Becomes First Out Transgender Musician to Progress to Judges’ Cuts
The third time is a charm for Brody Ray, a transgender singer/songwriter. After auditioning for American Idol and The Voice, the outgoing country singer from Kearney, Nebraska finally advanced to the live auditions of America’s Got Talent and earned four “yeses” from judges Simon Cowell, Mel B, Howie Mandel, and Heidi Klum, making him the first-ever out transgender musician to advance on the reality show. Brody Ray performed a powerful rendition of the song “Stand in The Light” by Jordan Smith.
“The judges, producers, staff, directors and camera crew of America’s Got Talent are some of the most amazing people I’ve had the honor to work with,” states Ray. “They were so kind and respectful to me, my family and my story. They gave me an opportunity and a platform to share my talents and reach a bigger audience than ever before.”
Ray was recently voted off the show, but is hard at work in Nashville recording a new EP of original material.
“I couldn’t be more grateful to have had such a successful and emotional first performance and to meet and make such an impactful connection with Simon, Heidi, Mel B and Howie. Their responses made me feel really validated for all the hard work and many years of struggle and overcoming. In that moment it felt like everything had come full circle.”
Brody has launched a GoFundMe page to help pay for his upcoming project. “I believe this is important, not for me, but for the entire LGBT community. Being able to perform on AGT was such a thrill for me, I hate that it was overshadowed by hatred. I hope my voice can be heard and hope that all transgender people continue to follow their dreams.”
Over the past few years, Brody Ray has crisscrossed North America, performing at pride festivals throughout the United States and Canada including: Palm Springs Pride, Ottawa Pride, Milwaukee PrideFest, Rainbow Pride in Spokane WA, and Mid-South Pride in Memphis, TN. He is scheduled to perform at Atlanta Pride in October.
For more information, visit http://www.brodyray.com/
About Brody Ray
Ever since Brody could remember, music has played a major role in his life. Brody learned his first guitar strum pattern from his mother and started taking guitar and cello lessons at age 8. Brody’s parents supported him in many ways. Brody was assigned female at birth, but as a yound toddler, he knew that his body didn’t match what he felt on the inside. Brody’s mother remembers him jumping around in diapers and cowboy boots with a guitar singing at the top of his lungs, and kicking the back of her seat in the McDonald’s drive-thru until he got the boy toy in his happy meal.
As Brody got older his love for music grew, as did his desire to become the man he always felt he was on the inside. He worked towards a music business degree at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, but after 3 and a half years he knew that it was time to make some serious changes in his life if he was ever going to be happy. Brody dropped out a semester before graduating and started his medical transition to male while focusing on making his dreams of being a performer a reality. During this process, Brody appeared in a TLC series called Strange Sex, where he shared some of the details of his transition and how it affected the people in his life.
Shortly after the airing of the episode, Brody’s voice dropped to a lower register, as all male voices do. Brody worked day and night re-learning how to sing with his new deeper voice. He then auditioned for American Idol, making it through 4 auditions and earning a chance to sing in front of the celebrity judges, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson. Over the last several years, Brody worked with various bands, writing and recording music, giving him the confidence to keep auditioning anywhere he could. Brody auditioned for The Voice and made it to the Blind Auditions for season 7 with Craig Wayne Boyd and Danika Shirey but was unable to make it to LA; then for American Idol again singing for Jennifer, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr.
Brody also speaks, advocates and educates for the LGBTQ community, sharing his stories as a transgender man. He speaks on college campuses, for law reviews in South Dakota, counseling conferences across Nebraska, and for local TV and newspapers.