JB Somers once believed he could make the gay disappear. Growing up in a small town in rural Alabama as the son of a pastor, Somers spent much of his time in the evangelical church, doing his best to suppress the emotions that were starting to build up inside of him.
The 30-year-old Somers says in a new interview with PEOPLE, “At that age, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.” “When compared to the others in my immediate vicinity, I could just sense that there was something unique about myself. I simply didn’t know how to express it.”
Somers composed music.
He sang in the choir loft, led worship for the youth group, and sat next to his parents, who had met and fallen in love in the church.
However, when it was time for Somers to depart for college, his internal conflict between how he was feeling and how the outside world expected him to feel persisted.
“I was just resigned to the thought that I was never going to experience it, which is really awful, right?” all of my friends were dating and getting engaged. He softly enquires. At the time, I didn’t mind, but then I went to Nashville.
Somers claims that moving to Music City in 2020 not only afforded him the time to pursue the musical profession of his dreams but also provided him with a secure environment in which to discover his true self.
About his sexuality, Somers adds, “It was in Nashville that I understood this was not going away.” “Really good friends of mine pushed me to be honest about that part of my life. I mean, I had long suppressed my emotions.”
Somers was going through one of the most difficult times of his life at the same time that his sister Somer Johnson passed away from a heroin overdose.
She had just turned 30.
Somers laments not being able to inform his sister, who had studied ballet in Paris as a young woman, that he was gay before she passed away.
“She would have been a great support for me, I believe. She was a staunch advocate for people leading the lives they were intended to have.”
Somers saw the manifestation of this precise fact in his own life as well as in the life of TJ Osborne of the Brothers Osborne, who came out in public in January 2021.
In addition to openly homosexual musicians Orville Peck and Brandi Carlile, Somers was moved by watching him come out to the public.
“Although I’m not a country music fan per such, I do reside in a place that is overrun by country music performers.
And seeing a man come out in an art form that is predominately heteronormative made me wonder, “What in the world is stopping me from showing every element of me?”
The pop/alternative performer ultimately informed his parents of the truth in April of this year.
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Somers, who just recently released his most recent EP They Say I’ve Changed, adds that it is amazing how much weight disappears after sharing something that you have been holding in for such a long time. “I didn’t care who knew once I told my parents and a few of my closest friends. Simply said, it was a really liberating time.”
In fact, Somers’ most recent hit, “There for Me,” has acquired fresh significance for him as a result of his growing appreciation for everyone who has accepted him for who he truly is.
It actually turned into an anthem for him to ask, “Will you still be there for me now that you see all of me and, you know every bit of who I am and there’s nothing concealed anymore?”
“I feel like I’ve walked a little further into the freedom that my truth provides me every day, especially as I continue to learn so much about this community that I’ve watched from afar, but a community that I now genuinely feel a part of… finally.”
and the members of his church?
I don’t have any animosity against the religion,” Somers, who will drop “Build This Love” as his upcoming single in late August, says.
“I simply believe that the church needs to do a lot of work to close the gap between its LGBTQ+ members and the general population.
As Christians, we often ignore important signs. And I hope that one day I may serve as a conduit for those discussions on both sides.”