Orville Peck Says Being Gay Icon Is a "Very Happy Responsibility"

"Being that representation for people now, I'm so proud to be that"

Photo: Matt Forsythe

BY Emilie Richardson-DupuisPublished Jun 30, 2023

South African-born country music star Orville Peck recently sat down with fellow Canadian Shania Twain for a wide-ranging interview for Home Now Radio on Apple Music Hits, where he discussed gay representation in country music and bridging gaps between people through music. 

"I've always been openly gay," Peck said. "My only agenda was to just be sincere in my lyrics… so of course, I'm doing what everyone's always done, which is singing about love and all that, but that happens to be about [being] with men for me."

He added that although he never envisioned himself as a queer icon, he is heartened and proud that he has created a welcome space in country music for people in the LGBTQAI2S+ community and is keen on continuing to fight for their rights.

"As a gay boy growing up, I didn't see exactly those representations of me, so I think that's why I was more drawn towards female artists, because I think I could relate to their struggle in some way of being on the outside of things within country music," he told Twain. "Being that representation for people now, I'm so proud to be that. It's a very happy responsibility I have."

While he recently made the tough decision to postpone his tour for the sake of his "mental and physical health," Peck added that his concerts tend to have an incredibly diverse audience, with people "from every walk of life" brought together by a common appreciation for his music. 

"I think that's what good art should do," he explained. "It should make two people who are completely different share an experience or an emotion that maybe they are hearing through a song … it should show all of us what we have in common, that we all feel these same things … it should really bridge the gap for people."

Peck has gone on at length about his appreciation for Twain — his collaborator on the 2020 Show Pony EP track, "Legends Never Die" — and even appeared as a talking head in her Not Just a Girl Netflix documentary. Find Twain's full interview with him below.


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