Grace Baldridge, better known by the stage name Semler, begged members of the Gospel Music Association (GMA) to vote for her as this year’s “Best New Artist” at the 53rd Annual Dove Awards, which will be on Tuesday, October 18.
Semler is an openly queer artist who is married to another woman but identifies as a Christian, often writing about her Christian upbringing, albeit many times including explicit language in her lyrics. Her father is an Episcopalian priest, the denomination in which Baldridge held her wedding ceremony with Elizabeth Capel.
Semler again topped the iTunes’ Christian Album charts later that year with her EP titled “Late Bloomer,”—this time, not carrying the explicit warning tag.
“Like, when TobyMac said, ‘You consume me,’ I thought of her and how her eyes see through me. And, Switchfoot has an Only Hope and that’s her for me,” the lyrics say. “Even though I know they wrote them for God, for Jesus, for a Savior, ain’t that nice? But I’m 17 and I want someone real to hold at night and I’m terrified, terrified they’d hate me if they knew [that] I’m using worship songs to say ‘I love you.’”
Earlier this year, Semler was ecstatic after finding out she was going on tour with one of her favorite Christian bands, Relient K—a band she references in her song “TobyMac.”
Baldridge has, at times, pushed Christians in the entertainment industry to affirm the LGBTQ+ community, reaching out to them via social media to ask if they believe it’s okay to be a Christian and live a gay lifestyle. Baldridge targeted Dove Award winning Christian rock band Swtichfoot last year.
“No one really knows if Switchfoot likes the gays or not. We don’t know. They’ve never said it,” Baldridge expressed on TikTok. “I think it’s important for Christians to understand that the harm levied against LGBTQ+ people has been so specific, so the affirmation needs to be just as specific.”
Baldridge filmed herself and a friend attending a Switchfoot concert and yelling from their seats, “gay rights,” while lead signer Jon Foreman was speaking. He either didn’t hear them or chose not to respond.