Ty Herndon to Appear on Oprah’s Where Are They Now? Airing Feb. 4
Enjoy a sneak-peak performance of “House On Fire” from the episode here
(Nashville, Tenn. – January 31, 2017) – Grammy-nominated and Dove Award winning artist, Ty Herndon will appear this Saturday, Feb. 4 on Oprah’s Where Are They Now?, airing on The Oprah Winfrey Network at 10/9c p.m.
The country-recording artist will share stories about his journey; a reflection on the personal challenges and struggles he’s faced and conquered, and how he’s continuously bettered himself as a musician by telling his truth through his music. Herndon will also discuss his latest studio album, House On Fire.
Herndon released his latest and most ambitious album to date, House on Fire, in November of 2016. The album is a collection of 12 songs, co-produced by Herndon and Nashville stalwart, Erik Halbig, that shows a deeper, greater strength from a man who has been there and back and lived to tell about it. Herndon is credited for co-writing six of the 12 tracks. The album has received critical accolades from the Nashville music community and beyond including USA Today, People, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone Country, Sounds Like Nashville and more.
A philanthropist at heart, Herndon has donated his time to organizations such as the Trevor Project, Make A Wish, St. Jude, GLAAD, HRC and Feed the Children. “Fighter,” a focal track from House On Fire, has garnered attention for having benefitted The Trevor Project, a national organization close to Herndon’s heart that provides crisis intervention and prevention throughout the LGBTQ community.
Herndon’s 20-year career has resulted in an impressive string of hits, including four No. 1’s (“What Mattered Most,” “Living in a Moment,” “It Must Be Love,” “Loved Too Much”), as well as numerous Top 10 hits, including “I Want My Goodbye Back,” “Loved Too Much,” “A Man Holding On (To a Woman Letting Go),” and “Hands of a Working Man.” He’s acquired 20 Billboard charted singles to his credit, numerous industry awards, and more than five million albums sold.
House on Fire is Ty Herndon’s eighth career studio album. As I listened to the album for the first time, it was like meeting up with an old friend and listening as he told me about his life experiences. He always was able to convey a lot of feeling with his compelling lyrics and charismatic voice. As I listened to his new album, I was reminded of another time, in another place.
It was during an interview back in 2004, I asked him if he could change anything in the music business, what would it be? His instantaneous reply was, “That everyone would be heard.” The compassion in his voice, and the determination on his face as he responded, lead me to believe he wasn’t only talking about music. He was a man on a mission, one soulful voice, hoping to make a difference in the world and considering his previous tenacity and resolve, I predicted he would succeed. Judging by the things we know about him now, and after listening to his newest album, I’m thinking I may have missed my calling as a pschyic.
The album, co-produced by Herndon and Erik Halbig, with Drew Davis as co-producer on six of the songs, gives a voice to Herndon’s wish that “everyone would be heard”. He takes full advantage of his powerful and marvelous voice to deliver lyrics that are destined to be meaningful to everyone who hears them. How is he able to deliver so much reality and passion via a song? The answer is simple, “If I haven’t lived it, I haven’t sung it,” he says.
Herndon addresses that feeling of brokenness on the title track, House on Fire, his first release since publicly coming out in late 2014. “I still replay those words / Only ten years old and hate is what I heard from that loving church / and there’s no salvation on the road you’re taking / and a kid like you ain’t worth saving,” he sings. “It took me two days to write that song because I kept getting so emotional that I had to walk out of the room,” he recalls. “Halfway through the process, my co-writers were feeling it too. I knew at that moment that I was not only writing my story, but I was writing a lot of people’s stories with these songs. All the pressure I’d felt just flew out the window at that point because I knew that my truth was a lot of people’s’ truth.”
“Stick With What I Know” is a stand out track for me. His voice on this track is the one that first caught my attention all those years ago and this song is one of those melodious tunes with simple lyrics that encourages you to sing along. Yep! I’ll “Stick With What I Know”.
Another stand out track for me is “Fighter”.
Between 1995 and 2002, Herndon charted seventeen singles, including his three No.1s and numerous top ten hits. He topped the charts again in 1996 with the single “Living in a Moment” and again in 1998 with “It Must Be Love.” In 2010, Herndon released the album, Journey On. It was his first venture into songwriting and not only did he receive a lot of critical acclaim, he earned a Grammy nomination and his first Dove award.
Longtime fans will love the new album. His dramatic vocals and heartfelt lyrics are what took his debut single, “What Mattered Most,” to number one and that same genuine passion for life and love is discernible on each of the twelve tracks. He told Rolling Stone, “I’m a country artist. And I’m a country artist who happens to be gay and some days I feel like I’m walking very thin line with it,” he says. “But I’m just trying to stay true to who I am and the music I’m making.”
Well Mr. Herndon, I was smitten by your incredible voice back in 1996 and I still am. I think I’m like the majority of your fans. We get it. We get you. And we are comforted by your voice, your lyrics, your music, your songs, because you are singing our lives.
“I want anybody, from any walk of life, to hear this record and put their own stories into it while still hearing mine.” Ty Herndon
REVIEW BY: NutsAboutCountry.com
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It’s been a memorable two years for country singer Ty Herndon. He has joined only a handful of country artists who have been brave enough to publicly come out as gay — a secret he hid through the height of his career in the early and mid-1990s. He also hit No. 1 with his debut single, “What Mattered Most,” and charted over a dozen songs during that decade. Eventually, he disappeared from the airwaves and battled with some personal issues that landed him in drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
Now, with his past behind him and his own personal truth in the open, Herndon has crafted an album that truly signals his return to country music.
House on Fire is Herndon’s eighth career studio album, which reclaims the magic that was sprinkled throughout his first three records. Overall, the project has a more polished and obvious Top 40 production behind it. That isn’t a complaint, though. Herndon’s pure yet twangy voice has always been the main element that has infused the country sound into every song.
From the first note of opening track “That Kind of Night,” listeners are taken through an uplifting and purely joyful mix of love songs, biting anthems and unapologetic goodbyes. It’s one of his strongest collections of records since 1998’s Big Hopes, which produced three Top 5 tracks.
Of course, country music has changed a lot since 1998 — and so has Herndon. But the themes ingrained in these songs are likely to connect just as strongly with country fans as his earlier works. That’s likely in part a result of Herndon’s efforts to shy away from specifically referencing males or females in the songs. Although he happens to be a gay man, Herndon’s music is for everyone.
“What’s different about this record is that it’s gender-free,” Herndon told Wide Open Country earlier this year. “If you’re a diehard country fan who’s married woman with nine kids in Des Moines, or if you’re an LGBT person in Chicago, you’re going to hear your life in this record.”
Instead of focusing on gender, Herndon chooses to dial into the situations we’ve all been in. From the rush and fear of taking the next step in “Just Friends,” to the satisfaction of telling off an awful ex in “If You,” Herndon becomes the narrator of our lives.
It’s hard to pinpoint a handful of standout tracks, because like any great album, this one is meant to be heard all the way through.
by Lorie Liebig for Wide Open Country
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Longtime fans of Ty Herndon will hear much to enjoy on his new album, House on Fire, which releases Friday, Nov. 11. His expressive vocals, the surging romance of his lyrics — all the things that put him on the map with his No. 1 debut single What Mattered Most are evident on each of its 12 tracks.
But there are differences. Listen closely to Just Friends, with its nod to “our little secret,” or the promise that “tonight we’re gonna do whatever we want to do” on All Night Tonight, or the admonition “don’t tell” on Sweet Way To Go. For all their expressions of love and intimacy, there’s no reference at all to gender.
Mention that to Herndon, 54, and he chuckles. “You got me,” he acknowledges. “But it wasn’t planned. When we were writing these songs, Erik (Halbig, producer) pointed that out. And I said, ‘Man, there are no accidents.’ I want anybody, from any walk of life, to hear this record and put their own stories into it while still hearing mine.”
Ty Herndon, right, shows off his shoes as Matt Collum
Ty Herndon, right, shows off his shoes as Matt Collum watches on the red carpet for the 50th CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena. (Photo: George Walker IV, The Tennessean/USA TODAY Sports)
The latest chapter in Herndon’s story began just two years ago, when he came out as gay — the first major male country performer to take that step. While House on Fire proves that his musical essence hasn’t changed, his message has evolved, mostly through details in his writing but, on the title track, much more frankly and powerfully.
“It took me two days to write that song because I kept getting so emotional that I had to walk out of the room,” he recalls. “Halfway through the process, my co-writers were feeling it too. I knew at that moment that I was not only writing my story, but I was writing a lot of people’s stories with these songs. All the pressure I’d felt just flew out the window at that point because I knew that my truth was a lot of people’s’ truth.”
Herndon savors the exhilaration of being able to live openly with his partner Matt Collum and the opportunities he’s found for counseling homeless youth, working with GLAAD and other worthy pursuits. Yet at heart, he insists, he’s pretty much what he’s always been … only more so.
“If I ever make it to Carnegie Hall, I’m not gonna preach — I’m just gonna sing,” he insists. “There’s a time and place for everything
by Bob Doerschuk, Special for USA TODAY
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Once you listen to House On Fire, the forthcoming disc from Ty Herndon, you might be struck by somewhat of a different sound from what you’re expecting from the singer of such hits as “What Mattered Most” and “Living In A Moment.” The singer tells Sounds Like Nashville that one of the most iconic performers in the genre’s history once told him he would need to shake things up a bit in order to stay fresh.
“I remembered starting this journey of making the new record, and going back to something that Reba McEntire told me years ago – I was going to constantly be re-inventing myself. I really didn’t know what that meant at the time. Working with great engineers and producers in putting these sounds together that people haven’t heard on a Ty Herndon record before. For me, that made it very current. I also played around with the way I sang a little bit, which made for a very fun experience.”
The resulting factor is an album that is as fresh sounding and as cutting-edge as such artists as Sam Hunt and Chris Lane, both of whom are topping the charts with their unique blend of Country, Pop, and R&B.
But, he didn’t totally abandon the sound he’s known for, either. “That Kind Of Night,” the album’s lead single, definitely feels like it could be played right alongside of such Herndon classics as “Loved Too Much.”
“When you take a look at the album as a whole body of work, you’ll definitely hear some Ty Herndon songs on this record,” he emphasizes. “That one is one I probably would have cut in the mid-90s, and would have been tremendous. I loved the way the journey it takes you on. It’s a real feel-good song.”
One of the songs that Herndon experiments with more of a 2010’s sound is “All Night Tonight.” He said that was one of the first songs written for the album. Herndon had a hand in penning six of the songs on the disc. He says he wished he could have written more, but “I got busy, and I said ‘I can’t be one of those selfish writers who tries to write a whole album because that would just delay the process. Luckily, my producers, Eric Halbig and Drew Davis are both great songwriters, so we pulled from other catalogs, and I actually ended up tailor-making some of the songs for the record, changing this or that. We were able to complete the story of this album by pulling in some great songs from my friends who might have had some similar stories in their own lives. It was very important on this record for me to be authentic with the stories.”
The singer – who announced the fact that he is gay to the world in an October 2014 interview with People – says that one unique factor about House On Fire is that the album’s lyrics are gender-free. He says that wasn’t the plan, but it worked out well.
“I wanted fans from all walks of life to be able to put their life into the music, no matter what it is or what it’s about,” he admitted. “Eric heard some of the stuff we were writing and said ‘You know, you’re going gender-free with this. Are you ok with that?” I said ‘That may be a great accident. Let’s go with it.”
He says that he so far, the reaction to the new material has been amazing. “It’s just important to me that people can come hear me sing, and go ‘I have an expectation now of Ty that I have seen these songs live.’ People that have heard my hits for years are singing those songs at the top of their lungs, but it’s awesome to be able to get the new music out there. Just last week in Indiana, we did ‘House On Fire,’ and it was a good two minutes before I could start the next song. When things like that happen to you as an artist, it really catches you off guard – and makes you realize that the people really heard it. That was an unbelievable feeling. To have them stand on their feet because they love it so much is an incredible feeling. As a matter of fact, it’s brought me to tears more than a few times,” he confesses.
Perhaps the biggest departure on House On Fire is the in-your-face feel of “If You.” He admits it’s very different for him, but once he heard it – it was a no-brainer. “My buddy Walker is one of the writers on the album, and I heard him do it at a showcase. I thought ‘I love that song. I’ve got to record it,’ and I didn’t even know why. But, I loved it that much. My management team thought it might be a little too edgy, and I said ‘No, No. We’re going to cut it. Just trust me.’ When we finished the record, it became clear to me why I had to cut it. In my life, I’ve had a career of love songs or songs about heartbreak and loss. We’ve all had relationships that didn’t work out, and we might want to be a little sassy about. This was the song where I found a sense of humor about one that didn’t’ work out.”
On the other end of the emotional spectrum is the warm and tender “Stick With What I Know,” which is pure Ty Herndon from start to finish. “I thought it was very important in cutting that song that I gave the fans an opportunity to remember the songs I did in the past. The feel of that one is very familiar. It’s a song that, for me, I can walk on stage and it’s so natural for me. It fits like a glove, my voice, and my personality.”
The album ends with “Fighter,” a song whose lyrics Herndon can identify with. “When I heard this song, I knew I had to close the album out with this song. It has such a strong message. I know when I go out and speak at schools or at different events, one of the things I tell people is ‘If you believe in something, and you want it, you’ve got to fight for it.”
BY CHUCK DAUPHIN
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