Country singer Ty Herndon came out in November 2014, and he believes it has helped his career, as he says the revelation will enable him to be more honest and vulnerable in his future music.

“I may be the first man in country music to sing a love song to another man. And I’m very proud to do that,” the 52-year-old singer told People and other reporters at the Family Equality Council’s Los Angeles Awards Dinner in Beverly Hills over the weekend. “I’m not changing the he’s for she’s. It’s straight on who I love. Love is universal. I’m keeping it unisex, but there are a few songs that I’ve written that I wrote about my own life. That’s the one thing about country music you got to sing what you know.”

Herndon has been with his partner, Matt Collum, for five years, and they made their first public appearance as a couple at the 2014 TrevorLIVE in Los Angeles in December 2014. “We’re doing fantastic,” Herndon admits, smiling. Now that he has publicly come out, he is eager to start a family with his longtime love.

“I have always said that I would be a late father in life. My grandfather was in his 50s when he got married and had six kids. So, I’m a little bit of a late bloomer,” the singer shares. “We have one job out there: to put great kids out in the world. It may be a foster situation for me. There may be a frozen egg out there, we’ll see.”

Before starting a family, however, Herndon plans to release his new album, which he will begin recording on March 16.

“I want to get [through] my first year of being an out gay man,” he explains. “I’m still getting my footing with all that. And still remain true as a country artist. I’m still the same old redneck I was before I came out. So I have a responsibility to the fans to make great country music out there.”

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