Gay Christian singing duo Jason & deMarco, who were recently featured on the cover of the Advocate, will be performing in Salt Lake City at the Off Broadway Theatre on Feb. 24. The couple recently welcomed two twin boys into their lives and now they’re launching their Celebrating Families and Diversity tour.
We caught up with the duo to find out what they’ve been up to lately and what fans can expect at their upcoming show. For tickets, go to jasonanddemarco.com.
How did you make the decision to expand your family and how has that affected your career?
deMarco: After being together for about five years, Jason and I talked about what was next. We had dedicated our lives to our music careers and felt it was now time to do something really meaningful for ourselves and our future, not our careers. We had talked about the possibility of having kids but never knew how it would fit in to our touring. After specific key experiences and chance encounters with other people, we began the process of our greatest endeavor together; the most ordinary and extraordinary thing we’ve ever done; bring two biological babies into this world. I say “ordinary” because everyone does it, and I say “extraordinary” because it is such a “big” thing to do, not to mention, for two men that cannot make a baby together in the conventional way, but not for lack of trying.
Jason: We knew this decision would affect our career and really didn’t plan on traveling. I had ventured in to running our non-profit working with GLBTQ foster youth and deMarco had begun a health and wellness business. However, people kept calling wanting to book, so we committed to going out one weekend per month. My parents relocated to Houston shortly after the boys were born and they agreed to watch the boys at our home when we traveled. Doing this for the first year didn’t seem to bother the boys, but it was around one-year-old that we noticed our leaving was disrupting their routine, that they were really not handling our leaving well, and quite honestly, neither were we! That was part of the creation behind this tour; figuring out a way to still do what we love to do and bring the family with us. The boys and my folks will join us and we’ll be living and touring on our RV Tour Bus for 35 days. It will be an experience.
What can QSaltLake readers expect at your upcoming show?
Jason: Our show in Salt Lake will be at the Off Broadway Theater which seats around 200 people. We will be doing all of our original mainstream material, which is pop/folk in style. Although we do have a large Contemporary Christian fan base, we have recorded several mainstream CDs and have actually had more success in our mainstream career. The only venues we will be singing our Contemporary Christian material will be churches along our tour. All ticketed events will be our mainstream material.
deMarco: We’ve had hit-singles on the Billboard charts, played in Abercrombie stores world-wide, a documentary-film on Showtime and Logo, and won music video of the year on Logo in 2006. We have a large mainstream following and hope they will all come out to support the event. The evening will be a mixture of great music, stories, fun and hopefully a few special guests sharing their stories as well.
Have you been to Utah before? What do you remember about it?
deMarco: Yes. We have performed several times. We came a few years ago, believe it or not, to perform and speak at a gay Mormon event. It was for a group of Mormon’s who had reconciled their sexuality with their faith. We did a concert and met some great people. We also toured the Utah Pride Center and they provided a wealth of information to us while getting our own non-profit, S.A.F.E., up and running.
Jason: When deciding where to go on the tour, Salt Lake, quite honestly, was somewhat out of the way. However, we really felt we were supposed to make this event happen and offer it to the Salt Lake community. It could be a powerful way for the community to see how many non-traditional families live in the area and hopefully families will connect with one another. This doesn’t have to be families with kids. A family can consist of many variations, and that is the entire point of the tour; to celebrate these different families and come together for a great evening of music.
What are the biggest challenges you face in the Christian music industry?
Jason: I guess I don’t feel we face any challenges because we aren’t part of the Christian music industry. They’ve never let us in and that in and of itself is the biggest challenge. There’s no room for an openly gay couple in the Christian music industry, so we’ve had to pave our own way and make our own industry. When it comes down to it, I think we have always considered ourselves inspirational singers more than Christian singers. The word ‘Christian’ has a lot of baggage, unfortunately.
Have you seen any change in the environment for LGBT Christians? How do you think it will be in 10 or 20 years?
deMarco: Again, it’s hard to single out LGBT Christians. I think the LGBT community at large has seen huge changes in the past 10 years of our touring together. We now have a President who supports gay marriage. Several states have approved gay marriage. Several states allow gay couples to adopt and foster. I think our society is realizing that someone’s personal spiritual beliefs cannot dictate social justice. “Libery and justice for all.” Freedom is freedom, period. All means all, period.
Jason: I think many in the ‘church’ are waking up and realizing that they have no right to tell others what they should and shouldn’t be able to do, legally, based on what they believe rather than a constitutional right. I think we’re seeing more and more people, Christian or not, be more open-minded and less judgmental. Hopefully over the next 10 to 20 years people will look back at the issues that the LGBT community face the same way we look back at African Americans having to drink from a separate water fountain. In one generation we went from that to having an African-American President. We know people can change — we’ve seen it happen.