Chapel Hart, Ty Herndon Raise Their Voices at Concert For Love & Acceptance

Love was in the air at the eighth annual Concert For Love and Acceptance on Wednesday (June 7) at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville.

Videos by American Songwriter

Country singer Ty Herndon again teamed up with LGBTQ+ advocacy organization GLAAD for the special event that saw Maddie & Tae, This is Us star Chrissy Metz, Chapel Hart, Terri Clark, Brooke Eden, hit songwriter Desmond Child and many other artists across generations raising their voices in support of the LGBTQ+ community. The show also benefits the Foundation for Love & Acceptance, which provides mental wellness programs for LGBTQ youth across the country. 

Backstage before the show, Herndon used three powerful words to describe the spirit of the event he founded in 2015. “Wide open hearts,” he told American Songwriter with a laugh as he walked the blue carpet with his fiancee, Alex Schwartz. “What do we run to when we’re sad? What do we run to when we celebrate? What do we run to when we just want to feel good? There’s so much feeling and healing and education in music.”

This sentiment was echoed by Child, who co-wrote Herndon’s Top 30 country hit in 1995, “Heart Half Empty.”

“Love and acceptance, that’s the way the heart opens to everyone if you’re willing to open your heart to have love and acceptance,” he shared. “Live and help live because there’s so many people that need our help.”

Among the many other hits Child has helped pen include Bon Jovi’s global sensation, “Livin’ on a Prayer,” which he offered a tender rendition of. Poised at the piano, Child delivered a stripped-down version of the rock classic wherein the audience served as a beautiful choir echoing back the familiar lyrics. “That’s a song about love and acceptance of our circumstance,” he described. “We try to do the best that we possibly can and hope for the best. For love, we’ll give it a shot.” 

Also coming in with a spirit of love is Chapel Hart. Making their Concert For Love & Acceptance debut, the trio performed the title track of their new album, Glory Days, bringing a burst of good energy to the stage. On the blue carpet, the trio of sisters Danica and Devynn Hart and their cousin Trea Swindle shared how they had recently concluded The Glory Days Tour where fans stated they’d leave the shows feeling “loved.”

“That’s our mission is to go out and spread as much love as we can,” Danica professed. “I believe everybody deserves love. Everybody is worthy of love and it’s our main reason why we’re here tonight.”

Also bringing the positive vibes was Metz, who came dancing onto the stage with her upbeat new song “Feel Good” with lyrics that look at life from a glass-half-full perspective. “We have to really think about the things that make us feel good as individuals and how important that is when we feel good, we allow other people to feel good and sit in their seat of power,” Metz explained to American Songwriter about why she chose to perform “Feel Good.”

“Regardless of who they love, how they love them and where they’re from, [people] should be accepted and loved,” she added of what the event means to her. “We’re all equal. I don’t understand that this is still a conversation, but it is, and we’re here to support it, especially now.” 

While the evening was oftentimes fun and light-hearted, the organizers also addressed the gravity of the anti-LGBTQ+ legislation happening around the country through a video compilation of news reports and protests. One of those pieces of legislation that gained national attention is the anti-drag bill in Tennessee that bans drag shows in public or in front of minors.

“We all know not to mess with a drag queen, they got some pretty high heels and pretty high hair,” Herndon quipped backstage before taking a serious tone. “But underneath all of that are hearts, human beings that are doing their craft, doing their art. They’re not trying to hurt anybody. So I think the conversation is better than a ban, and that is where we need to go.” 

“I think it’s a great cause and it’s shining a light on something that needed to be talked about,” Wendy Moten, The Voice season 21 runner-up and first-time Concert For Love & Acceptance participant, said. “If I can lend my voice, my presence to shine a light, then I want to do that.”

Moten accomplished this mission with a powerful performance of her new single “Don’t Give Up,” which encourages people to move forward through even their most challenging moments and overcome adversity. “Whether we’re dealing with LGBTQ or we’re dealing with African-American people who want to be in country music and exist in our nation, it’s not the same conversation, but it’s a conversation that needs to be had regularly,” Moten continued about why it’s important to have this event in Nashville. “So this is another one of those and so it’s important.” 

In 2023, the Foundation For Love and Acceptance expanded its mission to help members of the LGBTQ+ community in recovery and going through detox and sobriety journeys. Herndon has struggled with addiction over the years and has been to rehab. But with the power of music, combined with the essence of the event that’s rooted in love and acceptance for all, Herndon feels a sense of peace every year when it’s time for the show.

“I feel like every time we do this,” he says. “I feel like I’m home.” 

Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for GLAAD

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