Brian Falduto is best known as “that gay kid from School of Rock,” but he’s also a country music artist and LGBT life coach. On Tuesday, Falduto released “God Loves Me Too,” his new single that conveys a powerful message of self-acceptance and love.
Although he didn’t realize he was gay back when making School Falduto says, “I knew I was different but I thought it was a good thing because it landed me a movie role. I thought I was special for lack of a better word. Other people made sure to let me know that I was just gay and that it wasn’t something to be proud of and in fact, that I should change to blend in.”
Recently named “one of the 20 most influential, outspoken, and optimistic individuals on the planet” by PrideLife Magazine, Falduto came into prominence playing the aforementioned role of Billy, Jack Black’s sassy stylist in the cult classic film, School of Rock. His participation in the film had a major impact on his coming of age, labeling him “that gay kid from School of Rock” before he was ever able to consider his sexuality on his own. His peers chastised him for his role in the film and the way he carried himself. Without the proper guidance to just be himself, Brian retreated into the closet for a number of years.
In an essay in The Advocate in 2018, Falduto said of that time, “Times were different when I was a kid. Believe it or not, in a private Catholic school in suburban New Jersey, it was not cool to be labeled gay. Not only was it uncool, being called gay was meant to be insulting. Because of my role in the film (as well as the way I carried myself, lesbi-honest), I was labeled gay. I didn’t know why my tendencies were considered wrong, but I just knew that I was meant to change. My voice was meant to drop, and I was meant to get a girl to go to the school dance with me. The former of which is still fluctuating day to day, frankly, but don’t worry — I had plenty of takers on the latter.”
Falduto says, “I wrote this song a little over a year ago after several visits to the Hollywood United Methodist church, a beautifully inclusive community,” said Falduto. “It was there that I witnessed a love so expansive and unlike anything I ever thought I’d get to be a part of. One Sunday, it dawned on me that there are countless LGBTQ youth who don’t know that communities like this will one day be an option for them. We do not have to earn love and acceptance —we simply have to exist.”
“As the first national Christian organization dedicated to empowering youth to proudly embrace both their faith and their queer identity, we are thrilled to partner with Brian Falduto and adopt his inspiring new single, ‘God Loves Me Too’ as our organization’s official anthem,” says Beloved Arise Founder and Director, Jun Love Young.
As an adult, Falduto has returned to church and sometimes goes there on Sundays just to feel the nostalgia and to witness an inclusive church environment, “Because it’s so unlike anything I ever thought I’d get to be a part of. And then I remembered there are still LGBTQ youth out there who are struggling with the topic of religion and don’t know that communities like this will one day be an option for them. This song contains a very important message for them. We do not have to earn love and acceptance, we simply have to exist.”
Falduto says, “Music has always been a very strong part of my life. Singing in the children’s church choir and also singing lessons were in my life long before I auditioned for School of Rock. I actually had to sing for that audition funnily enough. Musical theatre ended up being the easiest space to combine the two — acting and music — and I did that up until a few years out of college. It’s having something to say that has brought me more into the music lane. Sure, I could write screenplays or scripts but I wrote a short once and I didn’t get much joy from it. Writing music is my therapy. It’s how I translate experiences in a lot of ways honestly. And it brings me a lot of joy to have that outlet.”
Falduto says writing music was the first time he ever took something real and honest and put it out into the world unfiltered and how it led to his life coaching, “When I did that, I discovered the power of really honoring myself and even more so, the power of sharing myself. That’s what I do with my coaching more or less. I help people discover themselves — which is usually a healing process of removing all the stories they’ve told themselves about themselves over the years and replacing them with narratives that better serve them.”
He adds, “Current events have highlighted further that those facing racial injustice have had to fight for the love and acceptance of society despite their inherent worthiness of those things. As I say in the song, we wait our whole lives for these truths and America is facing a harsh truth right now. God loves everyone and we need to do more to make sure everyone is treated as such.”
On that note I ask Falduto what would you say to someone who’s been having a hard time these days, especially if they’re LGBT? “Sometimes it’s the hardest thing to do but I do believe it might be the easiest immediate solution: reach out. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is that we are not alone in how we feel. If something is truthful for you, it is truthful for someone else. That’s sort of the entire point of this song, ‘God Loves Me Too.’ I’m not making a big religious statement. I’m not expecting to change the world. I just want the queer youth that are sitting in unaccepting church pews to know that I see them. That God sees them. And that they are not alone.”
Falduto will perform the single live on June 30, 2020 for Beloved Arise’s Queer Youth of Faith Day (#QYFDAY), a virtual celebration of LGBTQ+ youth from all faith traditions. For more information on the event, visit their site here.
Watch the video below.
“God Loves Me Too” was made possible in part by Falduto’s School of Rock co-star, Jack Black; director, Richard Linklater, and producer, Scott Rudin. The messaging in the music and music video have been approved and endorsed by GLAAD, an organization dedicated to promoting LGBTQ+ equality in the media. Additional support was provided by a wide array of LGBTQ+ organizations, including The Trevor Project, the OUT Foundation, Mama Bears, Our Bible App, and others.
The music video for “God Loves Me Too” was directed by Rachel Borders and was filmed at Christ Church in NYC. John Michael Pietra, who appeared in the National Tour of School of Rock the Musical in the role of “Billy” (the role made famous by Falduto in the film) plays the younger version of Brian in the music video.
Follow Falduto on Instagram.
And visit his website for updates here.