As a live performer, he gained popularity while playing honky-tonks in Texas, and in 1993 he was named Texas Entertainer of the Year. That honor led to interest from Music Row and a record deal with Epic Records. Herndon made his chart debut in 1995 with “What Mattered Most,” which became his first No. 1 song and garnered a Song of the Year award (Music Row Magazine). It was also the title track to his debut album, which debuted on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and had the biggest first-week shipment in the history of Epic Records’ Nashville.
Between 1995 and 2002, Herndon charted 17 singles, including his three No.1s and numerous top 10 hits, such as “I Want My Goodbye Back,” “Loved Too Much,” “A Man Holding On,” and “Hands of a Working Man.” He topped the charts in 1996 with the single “Living in a Moment” and again in 1998 with “It Must Be Love.”
In 2010, Herndon released his album, Journey On. The album was heralded as the most personal project of Herndon’s career, due in large part to the fact that the project represented his first foray into songwriting. The songs reflected the personal challenges and struggles Herndon faced and conquered, and delivered on the promise of hope and new beginnings. The album received critical acclaim and earned him a Grammy nomination and his first Dove award.
Returning to his roots in country music and demonstrating his growth as an artist, Herndon released Lies I Told Myself in 2013. With the album, he found a new platform for bonding with fans. He invited the public to participate in his album launch via a well-publicized Kickstarter campaign that allowed fan investors to be involved both financially and emotionally. The end result was a testimony to Herndon’s affinity for connection; devotees more than doubled the original funding goal.
In November of 2014, Ty Herndon became the first major male country artist to publicly come out as gay. Shortly after, he made history when he hosted the first-of- its-kind country music event, titled The Concert for Love and Acceptance. The event, designed to bring attention and support to at-risk youth and acceptance, received national attention from Boston Globe, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Tonight, People Magazine and more. Herndon received an outpouring of support that only strengthened his relationship with fans. Using his celebrity influence for the better good, Herndon is in the planning stages of a new coalition called RALY, (Rescue A Life Y’all) to help save lives and raise awareness for those with addiction or identity issues. A philanthropist at heart, Herndon has also donated his time to organizations such as the Trevor Project, Make A Wish, St. Jude, GLAAD, HRC and Feed the Children.
One of his most recent acts of giving back was lending his vocals on the tribute track, “Hands.” The single, released through Interscope Records in conjunction with GLAAD, is a musical tribute to the victims of the recent shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Herndon was among a star-studded list of artists, including Mary J. Blige, Jason Derulo, Selena Gomez, Imagine Dragons, Jennifer Lopez, Kacey Musgraves, P!nk, Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani, Meghan Trainer and more, voicing support for the LGBT community in the original song. Proceeds from the track benefit Equality Florida Pulse Victims Fund, the LGBT Community Center of Central Florida, and GLAAD.
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