For the past nine years during the Country Radio Seminar, artists from the Universal Music Group Nashville label have performed on the Ryman Stage during the Team UMG luncheon. This year’s show featured spectacular performances from the acts signed to the label, including Keith Urban, Chris Stapleton, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, among others. But on Tuesday (2/6), the performance that had everyone talking, yet speechless, was the one from Vince Gill.
The legendary performer took to center stage to perform a song he’d written years prior, but never thought would see the light of day. That is, until the “Me Too” movement began and people started talking about trauma endured from sexual abuse. The song, entitled “Forever Changed,” was one inspired from Gill’s own brush with an abusive teacher.
“I was in seventh grade. I was a young dumb kid, and I had a gym teacher that acted inappropriately towards me and was trying to do thinks that I didn’t know what the hell was going on,” Gill recalled. “I was just fortunate that I ran.”
Sitting on a stool with his guitar across his lap, he admitted that “I don’t think I ever told anybody about that my whole life.”
With many others speaking their truths, Gill finds now to be the perfect time to share his own, with a song of a child who is forever changed because an abuser couldn’t keep to themselves.
“I wrote this song some years ago, and never really knew where it came from until now now, when people are finally having the courage to speak out about abuse. I think it’s beyond beautiful and beyond healthy, to see people who have been wronged finally having a voice,” he said before singing the song.
As he concluded, he brought the audience of radio programmers and deejays to their feet in support of the emotional tune. Thanking them for their support, he quietly walked offstage. No word on if a studio version of the song will be released.