Py Joey Amato | Photos Courtesy MPACK Photography
There is something mysteriously appealing about one of Nashville’s up-and-coming LGBT+ musicians and it’s not just his name. Nobody can argue that Pryce Le Mystère is indeed very attractive, but in today’s world, it takes more than looks to make it in the music industry. It also takes talent and a great story. I recently met Pryce after his performance during a RNBW event at Tribe and found him quite intriguing. After listening to him perform stripped down versions of his EDM songs, I knew there was some substance behind the music.
Joey Amato: What were your earliest musical memories?
Pryce: My love of music started when I was really young. My mom thought of me as a project and sang to me as a baby. She would also play a lot of soft rock…Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac and Elton John. The first song I recognized emotion in was “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King. I would sing to the radio and my brothers would bang on the wall and tell me to shut up.
JA: Who are some of your current musical influences?
Pryce: I think everyone I listened to growing up was an influence. I used to try to emulate people when I was younger, but I don’t do that anymore. Some people say I sound like John Mayer if he was born in the ’60s and grew up in the ’70s. I definitely have a retro vibe.
JA: Religion played a large part in your childhood. Tell us about your experiences.
Pryce: I would sing the Bible verses, and everyone thought it was strange that I was singing them. I really wanted to be a worship leader. I literally sat in seminars and they would speak about how vile and disgusting gay people were and even though I was young and didn’t understand it fully, I knew they were talking about me. I remember the sinking feeling in my stomach at age 8 or 9. I decided to switch to public school for a variety of reasons, but I really wanted to ‘save’ people in the darkness. To my surprise, I saw a lot of happier people there than at my previous school. People were just being themselves. It was a really cool atmosphere to be around. When I switched to public school it really opened my eyes to the world. I started questioning what I was taught and after a while, I lost my faith. I just didn’t believe in the Bible anymore.
JA: What was your coming out story?
Pryce: I had dated girls and didn’t come out until I was at Belmont. I’m definitely not a gold star gay. I’ve done it all. I was fighting my natural impulses of being attracted to guys. Even after I was no longer religious, I still maintained a level of internalized homophobia and that was hard to deal with. I told myself that I’d be open to the idea of meeting a guy and literally that weekend I met a guy who would later become my guitarist. We never had a sexual relationship or anything, but I had never felt that level of infatuation before.
Around that time, my dad tried to step back into my life. He made me hate my mom and hate my whole family. After I came out to him, he told me I was reading too much on the Internet, and he blamed my mother for my sexuality. He said my mother smothered me and that caused me to be gay. That was the last conversation I had with him.
JA: When did you begin writing and recording your own music?
Pryce: I actually started writing pop music. Music that had a lot of Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Sia influence. I recognized that the use of electrotonic formats was the future of popular music and I wanted my music to sound different, so I started writing songs that were larger than just my piano.
I was in a relationship at the time and I would write songs about the guy I was dating while he was playing video games. Sometimes I would sing him the song and he would give me a look. I wasn’t sure if he was hearing the lyrics or if he wasn’t. It hurt my confidence a little bit. He put me up against my favorite singer and said I’m not that person. He didn’t appreciate that I wrote the song about him. He just told me who I wasn’t, not who I can become. I knew I needed to lose the dead weight because he was holding me down as a musician. I never played anything else for him ever again.
JA: How did you come up with your stage name?
Pryce: I decided to use Pryce as my stage name because my dad’s last name was Price and growing up, I was always called Price in school. It was always a negative thing back then. People would yell it at me and it had such harshness to it. I would tell people I hate my last name. I decided to use that as my stage name because I wanted to turn it from a negative word into a positive. I’ve had my name used positively more times now than I ever heard it negatively. It’s already a positive word in my mind.
JA: What advice would you give to other LGBTQ+ artists in Nashville trying to pursue their dream?
Pryce: You’ll encounter people who are negative toward you or try to bring you down not because they think you are bad; it’s usually because they are jealous. They see something in you that they are insecure about and they are jealous you are pursuing that thing. Just ignore them, keep your head up and move on.