Singing Out For Gay Rights
Tony Lucca, Michigan-Born Finalist Of 'The Voice,' On Being An Ally
By Jerome Stuart Nichols
Originally printed 5/29/2014 (Issue 2222 - Between The Lines News)
Talking to Tony Lucca, it's clear he has his head on straight. Though the Pontiac-born musician was a finalist during the second season of "The Voice," he hasn't been jaded by fame. He's still a family man, and he's still standing up for what he believes in.
So much so that Lucca, who recently moved to Nashville, is returning to Michigan to perform at 7:40 p.m. May 31 during Ferndale Pride.
Born to a family populated by more instruments than humans, it was almost inevitable that Lucca would find himself rolling out a few melodies. Before he'd even hit his teen years, he was already careening toward his musical destiny.
"By fourth or fifth grade we were getting up with our guitars and taking a crack at it. We started putting bands together as early as sixth grade, hiring and firing drummers and bass players. You know, taking it seriously," Lucca says, laughing. "Certainly by junior high there was no looking back."
At 15, he was cast in "The All-New Mickey Mouse Club" alongside Keri Russell, JC Chasez, Christina Aguilera, Ryan Gosling, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears.
"That was an explosion for me, career-wise," Lucca recalls. "That took me to a whole other stratosphere of potential. I realized this was something I could really do for a living for the rest of my life."
After his run on "The All-New Mickey Mouse Club" came to a close in 1995, Lucca did just that. Between 1997 and 2013 he released nine studio albums, one live disc and seven EPs.
In 2012, he was reunited with "MMC" cast member Christina Aguilera when he competed in the second season of NBC's hit sing-off "The Voice." While he didn't win, he ended up coming in second place, getting a record deal, gaining a multitude of new fans and starting a new chapter in his career.
"It really felt like I was made for that opportunity," he says. "I was familiar with a lot of that terrain going in: the cameras and the press and the interviews and how to really connect to a song, how to give a really compelling performance. That's what I've been doing my whole life."
Lucca's next move is to finish his upcoming Kickstarter-funded album, which is tentatively due out in October. Right now he's in the very early pre-production stages but has a solid idea of where he's headed.
"It's coming out extremely eclectic," he says. "I shied away from that for many years, but I feel like it's more interesting."
More immediately, he's concerned with his performance at Ferndale Pride. While West Hollywood had the pleasure of popping his Pride cherry, this will be his first time taking the stage.
Like many handsome, sometimes-bearded singers, Lucca has his fair share of gay fans. But his connection to the gay community started with his family members, most notably his mother.
"My mom was really wonderful with my sister and I when we were kids, teaching us how to live and love without prejudice," he says. "She went out of her way to introduce us to folks from diverse walks of life."
Those are lessons that he's carried with him his entire life. As an adult he's taken part in the NOH8 campaign and speaks proudly about his support for gay rights.
"I support gay rights because I feel like it's no different than any other chapter in history that we look back at now and shake our heads at how ridiculous life was, like before black and white people could marry or before women could vote."
With his strong views on equality for all people, he's making sure that he teaches his children the same values.
"It's never too early to walk them through those topics and ideas," Lucca says. "My wife and I have always tried to introduce things in a way that there's nothing strange about the things we believe in. My kids understand that love is a wonderful thing."
7:40 p.m. May 31
Woodward and Nine Mile, Ferndale
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A study published in the journal The Lancet HIV reports that there is a significant disparity in HIV prevalence between black and white men who have sex with men. The study was published on Nov. 18 and found a startling 32 percent prevalence rate for black men who have sex with men, compared with only eight percent for white men who have sex with men.View More World AIDS Day
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