PEI

Why an Island musician decided to share a song about coming out

Noah MacDougall wrote Pray around Pride Week last year as he was feeling some frustration around how people in his life were perceiving that he was gay.

'As the year went on I just started thinking more about "why don’t I share this?"'

'I thought it would stay hidden in my journal forever,' says Noah MacDougall of his new song, Pray. (YouTube)

At first, Noah MacDougall didn't think he had the courage to share his song.

He wrote his Pray in his journal around Pride Week last year as he felt frustration around how people in his life were perceiving that he was gay.

"I thought it would stay hidden in my journal forever, as there was no way I could ever share it," MacDougall wrote in a Facebook post revealing the song. 

"Writing this song was the first time where I had that quote unquote 'artist experience' where a song actually just comes out of you," he told CBC Radio Island Morning's Matt Rainnie.

"It was a really honest song, just based on the lyrics — but I knew since it happened so naturally that it was very me and it was very personal."

That's why he bottled up the song for nearly a year.

MacDougall felt he wasn't ready to share the lyrics and story behind the song. Growing up in a very religious family in P.E.I., he said it took him a long time to understand how his faith and queer identity could coexist.

"It's really tough to bring those two together and understand how they can fit, because for the longest time you're told that they don't fit," he said.

"It's taken me a while to find the courage to be able to talk about how those are both important to me."

'Really cathartic for me to play through'

Over the last year, MacDougall revisited the song, sitting in his apartment playing it over and over again.

Though he's been open about being gay for about six years, this was sort of a second coming out, he said, because this was about his story about growing up with faith and spirituality.

"It was really cathartic for me to play through it," he said. "And as the year went on I just started thinking more about 'why don't I share this?'"

He eventually decided it had to be heard, committing to recording it, filming a music video and releasing it around Pride Week this year — calling it his "Pride Project."

'I couldn't have anticipated how people would react'

He's still nervous to talk about it, he said, but so far the response to his message has been positive.

People he knows, and those he's never met, have shared his song around the world and even reached out to him to express their love for his lyrics and the effect it has had on them.

"It was really cool to see how writing something that was so vulnerable and honest just opens the door for people to do the same thing," he said.

"I had people send me on messages on Facebook and just open up to me about their personal stories.

"I couldn't have anticipated how people would react to it."

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning

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