NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Kane Brown knows a hit when he hears one, whether it’s a 90s country homage or a collaboration with an R&B star or DJ who could light up the dance floor .
The 28-year-old multi-hyphen who erupted on social media let his ear for the news follow his uncharted path in country music, until his third album ‘Different Man’ was released on Friday.
But even after a string of eight No. 1 Billboard Country Airplay songs, Brown took his time to find the special song his fans were begging him for: a duet with his wife, Katelyn.
“We had, like, four more songs that we were going to do,” Brown said of his wife, who was also an aspiring singer-songwriter when they met in 2015.
Nothing felt right until he heard a song — the only one on the album he didn’t co-write — that matched his style, which Brown describes in the vein of great vocal pop. like Whitney or Mariah. He’s so convinced that “Thank God” is a hit that he’s ready to present it as a performance at an awards show.
“After I recorded it, I was like, ‘Are you going to sing that on the ACM?’ And she’s like, ‘No.’ And I was like, ‘This is going to be the biggest song on the record,’ Brown said with a smile.
Brown has every right to be confident in her song choices and production. His latest hit, “Like I Love Country Music,” reached No. 1 on the country airplay charts and his cross-genre songs with artists like Khalid, Marshmello and Becky G exposed him to a global audience that recognizes his name and his sweet baritone. .
But behind the scenes of the industry, it is pushing into new territory. He’s co-produced his new record, hosted award shows, launched his own record label and was the first male country artist to perform at the MTV Video Music Awards last month, a show that doesn’t typically court a fan base. country fans. On his last tour, he played in every NBA arena in the country, often wearing a jersey for each team on stage.
Brown has already crossed genres and is targeting international audiences with tours of Australia, the UK and Europe in the coming months.
Last year he launched his label, 1021 Entertainment, in partnership with Sony Music Nashville, where he selected his first band, Restless Road, after meeting the trio years ago when they were all trying to ” X-Factor”. For Brown, the ambition to succeed dates back to when he was often told he wasn’t the right look or cut out for country music, even though his mother’s country records were the first he had learned to sing.
“I tried to fight to get into Nashville the longest,” Brown said. “People were like, ‘Nah nah.’ And then when it started selling out, that’s when people started coming in. And so I felt like I was really good at finding talent, especially on social media , because I’m always on social media, so might as well try to help people even faster.
Brown didn’t just give Restless Road a record deal — he also gave them a masterclass in touring and songwriting, as they opened up his touring stages and landed a co-write on the Brown’s new record.
“He’s someone we always play our songs for,” said Zach Beeken, one of three Restless Road singers and songwriters. “We take his opinion very seriously and he always tries to make sure that we showcase ourselves and our strengths and really find our sound every time we release a song.”
Brown’s album is designed for his playlist-generating audience, whether it’s to go along with the title track’s duet with Blake Shelton, to co-write with the songwriter- pop singer Mike Posner, to bring Brooks & Dunn into the studio to add their distinctive vocals to a 90s country tribute song.
While Brown has often been welcomed by other artists to collaborate outside of the country genre, he’s going solo on a trappy pop single called “Grand” which he hopes will further establish himself on charts. non-country reading.
“It was the scariest thing – doing it on its own and not having a feature on it, but we all got positive feedback from radio and editorial playlists for streaming,” he said. . “ESPN loves it. Heard it on ESPYS before it came out.
Now his next goal is to celebrate a hit song with his wife and the mother of his two children.
“I want to share a No. 1 with her so I can relive what it’s like to have a No. 1 and relive it through her,” he said.
Follow Kristin M. Hall at https://Twitter.com/kmhall
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