Performing at Saturday’s GLADD Media Awards in New York, country singer Ty Herndon chose to cover a song that speaks to his own coming out story.
“It’s an honor to be doing my part for love and acceptance. It’s an honor to be here tonight,” Herndon said from the stage, which he shared with guitarist Kristin Henderson-Ellis (of alt-country group Antigone Rising) and country singer-guitarist Anita Cochran. Herndon performed an emotion-filled version of “The Climb,” the award-winning 2009 Miley Cyrus hit that was a Top Five pop smash and reached the Top Thirty on the country chart, as well. Penned by Jessi Alexander and Jon Mabe, the multi-million-seller was featured in Cyrus’s Hannah Montana: The Movie.
The song’s lyrics seem tailor-made for Herndon, who has been in a relationship with his partner, Matt Collum, for more than six years. “The struggles I’m facing, the chances I’m taking/ Sometimes might knock me down, but no, I’m not breaking,” he sang, backed a gospel trio.
GLAAD, the nation’s leading LGBT media advocacy organization, honored talk show host Kelly Ripa and journalist Thomas Roberts at the May 9th gala, commending the two as media allies of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
Next month, the Grammy-nominated Herndon will co-host Nashville’s first-ever Concert for Love and Acceptance with political commentator and author Meghan McCain. Performers and special guests at the event will include country legend Crystal Gayle, Billy Gilman (who came out the same day as Herndon), Jamie O’Neal, Shelly Fairchild, contemporary Christian singer Jennifer Knapp, American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle and songwriter Desmond Child.
Herndon hopes the event will “help encourage an environment that will make it easier for young people at risk to get help and feel comfortable about who they are and not have to go through the same struggles that I have faced,” he writes in a statement.
The concert, with proceeds benefiting GLAAD’s work to accelerate acceptance, will take place during the upcoming CMA Music Festival. Buy tickets here.