Country singer Ty Herndon is celebrating same-sex love and Pride by releasing a gay-focused song.
Herndon has recently re-released his hit song “What Mattered Most” from 1995, but this time the song has lyrics focused on same-sex love.
The original song’s lyrics went, “If she was sad, I couldn’t tell” and “I thought I knew the girl so well.” But the new version of the song uses male pronouns for lines like, “His eyes are blue / His hair is long.”
Back in 2014, Herndon came out as gay. When he did, Herndon feared being ostracized from country music. Thankfully, the conservative-based music genre and scene isn’t as exclusive as Herndon feared.
“I was really prepared to walk away from it all, but I didn’t have to do that,” Herndon told NPR.
Then talking to HuffPost, Herndon shared that he wants to show LGBTQ youth just how inclusive Nashville and country music can be.
“I can’t tell you how many times I hear them say, ‘We want to like country music ― we just don’t think it likes us,’” he said. “I was diffidently looking for a way to celebrate the song’s birthday. So this seemed like the perfect idea.”
Herndon isn’t the only openly gay country singer to appear within the past few years. Singer-songwriter Brandon Stansell shared his coming out story through his music video Hometown, and the song received CMT airplay. Then, Cameron Hawthorn’s music video for Dancing in the Living went viral earlier this year. And finally, Nathan Ramos gave us all kinds of inclusivity and diversity with his single “Gay Asian Country Love Song.”
As for Herndon’s re-released song, he says that its purpose has evolved with him. While the song was originally thought of as an expression of his parents’ “great love story,” Herndon’s new version is focused on his own life and love.
“I’ve sat down and listened to both of them carefully, and I can tell you: There was the kid singing the other song,” said Herndon. “There was the grown-up man that was a lot more emotional and living in his authentic skin singing this song.”
“That’s how I made it a living, breathing thing for me when I would perform it,” Herndon continued. “But at the time, I was also in a relationship with a beautiful boy. His hair was long and his eyes were blue. So, I did think about him quite a bit.”
Happy Pride to Ty Herndon, his parents, and his former lover. Love is love, and every form is beautiful.