Orville Peck praised by fans after sharing powerful message about mental health struggles
Gay country star Orville Peck has been praised by fans for prioritising his mental and physical wellbeing after postponing his US tour just days after it started.
As a vocal LGBTQ+ advocate, Orville Peck has cultivated a devoted queer fanbase within the historically conservative country music genre. Alongside country music sensations such as Lil Nas X, Patrick Haggerty, Cameron Hawthorn, Maren Morris and Dolly Parton, Peck is one of several country artists improving representation by unapologetically supporting the LGBTQ+ community and authentically embracing his own queer identity.
In his latest move to diversify country music, the “Dead of Night” singer, who is known for his signature fringe mask, appeared as a talent scout in Apple TV+’s reality series My Kind of Country, in which up-and-coming artists compete to become the next global country pop star.
As he continues to champion LGBTQ+ people, the South African artist, who released his latest country album Bronco in 2022, is finally putting himself first after postponing his US tour to focus on his “current mental and physical health”.
In a heartfelt message posted to his 600,000 Instagram followers on Wednesday (21 June), Peck shared the news that he would be postponing his summer tour, noting that it was “hardest decision I’ve ever had to make”.
“I am completely heartbroken as I share this news,” Peck wrote, “but I have made the incredibly difficult decision to postpone all of my upcoming shows effective immediately.
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“This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make but I’ve come to realise that my current mental and physical health won’t allow me to bring you my best.
“My fans mean the absolute world to me and I am so incredibly thankful to every single person who has bought a ticket to come and see us play. I do not take it for granted.
“Being on stage is my favourite thing in the world. But I have to take this time to replenish my mind and body so that I can come back stronger and healthier than before, in order to do what I love for many years to come. I truly hope you can understand. See you soon and sending all of my love.”
The tour kicked off in New York’s Madison Square Garden on Tuesday (20 June) with fans hailing it as the “best concert” of their life. Peck planned to head across the US midwest before ending the tour on 10 August in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Fellow musicians, celebrities and fans alike have flocked to the comments to praise the 35-year-old country singer’s choice to put his mental health first.
“We love you no matter what!!!” trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney wrote. “I love you beyond this world,” singer Noah Cyrus added.
“Thank you for all that you share with us AND for showing your fans that taking care of yourself is strong, noble, and ESSENTIAL,” drag star BenDeLaCreme shared.
“Way to set a good example,” one fan applauded. “As queer men, sometimes validation from how hard we work and how much we help the world and our people can substitute for our own fullness for simply existing. Way to take care of you, so that you can be enough without doing anything for anyone else sometimes.”
“I’d so much rather you take care of yourself than push through the pain, cowboy,” another echoed. “We’ll be here when you need us.”
Peck is not the only singer who has struggled with the pressures of touring recently. Earlier in May, pop diva Miley Cyrus admitted that she might never tour again due to feeling “isolated”, and Grammy-winner Sam Smith cancelled three UK gigs because of vocal cord issues. Last year, singer Shawn Mendes also cancelled his world tour citing his mental health.
It’s also not the first time Peck has opened up about the challenges he’s had to overcome in the music industry, especially as a gay man. In an interview with People back in April, he got candid about the treatment he faced at the beginning of his career.
“A lot of people [were] practically laughing in my face, telling me that being an openly gay man in country would never work,” he told the publication. “I’ve [had] very discouraging moments in my career.
“But I kept my chin up, and I refused to let anybody tell me that I couldn’t do what I wanted. If someone tells me I can’t do something, it makes me want to do it even more.”
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