Recently, we introduced you to Chase Sansing, a 24-year-old country singer living in Nashville, TN.
Chase's song, "Begins with You," was written by Chase as a Pride anthem that celebrates both the LGBT+ community and the freedom to be yourself —qualities that can be hard to find in the country music world.
I got the chance to speak with Chase about his background, his music, the meaning behind "Begins with You," and even gay giraffes (Who knew?). He may have also mentioned that he was single and "happily taking applications."
Tell me a bit about yourself and your background
I am from the small town of Macon, Mississippi. I began singing after attending my first concert on April 18, 2003. That night changed my life because I discovered my passion for music. There was just something about the way music connected strangers that amazed me. I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life, so I began singing in church when I was 9. I started writing my own songs when I was 13. I learned guitar when my parents surprised me with a guitar when I was 15, and when I was 17, I began recording my songs.
In 2013, I moved to Nashville at 20 years old. During that time, I was struggling with trying to become a country music singer and also struggling to become myself.
I knew there was a huge part of me that the audience of country music wouldn't accept. This caused me to have suicidal thoughts/attempts (Which refers to the chorus of the song.) This also caused me to try and change myself to be what others wanted me to be. I remember promising myself that I’d take my secret to the grave with me just to not disappoint my family. I also made an agreement with myself that I’d give up on finding love because I felt like I had to choose between being myself and finding love OR having music. I chose music until I realized I can have both and still be successful.
Why country music?
I never chose country music as my genre of music just like I didn't choose being gay as my sexuality. Country music was just a natural thing in my life and in Mississippi. The thing I loved the most about country music was that it was honest. I always related to that part of it until I realized that most of my life had been a lie kept from my family, friends, and people who listened to my music. Besides that, I have no choice but to sing country music because I’m country and whatever I sing, even if it’s pop, it’s going to be country when I finished with it.
I have recorded several pop/rock songs (Dream On, Wherever You May Go, All By Myself). I have also recorded a Spanish song (Aun Existe Amor) and a French song (S’il Suffisait D’aimer) which are all on Youtube. So yeah, I step outside of country music some times just to step outside of my comfort zone.
Talk to me about “Begins with You.” How did you come up with the idea? What was the writing process like?
I just began writing. I remember writing this song in about 20 minutes. I had just recently come out to the public, and I knew the first thing I was going to do was change the type of songs I sing AND keep them country. I only had one idea about this song before I started it and it was to make it positive as hell.
When I was growing up, there wasn’t much encouragement for people who were like me. Of course there was Ellen Degeneres and Chely Wright, but that was pretty much it.
I had never been to a Pride festival in my life until I moved to Nashville. In fact, the whole time I was living in Mississippi, I never even knew what a Pride festival was. As far as I knew, I was the only kid like me who was “like me.” There weren't any music videos that encouraged gay people to be themselves. I never saw movies about it, and I definitely never heard anyone talk about it. I knew when I came out that, that was what I was going to do with my music, even if it meant destroying my chances at becoming successful.
Country music is about singing the truth and if I’m not singing the truth then I’m not singing country music.
When I wrote this song I didn’t do it to get my name known, I did it to spread the message as far as I can that it’s okay to be yourself. I never received that message when I was a kid so it caused me to struggle. I thought I was different and I thought being different was a bad thing.
My main goal for this song is simple. I hope and pray that it finds its way to some little boy or little girl who was like me when I was a kid and it tells them, when their parents, church, and school won't, that it’s okay to be gay and it’s okay to express their feelings however they want to. My passion in life is to not only play music but it is to inspire and encourage people. I hope this song does that to everyone who needs to hear it especially the younger ones. That is so important to me. I may always be a nobody but if I can say something that I needed to hear as a kid and it gets heard, I feel like I’ve done my job.
I recognize several places in the video. Tell me what it was like to film the video and how you came up with the idea.
I knew as soon as I finished writing that I was going to give everything I had to do it right including professionally recording it and shooting a music video. Once I finished recording the song, it was like a game changer because I could actually hear the song and play out how I wanted the music video. I definitely knew from the beginning that I wanted to song to include others who struggled like I did, so I began traveling to pride festivals. My mom went with me to film the interviews and talk to all the people at the pride festivals. It was a huge moment for me when she decided to go with me. We actually didn’t sleep the entire first day of shooting because I had so much planned for the video. We were up for about whole a day and a half. We filmed in Nashville, Louisville, and Chicago.
Once we got back, I got the Nashville Zoo involved to include the giraffe (Which during the video shoot, I found out that giraffes are the gayest animals in the world!) I chose to include the giraffe because I felt like it added a feel of life to the video. It helps to make people happy. And who doesn’t like giraffes?
Have people been supportive of the song?
Yes, they have. Not a single person has been unsupportive toward the song. My parents and family really enjoy it.
Outside of singing, what do you like to do for fun?
I enjoy adventures. I’m definitely a risk taker. I also enjoy photography and filming. I am actually in the process of starting my own photography/videography business.