While only three episodes of Bravo’s songwriting competition Platinum Hit have aired, it’s probably safe to say that out contestant Scotty Granger has established himself as the show’s frontrunner. After all, he’s won two of the hook writing challenges and two of the final songwriting challenges, managing to win the approval of the show’s judges Jewel and the very hard to please Kara DioGuardi.
Granger describes his style of songwriting as a cross between R&B and pop, and cites Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Elton John as influences. And which singer would Granger most like to hear croon one of his songs? Celine Dion.
AfterElton.com recently caught up with Granger to discuss the ups and downs of being on a competitive reality show, which Platinum Hit host is Glinda the Good Witch (and which definitely isn’t!), as well as his family’s struggles to deal with the fact Granger is gay.
AfterElton: How hard are the sudden ups and down of being on top and then in the bottom on a show like this? How do you cope?
Scotty Granger: Emotionally, it’s like a rollercoaster. For the first show you don’t know what really to expect. What are the judges looking for? What kind of songs? What are the right chord choices and who should sing the song?
And then there is a lot of practice and you don’t know what the judges are thinking because it’s the first show. And [in the first episode] I picked the wrong direction with the song and I didn’t know it was the wrong direction for the show, so I ended up in the bottom because I took the wrong direction.
AE: TV has a lot of music competitive realty shows like The Voice, American Idol so what makes Platinum Hit different?
SG: Oh man, so many thing. It’s completely different then any show that’s been on other network before because it’s not about the voice. Most people think to be a musical star you have to have this great voice but usually behind the artists, behind Christina Aguilera, behind Britney Spears, behind anybody big performer or name like Jordan Sparks, who I work for, her biggest song is “No Air” and Jordan didn’t write that. Writers wrote that.
This show gives people an understanding of the song writing process, which is a huge force and a huge part of the music industry. What it’s really about is the creative talent who gave their song to the voice.
AE: In the first episode co-host Jewel seemed a little more approachable, a little more sympathetic. Whereas Kara seemed more like the task-master and harder on the critiquing. What’s your take on the two of them?
SG: I would take them as if they were the Wizards of Oz. Kara being the Wicked Witch of the West and Jewel being Glinda. [laughs]
AE: [laughs] That’s a gay way to put it!
SG: At the same time, Jewel knows what she’s talking about. She might say it in a more appeasing way then Kara would say it. Kara is a pit bull in a skirt. She’s a pro and if there is something she wants to tell you, she’s not going to hold back any words. She will tell you exactly what she’s thinking which is cool. Most of the people in the industry are like that, and if you can’t take criticism or a critique then got out of the kitchen.
AE: Did you say Jewel is the Glinda the Good Witch?
SG: Yes, and Kara is totally the green bitch.
AE: [laughs] These shows are interesting not only because they cast some really strong competitors but they also find some pretty strong personalities. Were there any people who you bonded with or was there anyone that became a rival of yours?
SG: I know all about teamwork, so I tried to tone down my personality for the show because I can kind of steam roll people with my personality. And that doesn’t really work well in this kind of setting where you have to work with teammates and it’s all about camaraderie so I tried to lay low.
AE: So who particularly were your favorites and who were not quite your favorites?
SG: My favorite person who people didn’t really like was Nick. He said he was a creative genius, a musical genius but I actually got along with Nick. He was my roommate, and I got along with Brian and Alisa. Cuz she’s loud and I’m loud. You know, black people and loudness we go together. [laughs] Those are about the three that I really got along with. And some others talked a lot or were complaining about something, so they started to get on my nerves a little bit.
AE: Your bio on Bravo mentions your brother who’s in the NBA but it also mentions the fact that you happen to be a gay man. And it mentions that your family really had a hard time when you came out. Are things any better with your family? Have they come around or are you still in the same not so great place?
SG: It’s weird because when you’re on TV, people tend you like you a little better but it’s still really strained and it will continue to be strained because the religion I came from was very very very strict and it was just a no-no a complete absolutely most horrible thing you could be was gay.