‘The Kentucky Gentlemen’ Open Up on Breaking Barriers in Country Music

The Kentucky Gentlemen are a country singer-songwriter duo formed by twin brothers Brandon and Derek Campbell, who are openly gay, African American artists from Nashville.

(c) Instagram: @thekygentlemen

The two of them aim to improve diversity and inclusion in country music, and the brothers opened up about it in an interview with WSMV4. According to Brandon,


“Our goal is honestly just in all realms of performing and writing is just staying true to our authentic selves, surrounding ourselves with like-minded people who also embrace authenticity, and we take that, and that’s where a lot of our music comes from – just combining so much of what you love and knowing who you are.”

The Campbell twins admitted that being openly gay and African American are two factors that can make their journey to country music stardom quite challenging.

“It’s a lot for people to witness two grown Black men – who happen to have some muscles and look good – walk in a room and stand in their truth,” Brandon further expressed.

Moreover, the brothers shared their struggles in the industry, including having to take off show lineups at the very last minute. According to Derek,


“Within our 10 years it has taken us a long time for us to find our community because we haven’t really been accepted as quickly as our counterparts or even our like close friends who are white and play country music.”

Despite the difficulties, Brandon and Derek are resolute on breaking barriers through their music in a traditionally white, heterosexual genre. 

“As much as we face that, we know the music speaks for itself, for sure. And people feel that. I think people feel that through our music. Honestly, waking up and going at it being who we are every day is no different than waking up our whole lives being Black and gay in America, so it’s not anything that we aren’t used to. So we just stay in the face of it every day, keep riding, keep getting through it,” Derek expressed.

The Kentucky Gentlemen released their debut EP in 2022, and it landed them a spot as one of the five artists included in Black Opry’s “Artists To Watch” Residency. One of the songs included in their The Kentucky Gentlemen, Vol. 1 EP is “Whatever You’re Up For,” and you can watch the official music video here:

Source: wsmv.com

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