It’s no secret the latest single from out web series actor-turned singer Jack Tracy was intended to be a sexually explicit love song. “I think mainstream representations of gay love often cut around the actual sex in order to make us more palatable to straight audiences,” he says. Like most of his music, “Wherever You Are” is intensely personal and graphic, however where his usual tracks are upbeat dance numbers, this one is a ballad with a sound that sits somewhere between Prince’s “Dirty Mind” and Janet Jackson’s “Anytime, Anyplace”. The music video is equally racy with Tracy appearing nude and in bondage gear. “It was important for me to have a song that expresses love in the way I experience it myself—a deeply erotic connection,” he explains.
That’s not to say “Wherever You Are” is all about sex. There’s an important underlying message to the song that takes center stage in the music video. Tracy continues, “When it came time to think about the video, I took a step back and thought, ‘does the world need another video of two gay boys grinding up on each other?’ I didn’t want to create another tired thirst trap.”
Instead, he chose to reflect on the times he had been harassed by straight men on the streets of Hell’s Kitchen, New York — a predominantly gay neighborhood that he calls home — and how the emerging white nationalist and notoriously anti-LGBT group, “Proud Boys,” had engaged in a violent brawl just blocks away. Tracy uses the “Wherever You Are” video to demonstrate how the freedom of public expression gained by the LGBTQ community is currently under attack. “While it’s important that the community remain out and proud, we also need to look out for one another,” Jack Tracy says. “Hate is on the rise all over the world and we need to be ready to defend ourselves.”
The entire music video was shot in seven hours on a Saturday. Led by Tracy, the crew started filming the night scenes in Bushwick, Brooklyn at 5am and chased the dawn. The shoot then moved to a photo studio for the interior scenes and then back outside for the car scenes. They called it a day by 1pm. “I edited the video that same night and had it ready to go the next day,” Jack Tracy explains, adding, “I’m a machine, henny.”
The nude scenes were the hardest for him to shoot. “As a teenager, I was the kid who kept his shirt on at the beach. I have always hated my body. Even now, I pick myself apart in the mirror at least once a day for not being thin enough. It’s something I’m working on; and part of that is by pushing my own boundaries. Trust me, there is no one more scandalized by my nudity in this video than me, but Bambi’s gotta start walkin’ sometime, you know.”
Jack Tracy manages to work into the video a few additional matters that are important to him, including his feelings about fetish gear. “It was important for me to show that love isn’t always cozying up by a fire, candlelit dinners or holding hands on the beach. Sometimes real intimacy is achieved by putting on outfits and living fantasies together.”
He pays homage to the drag community because, he argues, “They have historically been the true militants of the gay rights movement.” He points to the trio of drag queen angels who helped a man in Sydney in 2017 and Morgan McMichaels punching a Nazi earlier this year. “How ironic that before Drag Race, drag queens were often maligned within our own community, yet in the fight for our survival, they are the most likely to step in swinging."
Jack Tracy is the founder and owner of Necessary Outlet, a film production company that produces LGBTQ web series including the fifty-time festival selection and award winner, History, a show that stars Tracy as a 30-something gay lawyer, fresh out of a break up and looking to rebuild his life. The third season of History is due out early next year.
Other notable works from Necessary Outlet include Millennial Memoir, a comedic riff on a 26-year-old gay reality star looking to write his life story, and Big Law, a comedic Office-type show that Tracy makes occasional cameos in.
Jack Tracy’s first full-length film, Snowflake, is now circulating the festival circuit and was recently named a semi-finalist in the Los Angeles Film Awards. The film was born out of his frustration from the 2016 US election. It tells the story of a group of gay men and their friends and how they deal with a looming threat to LGBTQ rights spawned by a recent presidential election.
“There’s an agenda to mainstream hate that argues Nazis and Proud Boys are entitled to not only their Constitutional right to free speech, but also to acceptance as a conservative counterpoint to be heard and made part of civil political discourse. We must never allow that to happen,” Jack Tracy proclaims.
“Beyond politics, my hope for ‘Wherever You Are’ is that it inspires awareness and ultimately, encourages people to step in and help someone in trouble, rather than record it on their phone. Every single one of us in today's LGBTQ community is a politician, an ambassador, an activist and backup. We have to be.”
Jack Tracy’s “Wherever You Are” is available on iTunes, Spotify, and all major digital platforms.
Visit his website.