In February 1995, Nashville-based country singer Ty Herndon released "What Mattered Most," a love song about a woman. "I thought I knew the girl so well," Herndon sings at the top of the track. "If she was sad, I couldn't tell." By May of '95, the single hit No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs charts. Now, over 20 years later, Herndon is re-releasing his hit single with a few updates.
Herndon came out as gay in 2014 and this year, to coincide with Pride Month, he is re-releasing his hit with updated lyrics to fit his true identity.
"I thought I knew the boy so well / If he was sad, I couldn't tell," Herndon sings in the new version of the track. What was once "Her eyes are blue / Her hair is long" has become "His eyes are blue / His hair is long." In short, all previously female pronouns in the song have been changed into male pronouns.
But for Herndon, this re-release process has meant much more than simply swapping out certain words. "One of my rules has always been if I haven't lived it, I don't sing it," Herndon says.