Since arriving on the scene, Jason and deMarco, full names Jason Warner and deMarco DeCiccio, have occupied a unique niche. As a gay couple performing contemporary Christian music, they haven’t always had the easiest path to walk within the industry.
Yet their talent shown through and they found their audience. A documentary called “We’re All Angels” came out in 2007 and gave fans an inside look into their relationship, their faith and their passion for music.
They are now proud fathers and spend most of their time off the road, but still manage to tour from time to time thanks to help from family. They will appear in Charlotte, N.C. for Different Roads Home’s “7th Annual Evening of Hope and Inspiration” concert on Nov. 12 at the McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square. They will be joined by Teresa Giudice, from “Real Housewives of New Jersey,” and country music star Louise Mandrell.
The duo took time out of their busy schedules to answer some questions via email. Answers not attributed to one or the other come from both.
Were you familiar with Different Roads Home before being booked for this show?
We were not. We received an email several months ago asking if we were available, and when we looked up the organization, we immediately knew we wanted to be a part. Supporting organizations such as Different Roads Home has been something we’ve always tried to clear our schedule for.
What does it mean to you to be able to be a part of this benefit concert?
We’ve been touring a long time and any chance we have to partner with an organization doing good work is a special opportunity. There is so much work to be done, and so many people out there doing good work. We’re always honored when we get to join in and make our voices heard.
Your schedule shows several shows throughout the rest of the year. How often do you tour now? Do you wish you were still able to tour more?
Jason: We toured for over 10 years living on the road, living out of suitcases and averaged five days a month off the road in LA. When we decided to have children we made a conscious choice to leave the road full time. We honestly somewhat thought we were “done.” But thanks to my parents, who offered to tour with us, we are still able to go out several times a year. We usually do two extended tours per year where our twin sons and parents go with us on a bus. We then do several weekend gigs where our sons stay back with my parents who live four miles from us. We definitely don’t miss the road and the flights, but we miss seeing our fans as much as we used to. We have a lot going on at home now, as well that makes it difficult to travel as much.
Is it nice having a more consistent home life now that you are touring less frequently? Has it offered you the chance to explore different aspects of life more thoroughly?
deMarco: Great question! And yes, the stability and consistency was much needed and welcomed. We have a six-acre ranch in Franklin, Tenn. and have 15 farm pets. We run a B&B and do weddings, kids’ birthday parties and other special events on the ranch. Other than music, my passion has always been in the hospitality business, particularly cooking. So, I’ve had the chance to put on my chef hat preparing meals for our B&B guests and hosting a monthly farm-to-table dinner that has become very successful.
As I oversee and manage the events and activities on the ranch, Jason is a Realtor. He has always invested and enjoyed real estate, so it was a no brainer for him to explore this as a career. He is also the executive director of the non-profit he founded in 2011 called S.A.F.E. (Safe, Affirming, Family Environment). S.A.F.E. operates on the ranch and serves area foster families and foster children, as well as other children in need. All of our farm pets on the ranch are therapeutic for the children that visit.
The best way to learn more about it is to visit safehouseforall.org. We launched as a drop-in center for homeless youth serving 60-70 homeless youth per day. The majority of these youth attributed being homeless to aging out of foster care, so when moving to Tennessee we chose to focus on being a resource to foster youth and foster families, educating the community on the need of foster homes, particularly LGBT-friendly foster homes. We also are developing a program to help prepare youth for the aging out process by offering a summer camp. Our ultimate goal is to provide transitional housing to youth aging out of care, helping them transition to independent living.
So, as you can tell, we are extremely busy when we’re not performing.
It has been awhile since we’ve gotten a Jason and deMarco album. Might we get a new one soon?
We released a new Christmas CD last year called “Christmas Reflections” after years of people requesting. We’ve been so busy with the ranch that we are just now starting to discuss what direction our next CD will take. We’ve done a lot of different styles over the years and our harmonies tend to be our signature, so the next CD will hopefully be something different. We just need to agree what that “something different” is.
The band Everyday Sunday was recently kicked off a Christian music festival because most members of the production team objected to their having an openly gay singer. Does it feel like very little progress has been made when it comes to acceptance of LGBT musicians in the Christian music world, or do you think those things are more the exception?
Jason: It’s so frustrating that this is still happening. As much as I’d like to say the Christian industry has shifted or evolved, it hasn’t. We’ve been told by labels for years that they would love to sign us but can’t. They’re afraid. Their music would be pulled from Christian bookstore shelves and songs from Christian radio. It all comes down to money. No label is willing to take the risk. It amazes me in this day and age people could judge someone for whom they love when so many of these “Christian” artists are drug addicts, fornicating, gambling, and the list goes on and on of activities that are considered “sinful.” Yet, being gay is still “worse.”
There is good news, however. Although the industry isn’t shifting, churches are. There are more and more churches opening their doors and theology to the LGBT community. So, although the industry is still fighting us, many churches are opening their doors.
What has parenthood taught you so far about yourselves and your relationship?
deMarco: Parenthood teaches you so much. I think it mostly shows you how unprepared you were for it. It’s the biggest gift and the biggest challenge in many ways. Our boys are our life and we can’t imagine our lives without them. The journey has been absolutely life changing and amazing and exhausting all in one.
Our boys are five now and just started kindergarten so we finally feel like we have somewhat “made it.” They’re amazing young boys and teach us so much every day. I think personally, it’s also made us fall in love with one another in different ways. We both respect one another as fathers and have watched the other grow into a role that we were able to create together. It’s pretty magical.
Jason, you wrote a book about same-sex surrogacy, tell us about it.
Jason: I chronicled our journey and released the book after the boys were born. When we started to explore surrogacy I felt there was such limited info. My book not only shares our journey, but also the journey of five other couples. Our doctor writes the forward for the book and our attorney writes a chapter helping to navigate some of the legal elements.
I’m really proud of the book and I think it’s helping a lot of couples who are considering surrogacy. I originally named the book “The Journey of Same-Sex Surrogacy,” but changed the name to “Anything is Possible — The Journey of Surrogacy” in the second edition because I didn’t want to limit it to same-sex couples after learning how many heterosexual couples are also having or choosing to explore this route.
What can those who come to the show expect to see? Will you be performing with a band or to tracks? Will it be a mix of old and new songs?
We will be performing to tracks our LA based-band recorded. We will be doing a mixture of songs, primarily our secular and inspirational set, considering this is a mainstream event. Our harmonies have always been our signature sound, so folks can expect a lot of that along with a few special surprises. One of those surprises will be Jason’s mother joining us onstage to sing “The Prayer,” which is always a special moment.