Do You Believe in Travis Garland?

A week after his American Idol performance, Perez Hilton’s latest protégé sounds off on Justin Timberlake comparisons, his Glee connection, and closeted boy banders.

BY Brandon Voss

May 27 2010 8:10 AM ET

You grew up as a good Christian boy in Lubbock, Texas. What was your first exposure to gay people?
I was in choir, and this guy in choir, a friend of mine, came out. But I was always just raised to love everyone equally and to not judge based on someone’s sexuality, race, or whatever.

And now you’re working with Perez Hilton, one of the biggest gay personalities in the world.
Well, a lot of my friends are gay. People who are prejudiced maybe can’t understand how a straight man can be friends with gay guys, but I don’t look at them any different than my straight friends. People are people.

How exactly does your partnership with Perez work?
Basically, Perez has a label deal with Interscope. I’m an Interscope artist, but I’m also on Perez’s label [Perezcious Music] through Interscope. So that’s the way that works.

What’s it like to work with him?
It’s awesome. He’s always full of really good ideas. He’ll email me 10 times a day, like, “What do you think of this? What do you think about that?” We’re constantly having conversations about performances, songs, and anything creative. It’s a pleasure to work with him.

Perez has a great ear for talent and a terrific platform, but he also has plenty of haters and enemies out there. Were you worried about any potential backlash from getting involved with him?
I feel really grateful to be working with Perez, actually. He helps me by posting my stuff on his site, exposing it to millions of people who haven’t heard about my music, and without him I wouldn’t have performed on American Idol. But hopefully people will just take the music for what it is and accept me as an artist.

Perez has said that he wanted to work with you because you were an authentic artist and not just some manufactured pop act. How important is it in today’s music industry for performers to play an instrument and write their own music?
I think it makes all the difference in the world if you’re writing your own songs as opposed to letting someone else write them for you. To grow as an artist and as a creative person, you have to develop your craft. Whether it’s songwriting, playing the piano, or singing, I always try to push myself to do better and better every day. I feel like people can respect that in an artist.

Perez said that he was also attracted to you because you were “young and hot.” How important is that?
Well, it’s great if people think I’m attractive or whatever, but hopefully people focus on the music and appreciate that.

But how much time do you spend on your hair and at the gym?
I don’t spend that long on my hair, but I am always in the gym working out.
Tags: Music

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