The power of the video, far beyond the tabloid tease, is the conventional frankness with which it depicts same-sex attraction. Coming from an artist signed to a Nashville major label, it is deeply striking.
“There was never any pushback from the label,” Sparr said. “But the greater feeling of everyone I talked to was like, I can’t believe you guys are going to pull this off.”
There, again, is Wade’s discipline at work, steadily walking a path few before her have tried, emphasizing the representational value of the video while also toying with the story, real or imaginary, of her and Richards’s bond. And having been on the receiving end of scrutiny for the last several weeks, Wade has finally emerged on the other side, emboldened.
“I don’t know why we’re in this day and time where we have to speculate about people’s sexuality,” she said, emphatically. “That is not appropriate at all. Like, let anybody be what they want to be — it’s none of your damn business.”
She has more pressing things in front of her — an ultramarathon in November, just a couple of weeks before she is scheduled to undergo a double mastectomy (following a positive test for a BRCA mutation, a genetic risk for breast cancer). And she has already written a dozen songs for her next album.
“Back to basics,” she said of the challenge of articulating the new, post-spotlight version of herself. “Taking elements of who I used to be and those core fundamental things and finding out like, Hmm. What I believed then and thought then, that part of me doesn’t exist anymore.” But, she added, there are some things “that I’m going to keep that didn’t die.”