Watch Brandon Stansell’s Heartwrenching Acoustic ‘Hurt People’ Performance [Exclusive Video]
Rising artist Brandon Stansell reveals the heartbreaking way hurt travels in his song "Hurt People." An acoustic rendition of the track, premiering exclusively on The Boot, harnesses the lyrics' personal pain into a simple, gorgeous performance.
Bathed in a deep purple light, Stansell accompanies himself on acoustic guitar as he sings of his mother: a woman "raised in a little house / Right on the Georgia line / Middle of the three to a mother who drank / Way too much sometimes." She left home at 18 "for a different kind of life" and "fell for somebody with some Southern charm;" they got married, had children ... and "got used to the way they'd fight."
"So the cycle keeps going / And now it’s his heart that’s broken," Stansell sings.
Later verses reveal a son shunned by his parents: "I knew they wouldn't understand, but I told them anyway ... My daddy said I want you to know that we're not proud of you / So I left home all on my own." It's Stansell's own experience coming out as gay to his parents a decade ago.
"You can hide your scars, ignore your pain / But it all comes out in other ways / And you don’t know when, so you’re living on pins and needles," Stansell sings in the chorus, the painful story coming to its greater message: "So we do our best getting through our days / But deep down, it feels like were all the same / Nobody’s good, nobody’s evil / But hurt people hurt people."
"I've always connected with country music for its storytelling, but for the LGBTQI+ community — we are often told not to tell our story," Stansell tells People. "Though I don't believe a person has to be queer to find themselves in the lyrics of this song ... I hope this song provides listeners of the genre a sense of representation that they may not often experience."
Sansell views "Hurt People" as part of a greater shift in the country music landscape. "With recent No. 1s from Gabby Barrett and Ingrid Andress, women are finally back on the charts. Mickey Guyton is challenging us on racial and gender inequities with every song she releases," he details.
"Different stories are being told. Different voices are finally being heard," Stansell tells The Boot. ""Hurt People" is one of those stories."
10 Essential Albums for Your Country Music Education