Singer/songwriter Kyle Motsinger discussed with Options his latest single, Bad Years, and how he dreams of a future that leaves those days behind.
The bad years can only get you down if you let them. Kyle Motsinger’s new single, Bad Years, imagines a world where we can put everything behind us. Motsinger’s right – the last few years have sucked! Yet, they don’t have to get us down, at least not for long. Options talked about Bad Years with Motsinger, the emotions behind the lyrics, being very openly gay, and what’s next.
Kyle Motsinger is an independent artist born in Peoria, Indiana, a small conservative town. He’s got a background in theater, including some school productions and community theater as a youth and in college. He’s even performed in some Off-Broadway productions like Fancy Nancy the Musical. Motsinger has previously released two full-length albums and six singles. Creating art as an independent artist isn’t an easy road to take, but it’s one that Motsinger doesn’t shy away from. He’s someone with a dream that he will go after no matter how many bad years are ahead.
Listening to Bad Years, one hears a song with serious verses set to a touching melody and lifts you up with an inspiring chorus. The lyrics drum up strong emotions. Motsinger sings about doomsday clocks, and how we “don’t need to list the dreary details, we’re all painfully aware,” and asks if there is any hope left – yet also “dreams of a future where we’ll say those were the bad years.” Motsinger told Options “it was a lot of things, both personally and globally, that had been on my mind for so long, and to be able to focus that into a four-minute song was really cathartic.”
The lyrics are personal but relatable. We’re all going through (or trying to get through) our own bad years while existing in the world around us. This writer too “dreams of a future where we’ll say, those were the bad years.” Sometimes it’s that dream that keeps us going. It’s all about looking forward to the good years.
As a very out and very openly gay man, this has had influences on Motsinger’s music and personal style. He informed me that he is sometimes asked to change the pronouns in his music, but that’s a big NO. Motsinger always wants to be his authentic self, including writing music that sometimes focuses on the love between two men, saying “I think it’s important to be visible.” Motsinger lists Rufus Wainwright as someone who inspires him to be visible. If he can be what Wainwright is to him, to someone else, it will all be worth it.
Motsinger’s website is truly an iconic look into who he is. It’s bright, inviting, happy, and honest. It draws you in and makes you want to look further, so far that you forget about any bad years. As an independent artist, it is especially important to be authentic and visible. Many indie artists raise the money themselves to do music. What does Kyle Motsinger want Options readers to know about independent artists? First and foremost, many of them pay for their costs out of pocket so it can get difficult sometimes. The best ways to support are streaming and buying their music, sharing and promoting their work on social media, and just making sure to show up for them. Many of us don’t know what it’s like to be an independent artist, especially one in the LGBTQ community.
“It’s been challenging with daily obstacles like waking up to find my bank account overdrawn and having to call mom and dad for grocery money,” Motsinger admits. “Or promoting a show at the venue, I always dreamed of playing, to only have one friend show up. It can be pretty humiliating and soul-crushing. You start to wonder if anyone cares or if you are even talented.”
Support the community and support your friends by buying their work, so they can continue to fund their dreams. Not many artists have the same platform as the Sam Smiths and Adam Lamberts of the entertainment industry. There are many indie LGBTQ artists that we don’t know about. Motsinger was kind enough to share some names with me: Tom Goss, Bright Light Bright Light, and Homer Marrs, to name a few.
In general, indie artists don’t receive the press that will help catapult them to bigger audiences. This is why it is so important to show up. Those artists are out there but don’t often have the resources to get to a studio and record. How can we help? We can donate our time and our music. We can fill seats at their shows, we can promote those shows and get other people to fill those seats. Motsinger and all of the other independent LGBTQ artists deserve their time to shine, and their time is coming.
What can we expect to hear next from Kyle Motsinger after Bad Years? Currently, he’s working on nine songs with the music but is waiting for the beautiful vocals to complete them. Life tends to get in the way, but Motsinger doesn’t seem like the type to rush a project. He seems very proud and dedicated to his craft, which means when the music is ready, we will all be able to enjoy it. When it does arrive, of course, don’t forget to support support support.