June 10, 2019 | Arts / Entertainment

Ty Herndon releases gay version of hit country single

Ty HerndonTy Herndon has had several highs, and lows, in his life.
 
The country singer burst onto the music scene in 1995 with his hit single "What Mattered Most," which went to number one on the Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. This led to a successful debut album in 1996, and two well-received follow-up albums. 
 
But Herndon's personal life was anything but a success. When his first album was charting, he was arrested in Fort Worth for soliciting an undercover cop for sex in a park. He was also found to be in possession of methamphetamine. He secured a plea deal resulting in community service and drug rehabilitation.
 
By 2000, he had been divorced twice and was no longer being played on the radio. His fourth album was consider a flop. He declared bankruptcy, got mugged in Los Angeles, and was sued by his dentist and a former manager. A few years later, he once again entered rehab.
 
In 2014, he finally came out as a gay man. And now he's revisiting his first major hit, but this time making it reflect who he is as a member of the LGBT community.
 
"You know, I'm a pretty tough bird. I've been through a lot. But that little song started it all," . 
 
"All these years of singing it one way, and then being able to sing it another with a bunch of my family and best friends sitting around — and this is the first time they heard it as well -- I'm like, 'Oh, goodness gracious, we're having church up in here. Everybody's crying.'"
 
When he used to perform the single he would imagine he was singing about his parent's love for each other, or secretly envisioning a man he was dating. Back then, he never saw coming out as an option.
 
"I went to great lengths to hide it and, you know, it almost cost me my life a couple of times," he said. "But as my awesome mom says, you know, 'We're glad we didn't lose you. But it sure did become an awesome story for you.'"
 
He added: "I was fully prepared to walk away from my career just to live authentically and live on this planet with honesty and love -- and by the grace of God, I didn't have to do that," he said. "My industry has embraced me."
 

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