Photo by Megan Leigh Barnard

Liner Notes: Trey Pearson

It’s been 8 months since a chance Uber ride with Trey Pearson and (614) Editor-in-Chief Travis Hoewischer kicked off an incredible narrative of hope and courage and led to a globally viral story about the Christian rock star coming out of the closet.

While his story appeared in these pages first, it quickly spread from the Huffington Post to the New York Times to the Guardian to The View, with Pearson becoming an overnight figure in the search for faith and freedom.

Pearson’s whirlwind didn’t stop there. Although the response to his story has been largely positive, it has taken a small toll on his family life as he adjusts to a new reality. His inclusion in a popular Christian music festival also sparked outrage from within the Christian musical community, prompting him to back out so as not to hurt the festival.

Still, Pearson had quite a year. In addition to headlining Columbus Pride, and being tapped to work for the Hillary Clinton campaign, the former frontman for Everyday Sunday—a band he started when he was 16—is now embarking on a new era two decades later with a solo career, and a new single this month (2.10). Before that hits, (614) dropped a few random questions on him:

They say rock stars shouldn’t talk about politics. But in your case, a little different. Do you get overwhelmed by carrying this cross, so to speak—when you just want to make music?

I don’t think so. I’m extremely passionate about making music. I believe music can reach people’s hearts in a way words cannot do on their own… But as I believe it’s important for artists to have something to say, I don’t think it’s that surprising that artists would be passionate about things outside of their music, including politics. Bruce Springsteen is a great example of someone who has been vocal about these things in the past, and of course we have every right to be vocal—as much as anybody.

Since it’s going around, I’ve got to ask you the 10 albums that influenced you as a teenager?

Michael Jackson, Thriller

Third Eye Blind, self-titled

Phil Collins, No Jacket Required

Coldplay, Parachutes

Jars of Clay, self-titled

Weezer, blue album

Green Day, Dookie

Nirvana, Nevermind

Boyz II Men, Cooleyhighharmony

Elton John, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

People in Columbus need to go to one show this month and it can’t be a Trey Pearson show. What’s their national and local option?

The Japanese House

A&R Music Bar (2.21)

Hoo Doo Soul Band

Rumba Café

(Sunday nights);

Leave this decade, and enter a different world—so fun.

What was the first concert you went to? Do you remember being like, I’m gonna do that someday?

The Beach Boys at Cooper Stadium (the old Clippers ballpark)… I had no idea. haha. But it definitely made me fall in love with live music. More significantly, shortly after, I got to go see Billy Joel and Elton John headline the Horseshoe. That is one of the best memories of my life.

What was the first album you ever bought with your own money? First actual “album” I ever owned was when my Uncle Jeff gave me the vinyl single of “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson. I honestly don’t remember the first album I bought with my own money. Probably The Lion King Soundtrack or something [laughs].

How does Trey Pearson’s music differ from Everyday Sunday’s?

I started Everyday Sunday when I was 16. Everyday Sunday went through a lot of changes throughout its own lifespan, from just growing up in front of other people, and figuring out who we wanted to be, to figuring out how to accomplish what we wanted when we hit our first stride with [single] “Wake Up! Wake Up!” I think towards the end of its life, I was starting to reach back to things that had an impact on me growing up, and drawing on those things. I think my solo music represents a little more of the fusion of what has influenced me throughout my life. Lyrically, I’ve had a lot to write about over this last year.