"Baring It All with Call Me Adam" Podcast: Episode #9: Ty Herndon
In this episode of Baring It All with Call Me Adam, I sit down with Grammy nominated, Country Music singer/songwriter, Ty Herndon. We talk about his new album Got It Covered, being the first major male country singer to publicly come out as gay, love, life, and everything in between!
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More than 20 years into his career, Herndon has a passion and commitment to his music that continues to play out in his lyrics. “If I haven’t lived it, I haven’t sung it” as Herndon says.
Having a career spanning two decades, 20 Billboard charted singles and five million albums sold, Ty sees no signs of slowing down. For those who know him, his passion and commitment to music is not surprising. He continuously performs shows and withholds a heavy appearance schedule; proving Ty as unstoppable.
Raised in Butler, Alabama, Ty has been a professional entertainer since his teenage years. At age 17, he performed at OPRYLAND USA as a cast member of Today’s Country Roads. He went on to be a finalist in the first season of the now iconic television series, Star Search and was a winner in the male-vocalist category. This accolade led to appearances on numerous television shows and commercials.
As a live performer, he gained popularity while playing the honky tonks in Texas, and in 1993 he was named Texas Entertainer of the Year. That honor led to interest from Music Row and a record deal with Epic Records. Ty made his chart debut in 1995 with “What Mattered Most,” which became his first No. 1 song and garnered a Song of the Year award (Music Row Magazine). It was also the title track to his debut album, which debuted on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and had the biggest first-week shipment in the history of Epic Records’ Nashville.
Between 1995 and 2002, Ty charted 17 singles, including his three No.1s and numerous top 10 hits, such as “I Want My Goodbye Back,” “Loved Too Much,” “A Man Holding On,” and “Hands of a Working Man.” He topped the charts in 1996 with the single “Living in a Moment” and again in 1998 with “It Must Be Love.”
In 2010, Ty released his album, Journey On. The album was heralded as the most personal project of Ty’s career, due in large part to the fact that the CD represented his first foray into songwriting. The songs on the project reflected the personal challenges and struggles Ty faced and conquered, as well as brought the listener the promise of hope and new beginnings. The album received critical acclaim and earned him a Grammy nomination and his first Dove award nomination and win.
Returning to his original style that delivered him success and demonstrating his growth as an artist, Ty released Lies I Told Myself in 2013. With the album, he found a new platform for bonding with fans. He invited the public to participate in his album launch via a well-publicized Kickstarter campaign that allowed fan investors to be involved both financially and emotionally. The end result was a testimony to Ty’s affinity for connection; devotees more than doubled the original funding goal.
Shortly after, in November of 2014, Ty Herndon was the first major male country artist to publicly come out as gay. Shortly after, he made history when he hosted the first-of- its-kind country music event, titled The Concert for Love and Acceptance. The event, designed to bring attention and support to at-risk youth and acceptance, received national attention from Boston Globe, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Tonight, and more. Ty received an outpouring of support that only strengthened his relationship with fans. Since the launch of the event, Ty has partnered with GLAAD to produce the event each year. Using his celebrity influence for the better good, GLAAD announced that a grant, named after Ty, was being offered to support young people for their commitment to enhancing LGBTQ inclusion and representation in music. The recipient of the Ty Herndon Rising Stars Grant receives $2,500 to further fund their work and initiatives. A philanthropist at heart, Ty has also donated his time to organizations such as the Trevor Project, Make A Wish, St. Jude, GLAAD, HRC and Feed the Children.
One of his most recent acts of giving was lending his vocals on the tribute track, “Hands.” The single, released through Interscope Records in conjunction with GLAAD, is a musical tribute to the victims of the recent shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Ty was among a star-studded list of artists, including Mary J. Blige, Jason Derulo, Selena Gomez, Imagine Dragons, Jennifer Lopez, Kacey Musgraves, P!nk, RuPaul, Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani, Meghan Trainer and more, voicing support for the LGBT community in the original song. Proceeds from the track benefit Equality Florida Pulse Victims Fund, the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, and GLAAD.
In 2017, Ty released a much-anticipated, full-length album, titled House On Fire. The album received rave reviews from critics and journalists all over. The album is a collection of 12 new songs, co-produced by Ty and Nashville stalwart Erik Halbig, that shows a deeper, greater strength from a man who has been there and back and lived to tell about it. Ty is credited for co-writing six of the 12 tracks.
In 2018, Ty was honored with the HRC Visibility Award at the HRC Nashville Equality Dinner. The HRC Visibility Award, awarded by the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, Human Rights Campaign (HRC),recognizes the outstanding efforts of those who use their talent and visibility to help better the lives of LGBTQ people.
Ty just released his latest album Got It Covered. The 10-track album, released through BFD/The Orchard, is a compilation album featuring re-imagined hits and covers of some of Ty’s most favorite songs. In addition, an alternative version of his 1995 debut single and his first Number One, “What Mattered Most,” is also on the highly-anticipated new release.