Brian Justin Crum, as seen on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” talks music, TV and Pride

By : Jeremy Williams
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Editor’s note: Orlando’s Come Out With Pride, scheduled for Oct. 8, is postponed due to Hurricane Matthew.

Few acts from NBC’s hit reality competition show America’s Got Talent made the instantaneous impression that powerhouse singer Brian Justin Crum did this summer.

Crum wowed the judges and audiences with his memorable renditions of Radiohead’s “Creep” and Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight,” taking him into the finals and making Crum a household name.

Now Crum is bringing that voice and that energy to the Lake Eola stage for Come Out With Pride Oct. 8. Crum took a few moments ahead of his COWP visit to talk with Watermark about life after America’s Got Talent.

What was it about America’s Got Talent that made you want to audition and compete on that show as opposed to one of the many other talent competition shows?

America’s Got Talent has a fully realized production value that I’ve always loved. You’re able to see these artists give these Grammy-like performances with the sets and the costumes and everything; the other shows don’t really do that level of production value. And I just think, watching America’s Got Talent for years, I’ve seen so many amazing performances on there that are so memorable. I thought if I’m going to do this – and I had always swore off the idea of doing a reality show competition – if I’m going to do it, I want to do it my way, and I wanted to do it big. Go big or go home.

What was it like stepping in front of that audience and those judges for the first time?

I’m super confident in my abilities as a singer and a performer, and I’ve been around the block a couple of times, so I knew going out there that I was going to do my thing. But you never know how someone will respond to it though. It was a breath of fresh air when they gave me that first standing ovation. It’s validating to know that all the hard work you’ve been putting in and everything you’ve been working for is for a reason.

How did that compare to the finale? Were you more at ease by then or were there butterflies in the stomach?

Like Simon said at my last performance, it was a risky song to choose, and I felt that a bit that night. This is either going to go really well or it’s not going to go over at all, so I was pretty nervous to make that jump and do [Michael Jackson’s] “Man in the Mirror.” It paid off though, and it was one of my favorite performances of mine on the show.

Getting a chance to be on a hit show like America’s Got Talent changes every aspect of your life. What’s been the best part of the journey since taking that national stage?

All the fans and everyone who has been reaching out from all over the world, talking about being bullied. I talked about being bullied as a kid on the show and everything I went through being a gay man, and hearing people say how much it helped having someone who has been through what they’re going through. Giving them strength to follow their dreams – that’s been the most rewarding thing from the show, and I did not expect that going into this. So that has been amazing and driven me.

So one thing that came from the exposure of America’s Got Talent is you will be headlining the Come Out With Pride concert in Orlando. How did that come about?

Yes, I am so excited. When they reached out to me I just had to. It was so heartbreaking to me with what happened this year, and I made a video with some friends of mine to pay respects and to honor the victims the week it happened. We all felt connected to it. I spent time learning about the people who died and the community in Orlando, and now getting to perform for them and hopefully help in bringing some smiles to their faces after this terrible year, it was just so important to me to be able to be there.

Now that the show is over and you are out playing concerts and touring the country, can we expect to hear some new, original music from you soon?

I’m actually going to be debuting one of my first original songs at Orlando Pride that I wrote with Jesse McCartney. We just finished it up and you all will be the first to hear it.

What genre of music will your new album lean toward?

Pop music is really where my spirit lies. My first song is a sexy dance-pop tune. I wanted to have something big to debut for all the beautiful people of Orlando, so this is going to be a big finisher for the party and celebration and it should be a lot of fun.

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