Singer Michael McBride understands a few things about being different and overcoming social stigmas. When he was younger, he had struggles with body image. Growing eventually to 5'6", he was smaller and shorter than most of his friends. He viewed phrases like 'good things come in small packages' as backhanded compliments aimed at making him feel better. "There were so many nights I would cry myself to sleep wishing and hoping to be taller and bigger," said McBride.
Eventually, McBride came to terms with the fact that he had no control over his stature. He found inner strength and decided that he would place his energy on things he could controlhis passion for music, fitness and education.
"I vowed that one day, I would have an impact on the world for the specific purpose of helping those who felt like outcasts know that they were valuable, competent, and loved," said McBride. As he became more confident in his height, he also began viewing his body as a gift. He decided that taking care of his body through nutrition and fitness was the only way he would start feeling comfortable in the body he was in. He researched fitness and eating plans that he still follows today. He realized that he needed to actively be a friend to himself, speaking words of encouragement rather than the spiteful judgment that he never would have even said to another human.
"As the walls of self-hate began to crumble, I realized that I was freer to love and contribute to those around me," said McBride.
McBride was born in the Christian Protestant Evangelical church and was heavily involved in religious pursuits since childhood. "Faith was my world and primary identity," said McBride. However, that tidy bow around the predictable box began to unravel as he found himself attracted to the same sex. "Just like the movie, But I'm a cheerleader, I kept saying to myself, 'but I'm a Christian.' I devoured books and blogs about changing," said McBride.
The main turning point in his life occurred one summer in Cincinnati as a student attending a music festival where he premiered an original composition. He had met another student who invited him to his first gay bar experience. "Conflicted with fear and excitement, I chose to take my chances being in another city and go. There were drag shows, strobe lights, go-go dancers and pounding music. It was all so new and overwhelming," said McBride.
Upon returning home, the guilt of his gay bar experience overwhelmed him and to relieve his conscience he confessed to church leadership. "That day was one of the worst and best days of my life. Immediately, the pastor called my parents to tell them what I had done and placed me on a three-month leave of absence, during which time I would be meeting with the elders weekly to help me make amends by becoming straight," said McBride. He felt that during the suspension he would be afforded the opportunity to soul search and receive the help he needed. "At the end of the term, I had not changed my attractions, and felt even more resolved in knowing that there was no need to change," said McBride
Currently, McBride works as a music faculty member at Loyola University and North Park University. He is afforded the opportunity to interact with the next generation of performers and teachers; which he does not take for granted. He enjoys teaching them new ideas and inspiring them to overcome any limitations in the way of achieving their dreams.
Finding balance has become an important aspect of McBride's life. Juggling three careers, a marriage and holding down a social life has not been the easiest of tasks. His constant has been his husband of six years, Rodrigo. Admittedly, he has struggled with finding balance as a multi-passionate person, but he has discovered that by focusing on his marriage he can achieve anything. His dream is to eventually release an album that reaches the Billboard chart.
People can find McBride every Sunday morning at 11 a.m. leading worship at Achurch4me MCC and every second and fourth Tuesday hosting Killer Open Mic at @mosphere in Andersonville.