School of Rock’s Brian Falduto is singing a very different song today.
After a first brush with fame at 11-years-old, originating the role of Liza Minnelli-loving, sassy Billy “Fancy Pants” in 2003’s School of Rock—which since inspired a Broadway show and Nickelodeon TV series—Falduto admits he was bullied in its wake and struggled with his sexuality due to a conservative upbringing.
In 2017, however, he reemerged as a fully out singer-songwriter determined to empower others with the EP, Love One Another, and a November 2018 full-length debut album, Stage Two.
At the same time, Falduto launched a career as I.C.F. certified life coach to consult and guide LGBTQ clients who might be experiencing life’s struggles. In preparation for a December 30 live set at NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall (at 9pm), Falduto spoke with NewNowNext about the famous, controversial gay self-help tome that inspired his album, life coaching, and the plus side of breakups.
I understand that Stage Two was inspired by Dr. Alan Downs’ The Velvet Rage. How did you get into that book?
It was recommended by my therapist, actually. It was helpful to find a lane my music could tie into and coincide with the business I launched. None of the songs were necessarily inspired by the book because they were written before I read it, but the book talked about stage two, a period in a gay man’s life when they spend a lot of time overcompensating for stage one, which is the period of shame they lived in. For me, that was eleven to twelve years of being uncomfortable with who I was and seeking validation in alternate sources. I was seeking validation often in the forms of addictive relationships, and there are breakup songs. Basically, the opportunity to name the album after the book was my way to direct people to read it, and how to get to stage three, which is genuine authenticity and living as your true self.
Are breakups golden for songwriters, though?
They’re so good! They feed writing like nothing else, it’s really weird.
How are you with relationships now?
I’m as single as the day I was born, and having a relationship with myself and having a great time.
What’s the scoop on your life-coaching career?
My primary goal is to work with LGBT clients in the process of overcoming the shame they grew up with, and developing confidence so they can live authentically and not in this way of overcompensating for the years spent living in the closet. It’s something I’m really passionate about. Making sure you’re inclusive of yourself.
Are any of the original School of Rock movie cast and creatives supportive of your cause?
I’ve not really reached out to anyone. The kids and I are friends and have an active group chat. But I’ve not been in touch [with the adults] since the reunion. Jack Black is so kind, I’m sure he would do something.
Is a Stage Three album next?
I just recorded a live music video for a new song called “Alright,” and that’s my first thought for what I would probably call stage three of my life. I don’t think I would call the next album Stage Three, but I’m starting to write songs in a place where there’s more strength. The song will be released on December 30.
What do you have planned for the December 30 performance?
We’re so psyched. It was a really exciting year for me. We’re doing a fun set and counting down my top ten music moments of the year and performing the songs that accompanied those moments. A cool little countdown. Afterward, we’re having a little party because I’m heading to L.A. in January for pilot season, so it’s a goodbye to the east coast for now.