A former gospel singer turned R&B crooner has come out as bisexual.
Terrence Stone, formerly known as Aaron Thomas, opened up in an interview with Philadelphia Magazine. The 27 year-old Philadelphia native revealed to the publication that he felt negatively judged and controlled by the gospel music world, and was finally ready to start living a more authentic life.
Stone, as Thomas, started performing at just 4 years of age, honing his craft in church. He has appeared on the shows American Idol, BET’s Sunday Best, and Showtime at the Apollo.
He said his upbringing was a “sheltered” one, and the environment made it difficult to be himself.
“I lived my life according to others’ opinions of what I should do and who I should be,” he told the magazine. “Grew up singing in the church. All I knew was church. I love it and I love God. But one thing I could never agree with was the religious aspect. As a gospel artist, it was always challenging for me to be me. The expectations of the gospel industry is to present yourself as this perfect person, when I was far from that.”
The repression and denial of his true self caused him mental health issues, but he said going through those struggles helped him to grow.
“As a man I dealt with and I’ve overcome depression, fear, arrogance, identity crisis, and not being accepted for who I really am,” he said. “However, all these things made me into the man I am supposed to be today: smart, free, and beautiful.”
He believes his new identity in a new genre will help him continue that growth journey.
“The gospel industry always made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. R&B is another genre of music that I love. It’s music that’s real and tells a story,” he said. “The more I grew as an artist and as a person, I knew that my gift wasn’t only for the church. I then discovered that my mission on this earth is to impact the world through my music and life story no matter the genre. The R&B platform gives me the opportunity to encourage, inspire and uplift people in an authentic way.”
He added that he hopes he can use his “platform as an authentic example in the music industry and to the world.”
Stone has some advice for others who might be struggling to live more openly.
“The key to freedom is to constantly create yourself,” he said. “When you stop trying to find yourself and you began to create yourself, you become limitless. Fear, doubt, insecurities, opinions, and all of life’s mental struggles then become obsolete.”
Stone also recorded a video message that he posted to Instagram explaining why he had changed his name and his sound, which you can watch below.
Stone also took to Instagram to share the Philadelphia Magazine, thanking the publication, and the feature’s writer, Ernest Owens, “for hearing my heart out giving me the platform to share my story.”
“I pray it impacts somebody’s life,” he said.