Black Music Matters Festival

Herndon, Gilman come out

Thursday, November 20, 2014 – Two country singers - Ty Herndon and Billy Gilman - both came out as being gay on Thursday.

Herndon, 52, made his announcement in a story on People> magazine's web site, while Gilman, who was the youngest performer - at 12 - to ever have a hit single - posted a video.

"I'm an out, proud and happy gay man," Herndon told People.

"My mother probably knew I was gay before I did. I remember sitting down with her and having the conversation," said Herndon, who told family members when he was 20. "She was more concerned about me having a happy life. You have to be able to do that in your own skin, and (my family) has seen me struggle with being gay my whole career."

Herndon had hits with "What Mattered Most, " Living in a Moment" and "It Must Be Love." But his career derailed in 1995 when he was arrested and charged with indecent exposure for allegedly exposing himself to a police officer in Dallas. He also went into rehab about the same time.

"I'm a gay man, and I'm looking forward to living the rest of my life authentically and happy," Herndon said.

"I just want to show up for the causes that I believe in. And be able to walk down the street and hold this man's hand that will be my husband one day, and I know we'll have kids one day," he said.

Last year, he released a new album, "Lies I Told Myself." He also is looking to release a solo disc next year.

Gilman said in a video posted on his web site that he was gay. "Today, a fellow country artist and friend made it easier for me to make this vide," Gilman said. "I want my fans who have stood by me for many many years to know."

He said that when the Rhode Island native would go back to Nashville, there were rumors about his sexuality. Efforts to secure a recording deal failed. "If people don't like your music, that's one thing," said Gilman, who sold more than 5 million records. "I know something was wrong when no major label wanted to sit down and have a meeting." He also said he did a showcase in Nashville, but no labels showed up.

"It's pretty silly to know I'm ashamed of doing this because I'm in a genre, in an industry, that's ashamed of me for being me," he said. He said Keith Urban, Vince Gill, LeAnn Rimes have been "supportive...not that they knew."

"I can honestly say I'm scared to death," he said. "Now that I've found my place as a person, that only makes the music that much better...I felt it was time for me to be honest and to be truthful."

Gilman was discovered by Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel at age 9. Gilman first made a splash at age 12 with the song "One Voice," which eventually was certified Double Platinum.

Female singer Chely Wright previously came out as being gay.

More news for Ty Herndon

CD reviews for Ty Herndon

Steam
Ty Herndon appears to be making a play to become the next Tom Jones - only with a drawl. But while songs like the title cut, and the striptease of Randy Newman's "You Can Leave Your Hat On" work up a light sweat, don't expect all of Jones' fans to suddenly start throwing their hotel keys Herndon's way. That's because this man, who began as a childhood gospel singer, is just too darn polite to come right out and demand sex. Besides, he sounds way too conflicted. He opens with a song that warns »»»
Big Hopes
Country music now resembles early Sixties American pop, with producers the real artists and singers merely interchangeable faces on record sleeves. As long as Ty Herndon's nice voice and face can front a hit, he's good for another 100,000 miles of touring and audio tape. Byron Gallimore, who produced Tim McGraw's smashes, helms 6 of 11 cuts here, while Doug Johnson, Herndon's first producer, handles five. Gallimore scores bigger with a "smaller" sound. On the title track and "Thinkin' With My »»»