Off the heels of a heartbreaking story about Wynonna Judd’s daughter sentenced to years in prison for meth-related probation violation, television audiences were treated to an inspiring story of the ability to overcome this drug. Kentucky-born singer and HIV-positive recovering addict Brennan Villines took the stage of Fox’s “The Four” with poise, grace and confidence to relay his incredible story and deliver an unforgettable performance.
Villines grew up in a tiny, rural mid-western town in Kentucky, where he was the subject of heightened scrutiny because of his gregarious personality and apparent homosexuality. He connected with music when he was three years old and his mother put him in piano lessons. Since then, he has used music to get through the most difficult times in his life, including a devastating HIV diagnosis in 2011 and years of active meth abuse. He says in his darkest moments, when he couldn’t even breathe, he could still sing and that got him through a lot of pain and misery.
After baring his soul and announcing five years of sobriety to a worldwide television audience, Villines delivered a soulful and haunting piano-based rendition of the Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”. His story is one that drives home the healing and transformational power of music to those even in the most desperate circumstances to help them find comfort, solace and strength. Watch Brennan’s moving story and inspiriting performance here. It would appear he has traveled a far greater distance than the one in his song of choice.