The 36-year-old musician formed the soulful country-rock duo with his brother John back in 2012, and ever since EMI Records Nashville signed the group, the brother duo was determined to create unforgettable music and history. After seven-country Top 40 singles, three studio albums, four CMA Awards, and Seven Grammy nominations, the band continues to make history, as singer T.J. Osborne becomes the first-ever openly gay artist signed to a major country label.
For years, the singer has been openly gay to his friends, family, and a tight-knit community in Nashville. “Coming out publicly is no big deal. I am very comfortable being gay,” the singer told Time magazine during an interview. “I find myself being guarded for not wanting to talk about something that I personally don’t have a problem with. That feels so strange,” he adds.
T.J.’s reasoning is valid and understandable, as the country music scene is often associated with conservatism. Since country music is a safe haven for traditional “family values,” according to Time.
“I don’t think I’m going to get run off the stage in Chicago,” he mentioned during the interview. “But in a rural town playing a country fair? I’m curious how this will go.” Despite the potential career risk, the singer believes sharing his story is worth it for his own happiness.
“T.J. Osborne’s decision to publicly come out and share his story is a major step forward to increase LGBTQ acceptance and inclusion in the country world. He is now the only openly gay artist signed to a major country music label, and I hope that the business continues to realize that there is space for LGBTQ artists and that they can be commercially successful,” says Anthony Ramos, GLAAD’s Head of Talent. “Brothers Osborne are one of today’s most successful country music acts, and T.J.’s decision to share his true and authentic self with their many fans has the power to change hearts and minds when it comes to acceptance for the LGBTQ community.
John, the lead guitarist in the band, came out publicly to support his brother: “If I had to have all my money and success erased for my brother to be truly fulfilled in life, I wouldn’t even think about it. Not for a second.”
If you listen to their music closely, you will hear subtle messages about “inclusion” and “acceptance” in their work. In fact, if you watch the “Stay A Little Longer” music video, you will see an interracial and gay couple.
While this is a groundbreaking moment for country music, the singer hopes this life-changing decision to come out opens more creative doors and elevates his music career. “I want to get to the height of my career being completely who I am,” he said. “I mean, I am who I am, but I’ve kept a part of me muted, and it’s been stifling.”
Congratulate T.J. for being brave and for sharing his wonderful story by leaving a heartfelt message via a reaction below or tweeting us at @CS_Country.