Five years have passed since SFGN first profiled Fort Lauderdale’s Ray Boltz, who sacrificed his huge career as a Christian music star (4.5 million albums sold) when he came out of the closet to his loving and accepting wife and children, and to a music industry that promptly shunned him.
That profile (along with a second one written two years later) is the most widely commented on SFGN profile, having received tens of thousands of views with comments both supportive and hateful.
I sat down with Boltz to see how his life and his music have evolved since that SFGN profile first appeared in March, 2010, at a time when he was releasing “True,” his first album as an out singer/song-writer. “True” won numerous “OutMusic Awards,” and his catalogue continues to sell well, despite the antigay cold shoulder of the Christian music industry.
Boltz laughs easily these days as he describes a life of contentment centered on family, friends and his partner of eight years, Franco Sperduti.
“I have eight grandchildren! I spend as much time with them as I can. I’m still close to my children and to my ex-wife. She and I are both 62 and I think that changes how you see your life and what you concentrate on,” he says.
Boltz still writes music but no longer thinks of his music in business terms. His music is his personal expression and its own source of satisfaction. He continues to perform, make appearances, and advocate for LGBT equality.
“I’m thrilled that we have equal marriage rights now in Florida and that the courts decided that the will of the majority cannot deny my right to love,” he says.
Boltz recalls grabbing his guitar and heading downtown in 2008 to protest “Amendment 2” that added to the Florida Constitution the definition of marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman. At the protest, he performed his popular anthem “Don’t Tell Me Who To Love.”
His life may be calm and steady, but Boltz is still passionate about spirituality and the personal calling he feels to define a God who loves all people equally. He describes the source of inspiration for a song he is working on currently.
“This new song has a working title ‘If You’re There.’ It came to me because of an email I got from a lady who told me that I am going to hell because I’m gay. In the song, I talk directly to God and ask him about the isolation and distance we all feel when God seems silent and absent,” he says. “Not all my email is negative. I often get messages from people who thank me for coming out and say it gave them the courage to face the same reality. Often they ask me for advice about how to handle the process of coming out to a spouse and children in the context of religion and faith. I never give advice about that. Everyone has to work that out for themselves. I only know that what I chose to do has brought me much happiness. I never would have imagined having eight grandchildren who love me and Franco!”
Boltz assured me that the business world of contemporary Christian music remains extremely antigay, but his personal spirituality as expressed in his passionate music celebrates a God who remains his biggest fan.