Brothers Osborne’s John Osborne Explains His Massive Chest Tattoo
If you've seen the Brothers Osborne live in the last couple of years, you might notice one big change to duo member John Osborne's appearance: He's sporting an enormous, American Traditional-style tattoo of a ship across his chest.
John's proud of his ink, often wearing open-chested shirts so that the world can see his new artwork. No wonder he wants his tattoo to see the light of day: Backstage at the 2023 CMA Awards, he explained to press that he decided to get it — and picked the specific design he did — for a couple of powerful, symbolic reasons.
"Maybe it was like, kids were on the way. I wanted to cling to my youth — let me get a massive chest tattoo," John joked. The guitarist and his wife, singer-songwriter Lucie Silvas, welcomed boy-girl twins Arthur and Maybelle this March.
The tattoo was a marker during an important moment in time — when John was about to become a dad for the first time — and it also symbolized the journey of mental health and healing that Osborne has contended with over the last few years. He's spoken publicly about that battle at several occasions, detailing a fight with depression and anxiety that was so debilitating it led him to consider quitting music and even posed a threat to his life.
"Symbolically, [the tattoo] is a sailor ship, and I've been very vocal about my mental health and a lot of the struggles I've had over the years," he continues. "[TJ Osborne] actually told me this quote after I'd gotten the sailor ship tattoo, [which] was, 'Smooth waters don't make good sailors.' It's an amazing philosophy and something I'll carry with me forever. I feel like I've become my best self in the most trying times of my life."
At the 2023 CMAs, John's brother and bandmate was also wearing an article of clothing that held important personal significance: T.J. rocked a glittering, bedazzled blazer that he had custom-made before playing Stagecoach in 2022.
"I always loved jackets like this, and when I was closeted I was very fearful that if I wore anything flashy it would bring questions or doubts," he explains. T.J. came out as gay to fans and the country music industry in early 2021.
So a year later, he wanted to celebrated his ability to publicly be his authentic self by commissioning the sparkling, flashy Stagecoach outfit of his dreams. As for his decision to re-wear it on the CMA Awards? That was a little more practical.
"I wore it tonight mostly because it was very expensive and I wanted to reuse it," T.J. concludes with a laugh.