues, “Thanks to continual internal work and the external influence of trailblazers like Kacey Musgraves, Orville Peck, Lil Nas X, TJ Osbourne, Brandi Carlile and Ty Herndon, I now know what’s possible in this genre (and in life) when you put the rule book down for a minute and dare to be yourself boldly. I refuse to play a game I wasn’t picked for or follow a formula that wasn’t built for me.”
Falduto, who dedicates his music to his own storytelling and his role as a life coach to navigating others’ stories, is set to release his debut album, Gay Country, on March 10.
“I'm just having fun. It's a very permissive project,” Falduto said. “I think it's saying a lot of really strong things, but it's doing them in a way that's playful… I’m not taking myself too seriously while also saying something serious. I'm really proud of that because I think it's representative of where I am in life that I'm able to sort of flow in that way. Because it was really hard for me for a while to sort of find that groundedness in who I am, and I feel like from that groundedness I'm able to have more fun.”