Out Musician Describes How He Found his Way into the Big LGBTQ+ Tent

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Saturday June 18, 2022

Mike Maimone
Mike Maimone  (Source:Mike Maimone/Instagram)

Out singer-songwriter Mike Maimone describes in an essay for Outsports how, once he started coming out, he found every reason to leave the closet behind and step into "the biggest, most colorful tent in the world."

Maimone recalled his high school football days, when he "I was team captain, [and] my football teammates would tease that I was afraid of girls.

"I dated women because that's what the guys I spent most of my time with did," the recording artist added. "But I was clearly awkward about it, and I didn't really fit in."

In college, after being cut from Notre Dame's football and lacrosse teams, he "focused on school and graduated with honors," then took a comfortable corporate job as an accountant — a little too comfortable; growing restless, Maimone decided to pursue a career in music. But it wasn't all sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll; venturing into a gay bar for the first time, Maimone recalls, "as soon as I walked in... I walked right back out."

"I'm not into partying," the artist goes on to say. "Throughout my life I struggled to find my footing, and I couldn't find my place. Not entirely a jock. Not entirely a nerd. Not at all straight. But in my limited understanding of the gay scene, I felt like I didn't have anywhere to turn there, either. I had moments of great loneliness, so I put all of my focus into making music."

In 2009 he started a band called The Mutts, and one of the songs he recorded with that band was actually, Maimone wrote, "about my early, secretive sexual encounters with other men.

"But as I opened up to my band mates, and then other musicians, and then some college friends, I began to realize something: I was isolating myself," Maimone details, "Nobody was judging me but me."

Eventually, "I started performing as an openly gay man, telling the stories of the songs on stage and in interviews," he recalls. "Interestingly, the more I put myself out there, the more people were responding.

"When I started performing under my own name in 2016, I decided to go all in, and for the first time wrote relationship songs with "he" pronouns."

Now he's out and proud, and flourishing in his art.

"Seeing fans singing along at my shows, and seeing new listeners' faces light up when they heard me deliver proudly gay lines, made my heart overflow, finally, with acceptance," Maimone explains.

"It took two decades, but I finally realized that this community is the biggest, most colorful tent in the world. No one was keeping me out. All I had to do was lift up the flap and walk myself in."

Not just out and proud, Maimone puts thirsty, sometime NSFW posts up at Instagram. Check out a few of his best.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.