Historically, the relationship between country music and LGBT+ rights has been… well, “rocky,” to say the least. While there are certain highlights — like Ty Herndon and Lil Nas X — the industry as a whole can still be labeled as “lukewarm” towards the issue. Part of what complicates this is the fact that the country music industry is, well, an industry. The target demographic for country music doesn’t quite include most LGBT+ communities, so there is little financial incentive to carter to them. While this may make sense from a business point-of-view, there is one fatal miscalculation with this line of logic: that there isn’t a demand for pro-LGBT+ country music.
On the contrary, there are LGBT+ Americans of all creeds and backgrounds across the nation, many of whom are already country music fans. Many more are future fans, just waiting for the right song to introduce them to the genre. While the industry is slowly waking up to that fact, many artists within the industry are already ahead of the game. One such artist is Cameron Hawthorn, who released a new single “To Break Hers” on September 3.
A member of the LGBT+ community himself, Hawthorn represents an exciting new future for country music. With certain doors already opened for him, Hawthorn is able to candidly address his own identity and openly convey it through his songcraft. “To Break Hers” is a moving song that directly speaks to Hawthorn’s experience of learning how to be honest with himself and those he loved.
“After I came out, I was able to look back on a relationship I had had with a woman and fully process it,” he told American Songwriter. “I needed to write this song to move forward. I hope that listeners will get a little more of a glimpse into my story.”
While the imagery of the song’s music video remains on the heteronormative side — especially when it seems to normalize the negative reaction of Hawthorn’s ex-partner when she learned about his true identity — the song itself is still a statement of acceptance, both personally and universally. All in all, the fact that Hawthorn can share this intimate slice of his life story in such a poignant way is a victory for both equality and country music alike.
“‘Dancing in the Living Room’ and ‘Oh Hot Damn!’ are songs that I’m proud to sing and relate to my life now, but ‘To Break Hers’ is a song about life before that,” Hawthorn said. “I definitely know people today — gay and straight — who are lying to themselves in a relationship they don’t want to be in. I hope that folks out there will be able to relate.”
Listen to “To Break Hers” by Cameron Hawthorn below: