On Wednesday, Brothers Osborne bandmate T.J. Osborne was the subject of an in-depth TIME profile, in which he came out as gay.
That made him the first artist signed to a major country label to publicly discuss being gay — a historic step for the genre as a whole, as well as a major step for T.J., the singer later stated in an Instagram video message to his fans.
“I know it’s gonna help my relationship with my fans, with my family, and honestly, it’s gonna help my relationship with myself,” he said in the clip.
Thursday morning, T.J. appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to further reflect on his experience.
“I’m trying not to cry on national television right now,” the singer joked, explaining what an empowering and emotional process it had been. “…I instantaneously felt like I wished I had done this a long time ago.”
He added, “I expected a wave of love from family and friends. I did not expect it to feel the way it felt. I think it’s one thing when you just know and assume that people love you, and it’s different when you hear it and hear it with sincerity. Right now, I feel so incredibly loved.”
T.J. goes on to say that while he expected to feel support from his friends and closest musical pals, he wound up being surprised by positive reactions from people he wouldn’t necessarily have expected to hear from.
“People that I feel personify masculinity and the straight culture to the nth degree, coming out with a lot of pride for me,” he explains.
Still, T.J. says in the interview, he knows that there may be challenges ahead, especially once touring resumes and Brothers Osborne play shows in more rural, conservative areas.
By Carena Liptak
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