“I don’t want to live my life closeted”: US country-rock siblings Brothers Osborne on sexuality and overcoming personal turmoil

Brothers Osborne in 2018
(Image credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/ACMA2018/Getty Images for ACM)

In the new issue of Classic Rock, Nashville-based siblings Brothers Osborne take us through the trials and tribulations of their personal lives over recent years. It’s been a period that has led to the best record yet from brothers TJ and John, who tell Classic Rock’s Bill DeMain that their new self-titled effort is them at their purest. “Art should reflect life,” explains John. “It’s not like we we weren’t who we are on earlier records, but we weren’t fully who we are. Now we just feel like we have no limitations.”

For TJ, it has been a time in which he has come out as gay whilst John has had to overcome mental health struggles. “There’s definitely a fear of putting yourself out there in full light due to running the risk of judgment,” says TJ of the conservative vibes around the country music scene in the US. “I’d gotten so good at dancing around my sexuality and personal life in interviews, I didn’t realise what a daily weight it had become.” “For me, with my mental health stuff, I felt like I was always walking along the edge of a cliff,” adds John.

It had always been TJ’s plan to come out but, he explains, it was hard to find a moment that felt right. “Before we got signed I told John that I intend on coming out at some point because I don’t want to live my life closeted,” he says in the feature. “It took a lot longer than I thought it would. I didn’t want it to seem opportunistic. There are so few things in life that go the way you want them to, but that happened how we wanted it to happen.”

Also in the interview, the brothers guide us through their early years, explain how their new album came together and explain that their live shows are where people from opposing sides of the political fence can come together. To read the full feature, pick up a copy of the new issue of Classic Rock here.

The cover of Classic Rock 321

(Image credit: Future)
Niall Doherty

Niall Doherty is a writer and editor whose work can be found in Classic Rock, The Guardian, Music Week, FourFourTwo, on Apple Music and more. Formerly the Deputy Editor of Q magazine, he co-runs the music Substack letter The New Cue with fellow former Q colleagues Ted Kessler and Chris Catchpole. He is also Reviews Editor at Record Collector. Over the years, he's interviewed some of the world's biggest stars, including Elton John, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Robert Plant and more. Radiohead was only for eight minutes but he still counts it.