Although several boy bands in the past have had one of its members come out as gay at some point (Jonathan Knight of New Kids on the Block, Lance Bass of *NSYNC), there has never been one that has truly consisted of five openly gay men in one band… until now.
Jay, Mike, Randy, Devin and Gama are Echo V, five guys with distinct, echoing voices that combine to create one beautiful sound. By all outward appearances, they seem to be the typical boy band with good looks, lush harmonies and killer choreography, but they have one important difference: they’re all gay. Their debut single, “Rainbow,” reflects their decision to be out about their sexuality. While it is a fun, high energy pop anthem with an explosive hook that will get listeners dancing and singing, it also has an important message. “Be proud,” explained Jay. “Our hope is that the song inspires people to stand up and claim their truth, be happy with who they are and find comfort in the fact that they are not alone.”
“The narrative in ‘Rainbow’ is personal,” Jay continued from the Los Angeles studio where the band recorded the song. “It kind of came from a place deep within that was filled with despair and even frustration. The first few lines of the song are about finding yourself. It then continues with how the struggle to conform to society’s standards can be harmful to some. In the second verse, there is a moment of acceptance and defiance where we come to terms with how this one life is for us and not for them.”
“Rainbow is about unapologetically owning your multifaceted-ness and realizing that you have to live for yourself. It’s a journey to self-discovery and the strength it takes to live life in the open, day in and out.”
Part of what the boys of Echo V are hoping to break is the stereotype that being an out, gay musician is a nail in the coffin of an artist’s career. In 2018, the entertainment industry is more vibrant than ever with the mainstream success of television shows like Queer Eye and RuPaul’s Drag Race; but there is still progress to be made, especially in the music arena. “We hope our album can be enjoyed by all regardless of age, gender, sexuality or race because art and creation is universal,” says Mike.
Mike helped to conceptualize the music video for “Rainbow,” along with videographer Chris Greenwell and editor Adam Amore. They drew inspiration from The Wizard of Oz in terms of color scheme and the switch from black and white to color. (Sharp listeners will notice the lyrics of the song also draw inspiration from The Wizard of Oz.) The video cuts back and forth between Echo V singing and real people of all different shapes, sizes and colors marching in Pride parades. Mike felt it important that the video show the personalities of each boy in the band but also show something bigger than ECHO V: the diverse world around us.
“It seemed only fitting that a song called ‘Rainbow’ show a rainbow of people,” he explained.
ECHO V’s “Rainbow” is available via the band’s website.