Luke Bryan 'Sat up at Night' After Hearing From Black Fans Who Felt Uncomfortable at His Shows

Amid protests in the United States over racial inequality, a number of country artists spoke out about the issue, a rare move in a genre that has typically shied away from the issue. Luke Bryan participated in Blackout Tuesday on Instagram in June but had not specifically addressed the issue, though he did address the topic of Black voices in country music in a new interview with the Los Angeles Times.

"I do see it getting better," he said, pointing to colleague Darius Rucker's recent interview that aired on the Today show in which Rucker discussed his experience as a Black man in country music. "I have sat up at night after hearing from African American audience members who say they’ve felt uncomfortable at my shows through the years," Bryan continued. "It’s a delicate conversation, and do I think we may take a little longer in country to have it? Probably. But it's the conversation we're having more and more."

The Georgia native also opened up about speaking out on issues other than race, explaining that he's "always gonna walk a smart line" but that he's "not scared." "Look at 'Most People Are Good,' a song I had a couple years ago," he said. "It touched on 'Love who you love,' and that can be taken a lot of ways. I had a lot of people ask me, 'Well, does that mean you want to plant a flag and support the gay and lesbian community?' I’m like, 'I’m not saying I’m gonna go fly that flag — but I’m not saying I’m not either.'"

"As you get a higher profile, you do watch your words carefully," he added. "And that’s frustrating too. You oughta be able to say a lot of stuff, and if one thing is misconstrued, you oughta be able to say, 'I didn’t mean it that way,' apologize and move on."

Along with social issues, Bryan is also open to expanding his horizons with his music, an attitude carefully reflected on his new album, Born Here, Live Here, Die Here. "I’m really into [the TV western series] Yellowstone, and the music in Yellowstone — it’s Texas music, cowboy music," he said. "I'm obviously not a cowboy, but it makes me wonder how I could do a really retro-sounding cowboy song that isn’t just drums, bass, guitar and steel guitar. Or when I listen to the Weeknd, that sounds like Duran Duran to me — totally an '80s synthesizer. I'm always wondering, 'What's a fun little sound people haven't heard me do?'"