Orville Peck Opens Up About His Country Music Journey

Since releasing his debut album Pony in 2019, country singer Orville Peck has become known for hiding his face behind his signature fringed mask, but also for laying his heart out in his music.

In 2020, he released a duet with Shania Twain called “Legends Never Die,” and later teamed with Trixie Mattel for a rendition of the Johnny Cash/June Carter classic “Jackson.” He also put his own country-tinged spin on Lady Gaga’s 2011 hit “Born This Way,” and released a series of followup EPs leading up to this year’s full-length album Bronco.

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Peck recently opened up to Variety about not only his music, but also his journey as an openly gay country artist. Peck told the outlet that while he’s “received my fair share of reluctance, skepticism and aggression because I’m a gay man in the country world,” he added, “I would say it’s far less than I think people would maybe imagine.” Recalling playing country music festivals in more conservative-leaning states, he said, “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.”

Peck is heartened to see a growing number of country artists, including Brooke Eden, Lily Rose and Brothers Osborne’s TJ Osborne, being open about their own sexuality.

“We’ve always been there, but a lot of us are now more kind of in the mainstream,” Peck says. “It’s just a matter of time that that slowly chips away at the belief systems that some of these country fans have in place, these kind of maybe bigoted ideas. I think if we keep our heads held high and we keep together and we keep doing what we’re doing and being authentic, I like to believe that it will hopefully not only change the landscape of country music, but it’ll also help change the cycle of racism and homophobia.”

He has also seen the impact his music and career have had on gay, trans and queer fans of country music, saying, “They would send me really beautiful, heartfelt messages…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.”

Peck recently played Stagecoach and Coachella and is set to perform at the new Palomino Festival in July.

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Angelia S. Rico

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