Tom Goss & Liz DeRoche Celebrate #SilentNight200

For a song to cross borders and oceans, cultures and languages, epochs and genres, one might imagine complex melodies and immense lyrics, not a lullaby for a troubled world. 

An internationally recognized masterpiece would certainly be the work of profound composers, not a humble assistant priest and school teacher who played guitar.  

And yet, this is the origin of one the world’s most cherished carols, “Silent Night,” celebrating its 200thanniversary on Christmas Eve, 2018.

Reminiscent of our own troubled times today, “Silent Night” was written in 1816 as a poem by Joseph Mohr under Austria’s oppressive rule, limited freedom of expression, and despair. 

Two years later, Mohr asked Franz Gruber to set his words to music as an expression of solace, hope, and peace to be performed in Oberndorf near Salzburg, Austria.

Accompanied only by the guitar, during Christmas Eve mass at St Nickola Church in 1818, the pair performed their composition, “Silent Night.”



Over the last 200 years, “Silent Night” has become known as ‘the song of peace,’ having been translated into more than 300 languages and dialects 

It’s the holiday hymn which brought a “day of peace” to the Western Front of WWI on Christmas 1914.  It reminded soldiers of home and inspired the liberation of Austria from the Nazis during WWII.  

Bing Crosby’s iconic recording of the song, released in 1935, is the 3rd best-selling recording of all time.

Recognized and listed by UNESCO as a work of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2011, “Silent Night” has become a gentle anthem for world peace. Now, and for our future.

As part of the worldwide ‘Silent Night 200’ celebration, acclaimed out singer/songwriter Tom Goss and indie artist Liz DeRoche, have recorded their own rendition of the song to share with the LGBTQ community.

“I feel most inspired by being around those I love,” says Goss. “I wanted to honor the holidays, family, friends and love with Liz DeRoche, someone who's musical light and tender heart always inspire me. And, of course, what better way to do that then with ‘Silent Night?’ A song that has been moving people for 200 years.”

Tom and Liz bring their considerable musical powers to bear on the quintessential Christmas song in classic ‘Goss’ style. 

Never veering from thoughtful, pensive attention to the lyrics, the two artists blend their voices in quiet homage that is sensitive, yet simultaneously brimming with emotion.

Ethereal and light, Tom and Liz find the heart of a delicate melody that is literally celebrated around the world without resorting to heavy-handed production or studio trickery.

The musical duo echo here the same peaceful sentiment born 200 years ago in Austria.

Speaking of 'around the world,' you can be a part of a global sing-a-long of “Silent Night” by clicking over to www.stillenacht.com on the 24thof December (5.00 p.m. MEZ; 4.00 p.m. UTC; 11.00 a.m US EST - east coast; 8.00 a.m. US PST - west coast).

This post is a collaboration with our friend Larry at the LGBTQ blog, theOUTfront.com.

Sexy Out Artist NIKO Drops Sensual, Modern Synth-Pop Take On "Light My Fire"

Out singer/songwriter NIKO shares his latest single, an intriguing take on the iconic 60s track, “Light My Fire.”

Originally released by The Doors in 1967, José Feliciano found his own groove with the song in 1968.

“‘Light My Fire‘ is one of my all-time favorite songs,” says NIKO about the classic tune. “I wanted to reinterpret it in a modern way, but still be true to the romantic essence of the song, that talks about a deep connection between two people.”

Melding a synth-pop landscape with rich acoustic elements, NIKO brings his considerable vocal powers to bear as the track builds to climax.

Billboard Pride contributor Jon ALi  raves about the track comparing NIKO’s vocals to a young George Michael with “a romantic and sensual vocal delivery.”

Instinct last featured the Milan-born artist back in October when he released “The One,” which also explored the intensity and exhilaration of sexual attraction.

Fusing a European sensibility with a contemporary sound, NIKO brings a sensual touch to pop music as he delves into both universal and personal themes.

Based in New York City, he is prepping for the release of his debut EP in 2019.

Hit play below. You can check NIKO out on Spotify here.


Teenager Meets Daddy In New Music Video "Afterglow"

The new music video from Christopher Sorensen, “Afterglow,” explores the dynamic between an 18-year-old teen and an older man who connect through a gay dating app.

The video, which features actors Daniel Bruington and Victor Leonard-Gutierrez, chronicles the first meeting of the pair at the older man’s home, complete with cocktails and a swim in his pool.

Things do go the way of romance and there are follow up encounters. 

But when one night goes late, there’s fireworks at home after what look like a missed curfew.

As his parents argue, the young man erupts in anger and goes looking for his older paramour, only to find a surprise.

Sorensen’s reps told Towleroad that the story line is “very personal to Christopher.”

“His goal is to create a safe space for young gay men to talk about any experience where they have felt taken advantage of,” the statement continued.

“Afterglow” is the first time Sorensen has included his own LGBT identity in his music. His 2015 music video, “Balloon,” addressed bullying.

Any readers have a similar experience with dating apps? Let us know in the comments.

Watch the video below. 



(h/t Towleroad)

Joey Suarez Doesn't Mind 'Dancing By Myself' To The Top

EDM/Pop musician Joey Suarez recently hit #5 on the UK Upfront Club Chart with a remix of his club favorite, “Dancing By Myself.” 

The song, remixed by chart-topping UK-based HausUnited, puts him in the same chart neighborhood as superstars Calvin Harris and Sam Smith.

Suarez says the song is about “the feeling of being alone at a club, content with the idea that you are now alone.”

“The song grows and changes a lot like our emotions do when we are heart broken,” he explains. “With that said, I hope this song finds those who feel alone and are trying to dance away their troubles.”

The young musician has never worried about dancing to his own beat.

A survivor of sexual abuse by his grandfather at a young age, Suarez spent years diving into his music as he hid that secret. 

“Music is responsible for saving my life,” shared the handsome artist in an interview with I’m From Driftwood.

As music and performing became more and more important in his life, he decided he was done with exiling a part of himself.

Most musicians choose to hide their sexuality at the beginning of their career for fear of rejection, but Suarez consciously decided to flaunt it. 

“I was about 14 when I decided secrets weren't worth it,” he says. “From then on, I vowed never to lie and never to hide who I was from anyone and most of all myself.”

Fans might be surprised to learn the artist now climbing the EDM/dance charts spent over 10+ years studying classical vocal training. But the strict, regimented approach to classical music wasn’t going to work for an artist who needed to fully express himself.

In an interview with FocusMidTenn,   he was “so sick of getting criticized in choirs for being ‘too loud’ or ‘not blending’” that he shifted his focus to other kinds of music and artist outlets. 

“Suddenly, all the constrictions and criticisms went out the window and I could freely explore my inner urges and talents,” he says.

His first two singles, “High in the Sky” and “Love Me Back” have garnered over 200,000 streams collectively on Spotify. A feat not easy for an independent LGBT musician. 

He is currently in the studio writing and recording more songs for an upcoming project.

Check out Suarez’s “Dancing By Myself” below.

For more info, head over to his official website here, and follow him on Instagram here.





A post shared by NEW MUSIC VIDEO! (@joeywsuarez) on





#9 on the commercial UK POP CHARTS! New music in the making!!! :D

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My new music video is on @revrytv! Who’s seen it!? Picture by @birdlambrophotography

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(lead photo: Richard Gasparro)

(h/t FocusMidTenn)

Shirtless Violinist 'Goes The Distance' As Dashing Disney Prince For Halloween

Take a pair of muscular musicians, a couple of revealing gladiator costumes and a classic Disney tune and you have the recipe for a new music video from Matthew Olshefski, the Shirtless Musician.

With Halloween just a few days away,  Olshefski shares that he wanted to dress up as a 90s Disney Prince.

After a survey of his fans,  the decision was made to go with ‘Hercules,’ which also came with the built-in choice of song for a music video, “Go The Distance.”

Now, the Shirtless Violinist can’t be donning a bulky, body-covering toga as the muscle-bound Demi-god, so the search was on for a more ‘shirtless appropriate' costume.

Olshefski found a gladiator costume online that seemed to fit the bill, and they were priced 2-for-1!

Matthew called up handsome pianist Johnny Walsh, who’s collaborated on a past music videos, and the casting was set.

The duo set about to shoot a music video featuring the friendship (or more?) of ‘Big Hercules’ and ‘Little Hercules’ with some male-bonding/mentoring theme going on.

According to Olshefski, the only snag in shooting the video was when it came to teaching ‘Little Hercules’ to skip a rock across water. Apparently, neither Olshefski nor Walsh nor any member of the crew could skip and rock.

The rock skips you see in the video represent some ‘movie magic’ shot weeks later at a lake.

In any case, the result is (in the motto of the Shirtless Violinist) “easy on the eyes and the ears.”

Check out the Shirtless Violinist’s take on the Disney Hercules classic, “Go The Distance,” below.



Out Singer/Songwriter NIKO Wants To Be "The One"

Handsome out artist NIKO drops his latest single, a romantic synth-pop track titled, “The One.”

Fusing a European sensibility with a contemporary sound, NIKO brings a sensual touch to pop music as he explores both universal and personal themes, inspirations and emotions.

NIKO describes the song as “a romantic, upbeat song inspired by the first moments with someone you’re attracted to.”

Written and recorded on a hot summer afternoon in Los Angeles, NIKO says the song touches on “the frustration of modern dating, and the exhilarating feeling of sexual attraction when meeting someone new.”

Born and raised in Milan, NIKO was naturally drawn to the city’s fashion and nightlife scene, where his earliest musical endeavors began as creative collaborations with underground DJs as a songwriter and vocalist.

During a stint in London and Manchester, he co-wrote and recorded tracks with several producers, nurtured his passion for music production, and decided to launch his career as a solo artist.

Now based in New York City, NIKO is prepping for the release of his debut EP in 2019, which will include "The One."

The new track is currently available on Spotify here.

Hit the play button below.



Hunky Ty Herndon Covers Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody"

After spending the past few months criss-crossing the country performing at various Pride events, out country music artist Ty Herndon recently hit the recording studio with DJ Little Steve to cut four songs for his dance floor fans.

“I have truly had the time of my life playing Pride festivals across America,” says the hunky country singer. “But, as much as the fans love country music, I noticed that I needed to bump up the party factor a bit.”

Herndon plans on releasing one track each week for the next four weeks beginning with his cover of the Whitney Houston classic, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody.”

In addition to “Dance,” Herndon recorded to new versions of his own songs (“Living in a Moment,” “That Kind of Night”) as well as the Marc Cohn hit, “Walking in Memphis,” which became a big hit for Cher.

Herndon debuted the dance remixes this past summer at Market Days in Chicago.

It is interesting to note that Herndon says he was inspired by his Pride performances to record the remixes, but in listening to his cover of "Dance," the openly gay artist omits the lyric "I need a man who'll take a chance, On a love that burns hot enough to last." Instead, he chose to repeat an earlier gender-neutral lyric.

Since coming out in 2014, the “What Mattered Most” singer has been an advocate for the LGBT community partnering with several organizations, most notably GLAAD.

His annual Cancer for Love and Acceptance fundraiser for GLAAD features out musicians as well as LGBT allies. This year’s concert, hosted by Herndon and out CMT host Cody Alan, featured performances by Ty, country music icons Tanya Tucker and Vince Gill as well as out UK sensation Calum Scott and Michael Ray.

Check out Ty’s cover of “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” below and let us know what you think in the Comments section.



(h/t Agency33)

Aussie Singer/Songwriter Philip La Rosa's Powerful New Music Video "Drowning"

Out artist Philip La Rosa debuts his new single and music video, “Drowning,” today in an Instinct exclusive.

The music video, dedicated to those affected by depression and anxiety, is being released in advance of World Mental Health Day observed around the globe tomorrow, October 10.

The poignant video utilizes striking imagery of being emotionally “underwater” - struggling to stay afloat, in a sea of emotions that on the surface, may not look that deep to others.

LGBTQ people know well how difficulty with self-acceptance and facing social stigma creates heavy mental and emotional pressures on a day-to-day level.

The Australian singer/songwriter says the new track was inspired by his closest friend’s personal struggle with depression and anxiety.

“The song came together after they shared some personal memoirs with me,” says La Rosa. “The idea was to write a song about some of those feelings and emotions to help shine a light on mental health.”

After sharing the track with director Charmaine Murray, she came up with a visual concept that metaphorically represents “the constant up and down battle of depression and anxiety and the strength required to continually pull yourself up out of the deep end, and the ability to stay above water and keep your head as high as you can.”

Personal demons are no stranger to La Rosa who was bullied in school to the point that he not only dropped out but stopped performing entirely.

“I wish I had handled things differently,” shares the indie artist. “I wish I approached the bullies and had an open discussion about what they were going through. Maybe they were being bullied too?”

Instead, La Rosa focused on building his own digital design business at the age of 18.

But new friends - “amazing people who helped me stay positive” - led La Rosa back to his true passion.

Now 25-years-old, he says, “I used everything I had been through to help shape my music and myself.”

“I think the one thing ‘grownup Philip’ has taken away from it all is the people,” explains the Perth-based singer. “Surround yourself with positive people, any form of negativity (even if it’s not directed at you) will have a negative impact on your wellbeing.”

La Rosa acknowledges that credo has become a motivating factor in the music he creates, saying, “If I’m putting something out that the world can see and hear, I want it to have a positive impact, even if only affects one person.”

In 2016, LaRosa released his passionate anthem "Pride," which encourages folks to be proud of who they are despite social pressures and stigma that affect LGBTQ folks on a daily basis.

“Whether in school, at work or in the community, so many people are judgmental of everyone and who they are – gender, sexuality, fashion, political views, religious beliefs… you name it,” says LaRosa. “I just wanted to write something that people could scream from rooftops.”

“Fight for who you are,” he emphasizes. “Be proud of who you are. Love who you are, and of course, love everyone along the way.”

Check out “Drowning” below, and for more info about Philip La Rosa and his music head over to his official website here.


Hunky Matt Zarley Is Singing 'Your Song' From LA Rooftops

In an Instinct exclusive, woofy singer/songwriter Matt Zarley debuts his latest music video, “Your Song.”

Zarley says he was drawn to cover the Rita Ora tune the first time he heard it. “It’s one of those songs that doesn’t leave your brain - a true worm,” says the award-winning recording artist. “I just loved the way it made me feel and I love the lyrics.”

He decided to record the song as he was putting together a new two-man show with frequent partner in crime, Jeb Havens, called Works of Heart.

“I knew it would fit perfectly in the thematic structure of the show,” he shares. “This song will also be on our album that’s coming out in a few months.”

The hunky singer (People Magazine's first out 'sexiest bachelor') takes a stripped-down, acoustic approach for the upbeat track which pairs well with his buoyant power pop vocals.

Being a do-it-yourself kinda guy, Zarley not only produced and recorded the song, but he came up with the concept for the video and edited it as well.

And speaking of editing, it doesn’t take long to figure out Zarley’s ‘band members’ in the music video all look a bit … familiar.

“I have always loved the “cloning” effect on film, and I didn’t want to make this particular video narrative heavy and overly sentimental,” says Zarley. “So I opted for this idea instead.”

But it turns out capturing the ‘all-Matt’ band proved a bit challenging.

“It was really tricky, to be honest," shares Zarley. "All of the shots of each character in the band had to be done with similar sunlight. Since we shot it outside, that made things it a little temperamental and unpredictable.”

“By the time we got all of the band shots, our plan was to get solo shots of each band member," he explains. "But, the sun was starting to move, so I could only do one take of each band member. It was a little tricky, and a bit hectic, but we got it done.”

This isn't Zarley's first experience behind the camera.

In 2015, he wrote, produced and starred in a long-form music video titled Hopeful Romantic, which co-starred everyone's favorite gay uncle, George Takei. The short was featured at dozens of film festivals winning several awards along the way.

Looking ahead, Zarley shares he'd like to tackle another short film. "I just have to write it first," he says with a smile.

Instinct previously covered Zarley’s stunning cover of the Sara Bareilles hit, “Gravity,” here.

Check out the music video for “Your Song” below. Find more of Zarley’s music on YouTube here, and you can follow him on Instagram here.





David Hernandez Proves He's King With New Album 'Kingdom: the Mixtape'

American Idol alum David Hernandez proves he is definitely the king of his own kingdom as he drops his new album, Kingdom: the Mixtape.

Kingdom: the Mixtape teams the hunky artist with the Black Eyed Peas Grammy-winning producer, Printz Board, and features a collaboration with fellow American Idol Blake Lewis.

The follow-up to his 2011 debut album, I Am Who I Am, this new collection of 20 tracks reflects many of the highs and lows he’s experienced since his time on the American Idol stage in 2008, including his sometimes crunchy relationship with the music industry.

“I’ve been sitting on most of this material for years, waiting for the right time to release it,” says Hernandez. “I’ve listened to too many people’s opinions about when to release, how, what images and content are appropriate… I was just over listening to what other people think I should do.  One day I finally stepped back and realized I had a great body of work that deserves to be heard, now.”

Many of the songs explore Hernandez’s journey over the past decade rebuilding trust and love, his refusal to give up, and his persistence to change for the better.  

But it’s not all about an uphill climb. There are also tracks that express joy and fun because as Hernandez explains, “Life isn’t always that serious and sometimes you just wanna let go and rage!”

The new album stretches across several genres including power ballads, soul/R&B, and dance tracks.  

The title track is an achingly soulful mid-tempo ballad that soars across triumphant drums and a grand piano.   

“Shield (Coat of Armor),” the first single and music video from the album, is an uplifting, confident, guitar-driven anthem.



“Beautiful” showcases Hernandez’s vocals in power pop mode, while “Last Supper” and “Animal” are uptempo numbers clearly born for the dance floor.

Then there’s “Break,” an introspective mid-tempo song that lays bare Hernandez’s struggles with addiction.  

“I wrote the song at a time when I was drinking a lot and popping Xanax,” says Hernandez. “It was an awful time. We were being evicted from our apartment and everything was going to shit.

“I ended up in rehab and eventually got clean of prescription drugs, and life became much better,” he adds.

While every day can be a private struggle for those with addiction, Hernandez says that he felt compelled to put the song on the mixtape because prescription drug addition has reached epidemic levels among youth.

“Young people are dying and committing suicide.  They need to know there is help,” he says.
“I hope listeners hear a piece of my soul in Kingdom: the Mixtape,” shares Hernandez.  “I hope they get where I am coming from, really see me for who I am, and that they, too, can relate to the songs. I want the mixtape to be healing, enlightening, and revelrous.”

You can find Kingdom: the Mixtape on iTunes here.