Music was the one thing that Chadwick Stadt knew he could depend on to help get him through life's challenges.
"It had that ability to comfort me without a single touch from the human hand; it was something relatable," he said.
However, Stadt long suppressed his dreams of pursuing music, living in fear of rejection and acceptance based on his sexual-orientation.
Stadt came out shortly after graduating from collegein October, 2008. And his musical career has skyrocketed over the past year or so.
"I came to the realization that fear is not truth," said Stadt, 28. He grew up in south suburban Bourbonnais, went to Olivet Nazarene University and now lives in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. "We often are too quick to create scenarios in our head of what we don't want, instead of focusing on the outcome we do want. I realized the only person standing in the way of what I wanted to be was myself, and I haven't looked back since. I've finally allowed myself to be vulnerable, checking any doubts or insecurities I once had at the door. I see every performance as an opportunity to evolve even more as an artist. Through my story and passion for music, my goal is to continue inspiring others within the LGBTQ community and to bring people together the best way I can[through] music."
Stadt has only been performing for a year, but what a run it's been so far. His singing style is pop/acoustic, perhaps the gay Taylor Swift, he joked. "I play acoustic guitar and write my own music, mainly about past relationships and break ups I've had so far in my life," he said.
Stadt's musical inspiration is Gavin DeGraw. "His music moves me as an artist more than anyone else," Stadt said. "Everything from his personality, voice and song writing really inspire me to keep pursuing my music."
Stadt met DeGraw at one of his shows earlier this year. It was a surreal experience, said Stadt, who also admires the work of John Mayer and Jason Mraz.
"The thing that moves me the most about music is when it is relatable," Stadt said. "The best feeling in the world is when you hear a song that just hits you. It gives you the opportunity to really connect with the artist and it's why we have our favorite songs. It is everything I strive for with my music."
Stadt will be performing at 8 p.m., July 12, at Parlour on Clark ( 6341 N. Clark St. ).
"The best part about being a singer is meeting all of my fans and supporters of my music," Stadt said. "If it wasn't for their love and positivity I wouldn't be able [to be] on this journey. I am forever grateful. The worst part of music are those days where you just want to give up. This is the hardest business to break into and you hear 'No' more than you hear 'Yes,' but what keeps me on track is my drive, determination and passion for music. I would be doing music regardless of fame or fortune because it is something that lives within me.
"I look at every new day as the opportunity for my 'Yes.'"
Stadt was honored in June as a member of the Windy City Times' 30 Under 30, an award he received alongside fellow gay musician Steve Grand; it was the first time the two met.
"Chadwick was a friend of a friend, which is how I stumbled across his YouTube page," said Jimmy Kays, who runs the annual Over The Rainbow charity fundraiser, held every November at Sidetrack, featuring numerous local singers, such as Stadt who sang at the 2013 event and is scheduled to perform at the 2014 Over The Rainbow on Nov. 12. "I really like his raw talent and he's a very genuine guy."
Stadt dreams of someday traveling full time, playing smaller shows around the country or even opening up for artists who are similar to his style.
Maybe even a hit with Grand.
After all, Stadt also has had a brush with musical famehe was part of The X Factor ( season 3 ) last summer, which he said was "one of the coolest experiences so far."
"I flew out and filmed for the show," Stadt said. "I was green at the time and didn't make it to the next round, but it was such a cool opportunity to meet Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio. I've grown so much since then and it gave me a kick to pursue music."
Stadt, who works as a sales professional at Tiffany & Co., on Michigan Avenue, also is a brand representative for Pure Vida Braceletsdriven by a 2014 goal of his to become involved with a cause or organization that focused on giving back and making a difference across the world.
The mission of Pura Vida Bracelets, Stadt said, is to help provide full time jobs to talented artisans of Costa Rica. "The best part is that every bracelet has [been] handmade by these talented artisans in Costa Rica," he said. "With very little tourism, combined with low paying jobs, local artisans in Costa Rica have a difficult time making ends meet. From the exponential growth of Pura Vida Bracelets throughout the U.S. and around the world, we now are able to fully support full-time work for over 50 talented artisans and their families.
"Pura Vida's goal is to see that number grow and be able to provide as many jobs possible and get these beautifully hand-crafted bracelets on the wrists of everyone in the world."
Stadt created a custom-designed bracelet, sold through its online store at www.puravidabracelets.com . The bracelet is called "Kick Back Chadwick" and was inspired by the bright and vibrant colors of his guitar strap.