Grace Baldridge, who goes by the stage name Semler, continues to make a name for herself after becoming the first openly queer artist to take the #1 spot on the iTunes’ Christian Music charts in 2021.
Baldridge recently spoke to CBS News‘ Zoe Christine Jones, sharing that although she grew up in a Christian household, it wasn’t her intention for the 8-song EP “Preacher’s Kid” to be about her religious upbringing. The extra time the pandemic provided simply led her to write that way.
“In my mind, I didn’t want to deal with [my relationship with religion] anymore. But I actually think that there was a great deal of healing that I needed to do. And so I wrote the project to almost get it out of my system. And what I found was that it opened up new questions and new ideas and themes that I was so inspired by and gave me a community that I didn’t even know really existed before,” Baldridge explained.
During the interview, Baldridge was asked why she believes so many people, including Christians, connect to her music.
“I think because it came from a place of brutal honesty and frustration. That’s always going to be relatable. For so long, I was trying to be some version of myself, sliced-and-diced to fit,” Baldridge said. “So I think that once I was able to be a whole person and engage with myself as holy, that’s just the most honest form of expression. And in doing so, you find other people who can relate to it.”
That being said, not everyone accepts the LGBTQ movement about which Baldridge writes, preaches, and stands for.
Comments posted on social media from Christians like, “Can we stop calling a ‘queer Christian’ a Christian? Jesus said that you are His disciple by following His commands, also Paul wrote that people who claim they are believers but continue in darkness are actually very dangerous because they lead many astray,” and “tell her she need to repent and she is not a christian but a sinner in need of a savior,” can be read under former news articles ChurchLeaders has published about Baldridge.
The daughter of an Episcopalian priest told CBS News that finding peace within a religion that doesn’t accept homosexuality hasn’t been easy. Baldridge said that growing up in youth group at church and hearing homosexuality being associated with shame made her “shut down” how she truly felt.