Brothers Osborne fought a pandemic and 'severe' mental health struggles to record 'Skeletons'

'I was contemplating like, 'Why am I even doing this?'
TJ and John Osborne
Photo credit Getty Images

John and TJ Osborne of Country duo Brothers Osborne are celebrating an impressive three CMA nominations including Vocal duo of the Year, Album of the Year for Skeletons and Music Video of the Year for “Younger Me.” While the accolades may be pouring in, it hasn’t been all sunshine for the real-life bros after a trying year of battling life’s challenges, especially when it came to recording their album.

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“There was a very long list of very unconventional things around this album,” said TJ of the 12-track project released in October 2020. “The fact that it got a little boost there in the 11th hour was huge for us… It did feel like it got kind of overlooked a little. There was just so much craziness going on in the world. The fact that it did get recognition and is nominated was like, ‘OK! I thought we made a good album, I guess someone else thinks so too!’”

Aside from the world around them crumbling due to COVID-19, John revealed he had his own personal struggles with mental health that required he stop the creative process to get professional help.

LISTEN: Coop's full interview with Brothers Osborne

“I had severe mental stuff going on at the end of 2019,” shared John. “I was just kind of exhausted… I have a light form of anxiety and it was probably the worst that it’s ever been in my life.”

He continued, “I was contemplating like, ‘Why am I even doing this?’ I couldn’t get my head straight and we had to delay he recording of Skeletons because I had to go to, basically this mental rehab facility for a couple weeks and get my stuff straight, get my head straight.”

After receiving help, John felt equipped to finish the album, but wanted to leave nothing unsaid as he prepared for it to be the last album he ever made.

“I thought, ‘What the Hell? Let’s finish this thing out.’ In my mind, it felt like the last record that I, personally would ever make,” he shared. “Let’s throw everything on the table, let’s leave nothing, no card in our hand, and throw everything we can at this record that we have and see what happens.”

Fast forward to present day and the album has been praised by fans as some of the Brothers’ best work. On top of the CMA nom mentioned above, the album also received a nod at the 2021 ACM Awards in the Album of the Year category.

“I think, maybe there’s a little bit of a lesson to be learned in that,” said John. “I feel like if you’re making art, maybe leave no part of yourself out and just give all of yourself to it.”

Tune in to see if Brothers Osborne will take home the prize in their nominated categories on November 10th on ABC.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images