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Vince Gill Debuts Emotional Song 'Forever Changed' at CRS Based On His Own Story of Surviving Sexual Abuse

By Billboard

Throughout Universal Music Group Nashville’s two-hour showcase at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 6), Vince Gill sat on a stool at the far back corner of the stage, just out of sight, as more than a dozen of his labelmates performed for Country Radio Seminar attendees.

Then he moved into the spotlight, the penultimate act before show closer Keith Urban, and devastated the audience with a song he’d never played before.

“Forever Changed” tells the story of a sexual assault from a female perspective, yet, as Gill told the audience in the introduction, the song was informed by his own experience in middle school.  

“Maybe this song came from a personal experience for me. I was in seventh grade and a young, dumb kid,” he said, according to Rare Country (Billboard was on the side of the stage and couldn’t hear Gill as clearly). “I had a gym teacher that acted inappropriately towards me and was trying to do things that I didn’t know what the hell was going on.”

Gill continued, “I just jumped up and I ran. I don’t know why. I don’t think I ever told anybody my whole life. Even what’s been going on has been giving me a little bit of courage to speak up too.” Gill wrote the song a few years ago, but the #MeToo movement moved him to perform it for the first time. 

He dedicated his performance to those in pain from sexual assault. The lyrics include “Too afraid to tell someone/ You might as well have used a gun/ She cries to Jesus to ease the pain/ Because of you/ She’s forever changed.”

As the following clip shows, the Ryman audience was completely silent during Gill’s moving performance. He received an immediate standing ovation. No word on future plans for "Forever Changed," but Gill and UMGN president Cindy Mabe were seen huddling after his poignant performance.


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