Country superstar T.J. Osborne, lead singer for the popular country duo The Brothers Osborne is ready to live his most authentic life. In a new profile in Time, Osborne, whose band with his brother John, has been nominated for Grammys and won several CMA Awards, has come out as gay.
The 36-year-old singer formed the band back in 2012, and since then has been a mainstay on country radio. Now, he says it's time to be who he is in public. "I'm very comfortable being gay," he told Time, "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."
According to the profile, Osborne is the first out gay artist signed to a major country label. While other country and country-adjacent artists like Lil Nas X, Brandi Carlile, Chely Wright, Orville Peck, and Brandy Clark have been making music while being out, they are not on specifically country labels.
While he's been out to his brother for years, Osborne's not exactly sure how fans will react to the news. "People will ask, 'Why does this even need to be talked about?' and personally, I agree with that," he said in the profile. "But for me to show up at an awards show with a man would be jaw-dropping to people. It wouldn't be like, 'Oh, cool!" He's even more worried about how things will go once the band can tour again.
"I don't think I'm going to get run off the stage in Chicago," he added. "But in a rural town playing a county fair? I'm curious how this will go."
One of the band's hit songs "21 Summer," is actually about a relationship Osborne had in his early twenties when he was still closeted. "I was so mad that no one know why I was hurting," he said." But now he no longer has to be alone in those feelings. "There are so many times I've sung that song and wanted to cry," he said. "People love that song, but the emotion of it is deeper than they even realize."
Osborne is excited for the freedom that being out will bring him. "I realize that it is a big part of who I am: the way I think, the way I act, the way I perform," he said, "God, think of all the times that we talk about love, and write about love. It's the biggest thing we ever get to feel. And I've kept the veil on."
The veil is off now, and we can't wait to see what Osborne does now that we can see his whole face.