Fangirlish had a chance to chat exclusively with Brian Falduto. You might know Brian from the movie School of Rock, in which he played Billy. The film broke box-office records and led to the 2015 Broadway Musical as well as a Nickelodeon series.
Brian was named as PrideLife Magazine’s 20 most influential, outspoken, and optimistic individuals on the planet in their 20th Anniversary #20intheir20s issue.
After the release of School of Rock, Brian garnered headlines in March 2018 through a commentary piece he wrote for Advocate regarding the struggle he had in coming out as gay immediately following the release of “School of Rock” and has since then added singer songwriter and I.C.F. certified life coach to his roster.
His debut, acoustic EP, “Love One Another” was released on June 13, 2017 and within 24 hours hit #94 on the US iTunes Singer-Songwriter charts. By the end of the week, it was #64 on this same chart in the UK and #31 for overall album sales on iTunes in Norway. He has also devoted time partnering with various non-profits including The Trevor Project, H.D.S.A. (Huntington’s Disease Society of America), S.A.G.E. (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders), and H.E.A.R.T. (Help Educate At Risk Teens Foundation), all causes are dear to his heart.
Pride Month 2018 brought more opportunities for Brian to continue his advocacy for the LGBTQ community with Broadway Sings for Pride at their 8th annual star-studded benefit concert and through his own efforts organizing the 1st ever NYC Pride Week LGBT Songwriter’s Night in support of The Trevor Project.
Brian’s 1st studio album “Stage Two” is out now featuring the lead single, “Rainy Day.” He is currently in the process of putting together his first ever music video for an upcoming single. He also looks forward to the release of the wrapped web series, Fishing, in which he stars as Benji.
How has playing Billy from School of Rock impacted you in your love of music? Did it influence it in any way or was music something you always wanted to pursue?
SOR was obviously a very impactful movie as far as kids picking up instruments and chasing their dreams. And it was an honor to be part of in that respect. I’ve always loved singing and I feel like every word out of my mouth was a performance back when I was a kid because of how obnoxiously/wonderfully outgoing I was. I was pretty focused on acting and musical theatre growing up. So the hobbies were there with or without SOR but being part of SOR had a magical effect in it’s own way. I don’t think the ambitious drive or creative energy that came from being a part of that experience has ever left me. It definitely increased my passion.
Your article in Advocate received a lot of attention and allowed you to share part of your journey of self-discovery. I feel like a lot of people in the LGBTQ+ community have not had the same type of openness that exists today, even if we still have a long way to go. What do you believe needs to change further to allow for a more accepting reception from the world?
That’s a complicated question because I’m not sure what’s going to change people .. especially the people who don’t want to be changed. But as someone part of the community, I feel it is my responsibility to both educate myself on gay culture and gay history and also to love myself fully and share that love authentically with the world. I think that internal journey of working towards a wholehearted existence with or without the approval of others will eventually result in them coming along for the ride, perhaps even eagerly. And when it doesn’t, then sometimes we will need to defend or fight for our rights but I do think the initial responsibility falls on us making sure that we have love for ourselves and for others.
You do work with non-profits, what does it mean to you to be able to reach out to people and connect with them?
Oh gosh, connection is my main driving force! As an artist I get to share my story and connect with people through it. As a coach, I get to help others do the same. I think connecting is what we’re here to do and I love the opportunities I’ve been given to do so.
You have also worn a lot of different hats, actor, singer songwriter, activist, life-coach to name a few. Is there one that brings you the most joy and fulfillment above the others?
Oh that’s a good one! I mean, not really. They’re all a bit connected and more or less involve the aspect of storytelling. But one of the most fulfilling aspects of what I do is writing a song and playing it for someone for the first time. That moment where I get to vulnerably share something that’s been truthful for me and find out that it’s actually also something relatable for someone else, that’s priceless.
What inspired you to become a life coach?
My journey to developing a good relationship with myself was a long one. When I finally took those first steps towards it, I felt like the path had been available all along, I just didn’t know how to find it. I became really invested in understanding what that path towards loving yourself looks like, particularly in the queer community, and I decided I wanted to help make it more available to people.
Music has obviously had a large impact in your life. What would you say is the most impactful thing musically for you, you have done so far? What more do you wish to achieve in music?
I think I’m in the midst of my most impactful project! Hopefully! We will be releasing “God Loves Me Too” next month via music video. It contains my most important message to date: we do not have to earn love and acceptance, we are worthy of that just by existing. I know from my work as a coach that there are many queer youth throughout the world that need to hear this song and I hope it gets to them. GLAAD and The Trevor Project, as well as some big names in the biz, have signed on to support our efforts in getting this out. It’s all very exciting!
What is your new web series, Fishing, about?
It’s about cat fishing! I play the best friend of a girl who got cat fished and that discovery turns into this ridiculous, crime-ridden series of events that they have to navigate together. It’s fun!
Where can our audience find you on social media?
Check out Brian’s NowThisNews video about turning his trauma into empowering others!