Brothers Osborne's lead singer T.J. Osborne has come out publicly as gay. While family and close friends have known for years, a new interview finds the 36-year-old songwriter talking about it for the first time.

Osborne spoke with Time about the decision, saying that in some ways coming out publicly is not a big deal because he's very comfortable being gay. "I find myself being guarded for not wanting to talk about something that I personally don’t have a problem with," he says. "That feels so strange."

A list of gay country singers and songwriters finding success as an artist on the mainstream level is short — Osborne becomes one of the very few signed to a major or large independent record labels. Brooke Eden, who just revealed she is gay in January, is signed to BBR Music Group. Brandy Clark had previously been signed to Warner Music where her 2016 song "Girl Next Door" peaked inside the Top 40 on airplay charts.

Brothers Osborne guitarist John Osborne tells Time he was emotional when his brother, T.J., first told him. This was after he'd signed a publishing deal and around the time they signed a record deal. The pair have been inclusive with their art and conversation since. The music video for "Stay a Little Longer" featured a gay couple, something that stood out as a first in mainstream country music at the time. Their single "21 Summer" was written about a relationship T.J. had with a man who broke his heart, although that wasn't made public until 2021.

"If I had to have all my money and success erased for my brother to be truly fulfilled in life, I wouldn’t even think about it. Not for a second," John says.

T.J. says he's not worried about the response he'll get from fans in metropolitan areas, but says it will be interesting to see how crowds at rural venues and fairs respond. He's hopeful that radio programmers won't change their opinion of him — Brothers Osborne's single "All Night" sits just inside the Top 30 at the moment — but he doesn't sound too worried about the consequences if they do. The decision to come out now came after some deep introspection.

"I want to get to the height of my career being completely who I am," the Maryland native says. "I mean, I am who I am, but I've kept a part of me muted, and it's been stifling."

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