Kenyth Mogan talks to Good Men Project’s Savas Abadsidis about growing up gay in Montana, music, manhood, and artistic heros.
He’s just about the cutest thing since One Direction, he’s from Montana, he’s got geek chic bonafides (he wrote a graphic novel series called The Phoenix Chronicles: Awakening) and he hopes to open up a new fanbase to “wholesome” gays with his upcoming EP Fall Apart. Look out world, The Good Men Project proudly introduces popstar Kenyth Mogan! Interview by Savas Abadsidis.
You came out a very young age, in Montana of all places, what was that like?
Well, to be honest, I’ve never really been in the closet. Most of my friends and family knew from a very young age and I think I was about 14 when I admitted it to myself and came out to everyone else between the ages of 15 and 16. I know most people think that growing up gay in Montana would an angst-filled dramafest, but it wasn’t like that for me. The people who cared about me still do and accepted me, and those who chose not too…good riddance.
What was it like growing up in Montana?
My upbringing was pretty typical. I spent time on a ranch and my grandparents had a cabin on the lake, it’s a beautiful place. So many people had a hand in raising me and helping become the man I am today. I loved growing up there. It’s inspired me, especially in my writing. My first novel “The Phoenix Chronicles: Awakenings” though set in a fairy tale world had a lot of influence from my hometown, especially on some of the characters. I was also able to incorporate some of my own misadventures into the story.
How did it inform your sense of manhood, your personality? Do you think it was positive?
My dad, my grandfather, and my great-grandfather were all very hard workers and very much the traditional definitions of manly men, but from a very early age, I wasn’t. I was very sensitive as a little boy and soft-spoken, but that was never a problem. I was always encouraged to follow my own path, as long as it didn’t hurt me or anyone else. For me, I’ve always felt like being gay is a piece of who I am, but it doesn’t define me in every way. It’s been a very positive experience.
How does it inform your music?
Well, I grew up listening to a lot of female pop stars: Tiffany, Madonna, A’me Lorain were some of my favorites. I related to the female singers because they were singing about loving boys. A’me Lorain’s “Follow My Heartbeat” is what inspired me to come out. It’s all about following your heart and being yourself, regardless of what people say. Also, on the album there are 2 covers, both of which were originally done by female artist.
What does being a “wholesome gay” mean?
To be honest, I’m not sure what it means. But I think that for me, it means that I’m not out in the club scene. I’m kind of boring and would rather cuddle up with someone special on a sofa then grind with strangers on a dance floor. I tend to focus more on relationships. Don’t misunderstand me, sex is a big part of any relationship, and I think that people should be able to live whatever way they choose and enjoy whatever type of relationship works for them, but for me, the simple quiet life works best.
Do you plan on writing any more graphic novels?
I am not sure. I love to tell stories and have so many ideas that I want to put down on paper, but the experience with the publishing house was difficult to say the least. However, I’m not one to shrink into the shadows when something doesn’t go my way and the one thing I learned from the experience of “The Phoenix Chronicles” is that it’s not only important to have good people in your corner, but also to not be afraid to speak your mind. Music, writing, singing, acting, whatever your artistic expressions may be it’s a part of you and not something anyone should be able to control but you.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
There are so many. Maxfield Parrish has always been a favorite of mine. I grew up with his “Daybreak” painting hanging in my grandmother’s living room. My first introduction to manga / anime was Naoko Takeuchi’s “Sailor Moon” series and Kōsuke Fujishima’s “Ah! My Goddess.” I’ve also really enjoyed the work of Joe Phillips. He’s such a multi-faceted artist. Not only does he do beautiful paintings and sketches, he’s also an animator and writer. I discovered his art in college, and being the nerd I am wrote to him to tell him how awesome I thought he was. We’ve stayed in contact over the years and he’s actually included my likeness in two of his works. To inspire someone like that is kind of an incredible feeling; it’s very cool.
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