Person 2 Person: Dan Reynolds

Person 2 Person: Dan Reynolds (Photo courtesy Utah Valley University Photographers/PHOEBE MELIKIDSE)

(KUTV) Dan Reynolds is the lead singer of Imagine Dragons, a rock band that got its start in Utah.

He is also behind the LoveLoud Foundation and music festival, which will take place July 28th at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

LoveLoud focuses on the acceptance and love of LGBTQ youth.

"I had a lot of friends growing up who were Mormon and gay and watched how hard that was for them," Reynolds said.

Reynolds is also Mormon.

The high suicide rate in Utah, especially among LGBTQ youth, alarms Reynolds.

"Our LGBTQ youth are eight times more likely to commit suicide when they're not accepted in their home or community. And it's unacceptable," Reynolds said.

Reynolds attended Brigham Young University.

"I was kicked out of BYU for having sex with my girlfriend, and that was really hard for me," he said. "I felt so much guilt and sorrow and spiraled into depression. That was a very small scale of what our LGTBQ youth go through."

But Reynolds is adamant that LoveLoud has nothing to do with religion or taking sides.

"There's no attack on anybody. This is about our LGBTQ youth. Period," he said.

Reynolds knows he may have different views than other Mormons, but is ok with that.

He also doesn't mind people knowing about his religion.

"I love it. I like to be a unique person," he said.

And he compares being Mormon to rock and roll.

"Rock and roll to me is, 'you do you, regardless of what everybody else thinks,'" he said. "And so for me, I've always seen Mormonism as punk rock."

He uses an example of going on an LDS mission.

"You get slurpees thrown at you, people spit on you, but you do it because why? You believe in it. So for me, that's just as punk rock as someone who's living their truth. That's not cool, that's not accepted," he said.

Reynolds has always loved music and knew it was his passion--and was willing to pursue it, no matter the outcome.

"I just refuse to spend the rest of my life doing something for a paycheck," he said. "I was fine if I was going to be poor for the rest of my life. A poor musician--I accepted that."

His music is known for connecting with people.

"I think of Imagine Dragons and our fans as like a culture. It's more than just these songs," he said.

He writes what he feels when he creates music.

"It's always been my journal entry," he said. "I think when you create music that's about what you feel, then when it connects with people--if it does--then you feel close to each other."

He turns to music and writing when he goes through difficult times.

"Definitely going through some changes in my life right now," he said. "I think the only way I know how to deal with that is music."

And even though music is his passion, there have been times he wanted to quit especially when Imagine Dragons found sudden popularity.

"I've never valued fame. I value anonymity, I value privacy," he said. "So for me that aspect of it has always been hard for me to deal with, and there have been moments where I'm like, 'Man, I don't want to do this anymore.'"

Another love of Reynolds' is his family. His is a father to three little girls.

"It's everything to me," he said.

Being a father has changed the way he does everything.

"I think it also put a stronger weight on me to feel like, 'You need to be an activist and what are you doing with this voice you've been given,'" he said.

The last thing he wants his daughters to remember him for is music.

"I want them to remember me for who I was, what I stood for, what I believe," he said.

For more about the LoveLoud music festival and to get tickets, visit the foundation's website.

There is also a documentary, "Believer," coming out on June 25th on HBO about LoveLoud's journey and mission. For more information, visit this site.

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