Six weeks after coming out as gay to TIME, TJ Osborne admits there were some things he wasn’t expecting, as he became the first mainstream country artist with a major label deal to publicly acknowledge his homosexuality.
“A lot of things I’ve been surprised by,” the lead singer of Brothers Osborne told a group of Nashville journalists. “First of all, granted on social media — I haven’t really seen it in real life when we were going out to perform — but the positivity was a lot more than I thought it would be.”
The “All Night” hitmaker reveals some of the support he couldn’t have predicted.
“The other thing that really surprised me was how many straight dudes were like, ‘Right on, brother!’…” he continues. “I’m good buds with Jon Pardi, but I did not expect him to be like, ‘Hell yeah!’… That was a shock to me.”
“I knew this straight dude over here had my back and he’s had my back for a long time,” he says, referring to his brother John. “I thought it was really awesome, like Cole Swindell and a lot of those people who for no reason were giving their seal of approval.”
“And truly, I didn’t even think I needed to hear it, but I did,” TJ reflects. “And that was a surprise and a really beautiful thing to experience.”
“And then straight fans who were like, ‘Hey, me and my girlfriend, we’ve seen you like eight times and we love [you] and we’re still coming to your shows,'” he adds.
Ultimately, TJ says he now feels “incredibly happy” to be living his life transparently, as well as more protective of the LGBTQ+ community than ever before.
Next up, Brothers Osborne vie for Album of the Year for Skeletons at April’s ACM Awards.
By Stephen Hubbard
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