Patrick Masse
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Patrick Masse

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"Rhinestone Cowboy "I'm a fish out of water, gay country singer says""

It’s a known fact that the Lord Jesus lives on a ranch in the Midwest. This is why the most popular accessory for a plaid shirt is still a Bible, not a rainbow flag. Canadian country recording artist Patrick Masse is hell-bent on changing this.

“Everyone knows there are no gay men in professional sports or country music,” Masse jokes over coffee.

Nashville is one of the last places you’d expect to find an out gay or lesbian artist. Though by the same token, a Vancouver coffee shop is the last place you’d expect to find a country artist — which is what makes Masse so interesting.

“I’m a fish out of water,” he admits. “From what I know, I’m the only openly gay male commercial country artist. I know a lot of country artists in Nashville that are quite successful, but they are in the closet.”

??????Traditional family values dominate the country music industry — demonstrated by the massive commercial success of artists like Faith Hill or Tim McGraw. Still, there’s room for some diversity, as Chely Wright’s well-publicized coming out proved in 2010.

?“I knew for many years that Chely was a lesbian; it just wasn’t made public knowledge,” Masse explains. “It’s not an industry where people are outed, either. Even if they suspect something, most of the public prefers to keep pretending otherwise.”

Although we’ve met to discuss his upcoming performance at WinterPride, it’s Masse’s novelty factor that originally compelled me to contact him. He’s branded himself as “a traditional, yet refreshing brand of country,” which in my mind translates to the Pimm’s Cup of country music: manly, cool and not too fruity.

Like Masse, I grew up listening to artists like Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton. Unlike Masse, my musical daydreams involved boy bands, not the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.

That he was born and raised in Vancouver, better known for acts like Bryan Adams and Nickelback than for its country music scene, adds another puzzling contradiction to his resumé.

Masse came out to friends and family at 19, four years before his first album, Get There from Here, was released in 1998. His experiences living and recording in Nashville have given him a window into a world where religion and song frequently collide.

“Christian music is bigger in Nashville than country music, but they aren’t the same thing,” he says. “I am a country artist.”

A song like “Everybody Likes To Be Loved” from his latest album, Mend the Man, could easily appear on an album by Alan Jackson or Randy Travis.

Masse confesses that “kd lang has had a huge influence on my career. She’s navigated her career on her terms, which is something I think I’ve done as well.”

Masse is a vocal advocate for the transformative power of social media and believes it has helped artists who “wouldn’t have had a chance with the old music-industry model.”

“It’s a really exciting time to be an artist,” he says, “because you can have total control over your music.”

He’s working on a new album but has also spent several years developing a reality television concept based on his experiences as a gay country artist. Although he hasn’t sold the concept yet, he says, “it would show a different side to the industry, a side people have never seen before.”

Patrick Masse will perform Tues, Feb 7 at WinterPride’s Cowboy & Cowgirl Party.

More info at - Xtra Pink Triangle Press

"Patrick Masse Tells How to Mend a Man"

Patrick Masse Tells How to Mend the Man

As an openly gay country-music artist, Patrick Masse is a bona fide trailblazer.

By Scott Wood

Adam Lambert may not have won American Idol that year—can anyone remember who did?—but he has indisputably changed what people can expect from a popstar. Shortly after Idol was over, Adam Lambert came out of the closet and he has proved to fans and sceptics in the music industry that an openly gay man can reign on the pop charts.

Vancouver son Patrick Masse has been openly gay and making country music—yes, you read that right, country music—pre-Adam Lambert’s coming out. He calls himself “A Traditional Yet Refreshing Brand of Country.” Here’s my chat with a real bona fide trailblazer.

Scott Wood: Most gay men are pushed towards dance music and I think it’s really cool you do your own thing. Has it always been country music or nothing?

Patrick Masse: As a singer yes, but I love and listen to all kinds of music, I am a sucker for pop. I have always been into pop. I go way back to pop stars like Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, and New Kids on the Block. Gosh I am showing my age, lol. Pop music is really influencing my current CD. I am working with a co-producer that is in the AC/Pop music genre. I am sure that fans of my older music will see the evolution. For some reason, I am attracted to more female artists. Maybe being a gay man, I can relate to the lyrics?

Scott Wood: Can you pick a recent pop song and talk about what you like about it?

Patrick Masse: Sure I love "Last Friday Night" by Katy Perry, I am a huge fan of all her stuff! I like how she writes about her real life, or chooses songs that are about what is important to her. Her song "Firework" is another favourite of mine. It has a great message, and I love the video.

Scott Wood: I read kd lang was one of your influences. She started in country, moved to pop then to dance. What do you think of that kind of trajectory for a musician?

Patrick Masse: I think that you should do whatever feels right—after all it is about expressing yourself through your art. My sound has changed over the years. My new album we are doing right now is different than my latest, Mend the Man. I think that this is a natural progression. When my first CD came out in 1998, I was a totally different person and at a different place in my life. Life has a way of changing your surroundings, and as an artist, for me anyway, that comes out in my music. This may in turn change the sound as well.

Scott Wood: Can you talk about your appreciation for a country artist that people might not expect you to like?

Patrick Masse: I really like some of Toby Keith's music, but I hate his politics and how he treated the Dixie Chicks... There are not many country artists I don't like. I am not a huge fan of gimmicky songs though. I find most of them cheesy. There are a ton of them in country music!

Scott Wood: What's one good tip for finding the right cowboy hat?

Patrick Masse: Make sure it is the right size! My first hat was too small and my head hurt when I wore it. You should also get the right kind. There is felt (material) and so on, I love to wear a straw hat, they are cooler to wear under stage lights...

Scott Wood: I can only imagine the reactions you get when you say you are an openly gay country artist. Some might say it’s like being a gay Republican.

Patrick Masse: I am not sure about that comparison; I don't agree I am an artist. For the record, there is nothing Republican about me. I think that this is one thing that makes me stand out in country music. Being openly gay in a musical genre that is not that open-minded to who I am can be very liberating. I am not sure how one could be gay and support a party that wants to limit basic human rights for gay people.

Scott Wood: In indie music circles, there is a certain perception of the country music fanbase is totally made up of slack-jawed, truck driving Toby Keith fans. What do you think?

Patrick Masse: I don't agree; being openly gay as a country artist, I see all walks of life at my shows and country music is like POP music these days, so mainstream. I think if you feel this way then you don't know much about country music fans. I would suggest going to a country concert, you just might be surprised at the type of fans you see there. Country music for the most part is about real life issues, I think that most people can relate to that.

Scott Wood: In person, you look like you would be right at home at the Calgary Stampede. Do you ever feel pressure to glam it up? Rhinestone belts? Pink cowboy hats?

Patrick Masse: Funny you say that a friend right now thinks I should do that. I have nothing against it, but it is just not me. To be confident, I need to be who I am. I am drawn to people like that, and I think that most people are too. I don't think I could be the Lady Gaga of country music, if that is what y - !earshot


Album: Mend the Man
Released: September 09, 2009
Track listing:
1. Everybody Likes to Be Loved
2. Unloved
3. Give the Devil One
4. Put Love First
5. You're Not Alone
6. Let Me Go
7. Mend the Man
8. Don't Go Starting Something
9. Only Three
10. Something's Telling Me




For decades, the men and women of Canada’s country music industry have mirrored the history and culture of this great nation. From artists like Hank Snow in the 1950’s through to George Canyon in the 2000s, each have had a profound effect with live performances, radio play and television appearances building scores of fans one at a time. Although the Canadian country music industry has changed and will continue to do so, one constant that remains is the welcoming of new artists and their storytelling songwriting skills. Enter Patrick Masse – with a twinkle in his eye, country boy charm and the soulful voice of a crooner, Patrick is “A Traditional Yet Refreshing Brand of Country.”

“After playing for years with artists such as Tracy Lawrence, Dierks Bentley and Aaron Tippin, I can say without a doubt that Patrick Masse is the real deal..... his voice is what true country is about, with emotion, conviction and unique style. His writing is that of a truly great songwriter; Patrick is the kind of star that country music needs more of.”
Ward Stout, Fiddler, Singer, Songwriter

Growing up in Vancouver, surrounded by six siblings, Patrick’s parents recognized and nourished the spirit that music inspired in him. His exposure to old country with the likes of Merle Haggard, Don Williams and The Oakridge Boys occurred early. The Everly Brothers PBS Special was a family favourite as was dancing on Friday and Saturday nights while the record player was on. Although Anne Murray, and Wynonna Judd entered the mix, dad often snuck in tunes from the Mamas and Papas as well as The Eagles, “Peaceful, Easy Feeling”.

From grade school through to high school Patrick’s music immersion contributed enormously to his confidence. Knowing that his dyslexia set him separate and apart from those around him, Patrick remained unshakeable in the fact that he loved to entertain and would be doing so in the years ahead. Appearing around Vancouver at different songwriter's gatherings and live music venues in the mid 90’s, Patrick, through an association with songwriter Sandy Dunkley, was introduced to the Nashville Songwriters Association, where he began playing showcases at The BC Songwriters Showcases. His association with Dunkley also introduced Patrick to Mel Shaw, the Founding President of CARAS (Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) who later went on to co-produce Patrick’s first CD.

As time marched on, Patrick’s talent continued to unfold, aligning him with some of the best in the music business. Friendships emerged and remain with multi award winner, Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Beverly Delich (Michael Buble), and Sandy Dunkley to name but a few. The support of each contributed to Patrick’s current and new CD, MEND THE MAN – a collection of smooth ballads and inspirational tracks all woven together with an underlying theme, that “nothing worth having comes easy.”

While Patrick’s memory bank contains a nomination for the Ray McAuley Memorial "Horizon" Award at the BCCMA Awards and radio airplay north and south of the border, his present continues to garner significant media coverage surrounding the Calgary Stampede and feature performances at The Big Rock Outdoor Festival. At ease in songwriting, performing or raising awareness for dyslexia, Patrick’s future is filled with a bevy of his own personal philosophies, “Happiness is measured by one’s self. Don’t hurry, but don’t wait.”

If MEND THE MAN is any indication as to the future of Patrick Masse, Nashville and beyond are in for a huge treat.