Country singer Ty Herndon teamed up with GLAAD to put on the Concert for Love & Acceptance in Nashville on Thursday (June 6), which featured performances from Chris Daughtry, Lee Brice and many more stars. Ahead of the event, Herndon spoke with Billboard on the red carpet, touching on the recent re-release of his song “What Mattered Most” and why it means so much to him to have the support of straight country artists.
Earlier this week, Herndon (who came out as gay in 2014) made headlines when he reissued his 1995 song “What Mattered Most” with new pronouns. The singer tells Billboard that as he's traveled the country speaking with children over the last four years he is constantly asked why country music doesn’t like them.
“It breaks my heart a little bit because I know in my heart that that's not completely true,” he says. “With the new generation of country, everyone's embraced. So, for that 14-year-old kid sitting at home and perhaps watching this interview, or just searching YouTube… I've been really lucky. I've been successful in country music... To have these kids hear me sing it that way, I feel like is a great birthday present to the song, quite honestly.”
In the interview, Herndon also discusses why it means so much to him that straight country artists are supporting LGBTQ country artists. “It's the affirming hearts of the straight folks that really can make such a difference out there, because showing up and letting other people know… I love it when I have an affirming heart in a group full of queer folks and we're able to all be a family,” he says.
“If we could just do that everywhere, wouldn't that be amazing? So, when I go to schools and colleges and talk to parents today, I just, I kinda preach and teach that.”
You can watch the full video interview with Ty Herndon above.