In honor of pride month, masked singer Orville Peck spoke out about the evolution of country music and how the genre has become more accepting. Along with Cody Alan, Brandi Carlile, Shane McAnally, Brandy Clark, Brooke Eden, T.J. Osborne, and more – the "Dead of Night" singer is moving the honky tonk scene forward by fearlessly being his true authentic self.
"I've been out since I was little," the vocalist told Variety. "I was very lucky to grow up in a family environment where I was very protected and loved for whoever I was going to be."
Behind Peck's signature masks, there's a vocalist confident in his sexuality and identity. Since breaking into the country music scene, the fast-rising artist has become a voice for the LGBTQ+ community. Within his 2022 soulful record "Bronco," the artist sings about lost love, malicious men, and being openly gay. The cowboy even called in "RuPaul's Drag Race" stars to participate in his music video for, "The Curse of the Blackened Eye." Following the music video, Peck joined forces with American drag queen Trixie Mattel to cover "Jackson" by Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter.
After using his powerful platform to share his pride, fans within the LGBTQ+ community suddenly resonated with his music. The chart-topping artist told the publication that he began to receive inspiring fan mail, who recognized the lack of representation in the genre.
"I started to receive a lot of messages and letters from gay and trans and queer fans," Peck shared with the outlet. "They would send me really beautiful, heartfelt messages saying, 'I live in Arkansas,' or 'My father was a famous rodeo star.' They would say, 'I grew up with country music all around me, but it wasn't until I listened to you that I felt like I could embrace that side of my culture because I felt really outside of it growing up.' That is what makes me feel really good about my visibility. It is a big focus of mine mostly because I now know how important it is to people who maybe didn't have the same experience that I had," he added.
Although he is a trailblazer and has seen change before his very eyes, he did not fail to point out that he has faced several obstacles while working in Nashville.
"I have definitely received my fair share of reluctance, skepticism, and aggression because I'm a gay man in the country world," he mentioned. "But I would say that it's far less than I think people would maybe imagine. I go in with an open heart and open mind. A lot of times the people in the audience who I'm nervous aren't going to accept me are dancing and singing along by the end of the show. I think the important thing that's happening in country music at the moment is there's so many more queer people and people that aren't just white straight men making country music."
The way his music brings individuals together, proves that the genre is "changing and evolving" and is a reflection on humanity today. The hitmaker stressed to SiriusXM's "Volume West," that black musicians such as Mickey Guyton, Jimmie Allen, and Kane Brown are also making a difference.
"I think now there's so much more diversity kicking the door down of country. I think it's undeniable that we all have seats at the table," Peck expressed."I absolutely feel a part of it, and I feel very, very proud and excited to be part of it. I'm just excited that I'm around to witness this beautiful evolution that country's having."
The emerging artist is currently on his U.S. and Canada trek, sharing music from his critically acclaimed collection "Bronco," with special guest The Nude Party. The Bronco Tour will run until late July and will wrap in Oakland, California. Tickets to the remaining dates are currently available for purchase, here.
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