Singer/Songwriter Kyle Motsinger gets over the 'Bad Years'

Wed. March 8, 2023 9:33 AM by News Staff

kyle motsinger

photo credit // austin ruffer

'It’s been a tough couple of years for everyone,' says Motsinger

Kyle Motsinger traveled a long, arduous road in pursuit of his rock star dreams, from Central Illinois to New York City. He was born and raised in a small, conservative town of 500 people near Peoria, where he “grew up singing Broadway tunes in the middle of cornfields,” he said.

Once in New York, he endured near-daily obstacles, such as waking up to find his bank account overdrawn and having to call his parents for grocery money. Or promoting a show at a venue that he always dreamed of playing, and only one friend showed up, bringing a large dose of humility and soul-crushing.

“It’s been a tough couple of years for everyone,” Motsinger said. “I’ve dealt with a lot of financial struggles that come with being an indie artist.”

Bad times led to “Bad Years” from the singer/songwriter who released his new single in February.

“I wanted to channel all of this into the song in a positive way. Bad Years is about hoping we can one day look back on this rough time from a happier place,” he said.

He recorded Bad Years in 2022 in multiple studios with MP Kuo.

MP recorded Two Birds and One Stone with Trixie Mattel and has worked with Brandon James Gwinn, another gay singer/songwriter. NYC Drama Desk nominee Mark Hartman arranged strings and there was a live band with backup singers involved, including Broadway’s Trisha Jeffrey.

“The only way I know of going through,” tough times is through music, he said. “I decided a long time ago that I would document the good, the bad, and the ugly of life.”

Despite the name the song is one of hope and encouragement, and it ends with Motsinger saying, ‘I’m not giving up.’

“I believe we’ll look back on this time from a better place; I have to believe that,” he said.

Motsinger moved to New York in September 2011, after attending Western Illinois University for musical theatre. He moved for theatre and music.

He lived about 45 minutes from Peoria while in Illinois.

“It had its moments,” he said of living in Central Illinois. “I had some fond memories and I do love the country. I loved doing community theatre and music in school. Being gay there was tough, though. I was called ‘gay’ before I even knew what it meant.

Motsinger came out on Thanksgiving 2007, as a sophomore in college.

“It was fine (being gay) at college, but at home it wasn’t, at first. My parents only reference of being gay was someone they knew who moved to the city, contradicted AIDS, and passed away. They had a lot to learn, and they’ve come a long way,” he said.

Motsinger has plenty of memories from his visits to Chicago – some he cannot repeat in public.

“One of the naughtiest stories I have was in college … a group of musical theatre students and I visited during the summer. I met a daddy at Scarlet in Boystown who took me to Steamworks for the first time. Some very fond memories were made that night,” he said.

“I’m planning to stay longer in Chicago next time I visit.

“I have some very fond memories of WIU, too. The theatre department was so much fun and I loved doing so much theatre each semester. We also had epic theatre parties at my house.”

Motsinger performed at the Stonewall Inn in late-February as part of the show “Freak Out!”

“Indie queer songwriters need your support more than ever,” Motsinger said. “Share our songs on your social media and help get the word out. We don’t all have the help that (major stars) have.”

Kyle Motsinger’s “Bad Years” is available on Apple Music, Spotify and all digital platforms.  



Follow on Instagram @kylemotsinger