Singer Tyler Glenn is best known as the frontman for Neon Trees. The rock band has released three successful albums, which have spawned several singles that hit the Billboard charts.
Glenn is about to release his first solo album. It’s called “Excommunication” and it’s inspired by his recent departure from the Mormon Church due to his sexual orientation.
The Frame’s James Kim spoke with Glenn about sharing such a personal story.
On tracing his personal identity through his records:
I only know what I know when I'm writing records. I look at Neon Trees records and am like, Okay, I was definitely 25 when I wrote "Habits." I was definitely 28 figuring out if I'm going to come out or not when I wrote "Picture Show." And then when I wrote "Pop Psychology," I was like, I need to come out, but I'm not ready to. But let me write all about my identity crisis on this record. With "Excommunication," it is under my own name. And since coming out as gay at 30, and now I'm 32, I'm figuring out what it's like to be a gay man [who's] not Mormon, and that's really exciting and different.
On reconciling his religion with his sexuality and music:
I did hide my sexuality in religion. I was taught it was a thing I could overcome. That was always a thing that I thought I needed to suppress or fix. And in that community I was sort of being a poster boy for making gay Mormon work. I would go out and do speaking events and make a space for LGBTQ people. But the line was drawn in the sand when the church repeatedly gut-punched its LGBTQ members, most recently with a policy that bans same-sex couples and their children, essentially. So it's been a weird year and I think that's all poured into this record. But at the same time, this record I think is for anyone [who's] ever felt marginalized.
Tyler Glenn’s new album is called “Excommunication" on Oct. 21.