Lesbian singer to perform Friday at Anthology
MIAMI – Beverly McClellan, who found herself as a finalist on NBC’s “The Voice,” will visit San Diego for the first time this Friday. The soulful rock singer who calls herself a “late bloomer” (McClellan was the oldest contestant on the show) is looking forward to coming to town, especially to see all of the roses that adorn our city.
“You all have just about as many roses out there as we have palm trees,” McClellan said from her home in Florida, most likely not realizing that San Diego has quite an abundance of palm trees, too.
Hailing from Kingsport, Tenn., McClellan spoke with San Diego Gay & Lesbian News with her Southern drawl and down-to-earth personality.
“Where I’m from, there are five churches and no hospital,” said McClellan, who often tells people she is from Tennessee and Virginia since her parents had to drive into a neighboring town to reach the hospital when she was born.
This small country-town girl said that ending up on a television show such as "The Voice" was not something she ever believed would happen.
“Never in my wildest dreams,” McClellan said of her thoughts on being selected to compete on the show.
McClellan said that ending up on the show was a “fluke,” as she had just recorded an album at a studio in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“At the urging of the guy who recorded me, I sent in a YouTube video of myself, [producers] called within an hour, I went down to Miami Beach where the interviews were held, broke a couple of guitar strings at the audition, and they wanted me to come do it again,” McClellan said of her fairly rapid selection for the show.
“The next day, they had $40,000 cameras in my face and I was going to Hollywood!”
McClellan said that while on the show, she was so pleased to have been teamed up with judge Christina Aguilera.
“[Aguilera] is fierce! At the end of the day, she is the realest one there,” said McClelllan, who initially did not think she would have much in common with a “girly-girl” like Aguilera.
“I learned so much from Christina. She taught me exactly what the thing was that I was doing with my vocals, and now I know different ways of controlling it,” McClellan said. “She gave me little insights on taking care of my vocals.”
McClellan admits she is not perfect, though, and does not follow all of Aguilera’s advice.
“I don’t listen as much as I should – I smoke cigarettes and am hard on myself, but God will tell me when it’s time.”
McClellan, who identifies as a lesbian, spent a considerable amount of time speaking about how committed she is to being herself in public and advocating for those who may be perceived as different. She says it is music that drives her to be who she is.
“I was totally a musician before I even knew what gay was – music is a universal,” said McClellan, who has pledged to never let anything change her, noting that she wrote her single “I Can’t Hide Me” on the day she found out she was going to Hollywood.
McClellan said that she has received floods of letters and met “tons” of fans who have told her that she has changed their lives.
“When I played Atlanta Pride there were lines three-and-a-half hours long of people who wanted to thank me,” McClellan said of her performance there this summer.
“Growing up I had female role models like Joan Jett, Heart and Pat Benatar. These women weren’t necessarily gay, but they were strong! None of them would have not been themselves no matter what their sexuality. I learned from them that it’s OK to be different – it does not matter as long you are living your truth. God is love – he didn’t make a mistake on any of us!”
Of those who might admonish the gay community, such as the “Bible thumpers,” McClellan says that it is our job to show them unconditional love. “They didn’t get this burden to bear, so they will never understand what it’s like. All we can do is give them love.”
Besides, McClellan said, America “spoke loud and clear” when they voted for the LGBT finalists such as Vicci Martinez and Tyler Robinson, who came out to his family while on the show.
As she prepares for her performance in San Diego, McClellan thinks she’ll “fall in love with the place,” saying that most people fall in love with anything connected to California. With McClellan, it is all about love, and she hopes its shines through her music to her fans.
McClellan will perform Friday, Nov. 25, at 9:30 pm at Anthology, 1337 India St. in Little Italy.
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