Brothers Osborne‘s T.J. Osborne had something to say to his “Younger Me” during a heartfelt introduction at the 2021 Country Music Association (CMA) Awards Wednesday evening (Nov. 10) live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
T.J. came out as gay earlier this year in a Time interview, making him one of the few openly gay country artists to be signed to a major label (EMI Nashville). And toward the end of the awards show, he told the audience how proud his younger self would be of the man he is today.
“Being up here on this stage, there were so many things that were so many hurdles for me. And I always felt, truthfully felt, like it would never be possible because of my sexuality to be here. And I just wish, I wish my younger me could see me now,” T.J. said while sitting on a stool before getting up and joining his brother John for a tender performance of “Younger Me.”
Prior to Brothers Osborne accepting the 2021 CMA award for vocal duo of the year, the 36-year-old artist kissed his boyfriend, Abi Ventura, whom reps confirmed has been dating T.J. for more than a year.
In his interview with Time, T.J. revealed how his identity has influenced his music. “I realize that it is a big part of who I am: The way I think, the way I act, the way I perform. God, think of all the times that we talk about love, and write about love. It’s the biggest thing we ever get to feel,” he told the publication. “I’ve done more than I ever thought I would. At this point, my happiness is more valuable than anything else I’d ever be able to achieve.”
Two-time entertainer of the year winner Luke Bryan made his hosting debut at the 55th annual CMA Awards.