STORY WRITTEN BY GARY GRAFF
@GraffonMusic on Twitter
Country singer Kane Brown got attention by singing other people’s songs.
Now he’s have success with his own.
The Georgia-born, Tennessee-raised artist began his career posting his covers of country favorites online and getting millions of views. And those fans were still there a year ago, when Brown released his own “Used To Love Her Sober,” snagging a million views in less than three hours.
That’s the kind of thing the business notices. After releasing an EP himself Brown was scooped up by Sony Music Nahsville for another EP and more singles (“Used To Love Her Sober,” “Last Minute Late Night”), with his self-titled debut album coming out Dec. 2, featuring tracks co-written with Florida Georgia Line, Chris Young and other top Nashville songs scribes.
Brown spent the summer on the road with FGL — a mark of just how potent he’s become in just a short time — and he’s headlining his own dates into early 2017. The 23-year-old is playing theaters and intimate venues, and given his quick ascent, you may not see him in places this small again…
• With more songs, and more personal songs, Brown feels the “Kane Brown” album will give fans a better view of who he is beyond the music. “It’s totally different from anything I’ve released so far,” says Brown, who was raised by a mostly single mother and by his grandparents. “It’s pretty much autobiography. A lot of the songs you learn more about me growing up and see what a hard time I’ve been through, from bullying to being broke to child abuse, and learning from it and made being a bigger man, today, a better man. It’s pretty much my childhood on that record. I’m glad I’m letting it go, all that stuff from the past, by singing about it.”
• Bullying, Brown knows, is a subject that will resonate with a wide audience now. “I wasn’t the biggest kid. I wasn’t a fighter in middle school — I’m not a fighter now, either — so they’d mess with me,” he recalls. “Back then I was small,I had big ears, a big head, and it was easy to pick on me. So I just want to touch people and get my word out to people just so they can see I got through it, and they can, too. I feel like I’ve made myself a pretty big role model to kids, especially with all the social media. So I don’t want to let anybody down.”
• Brown co-wrote seven of the album’s 11 tracks, and he says he usually needs just a few words to get a song going. “I usually think about titles,” he says. “I’ll hear somebody say something and write it down in my notes, and whenever we go into a room somebody will start naming off titles, and whoever has the best title, that’s what we start writing. ‘Cold Spot,’ was a title I had for awhile; that was my (grandfather’s) store that got shut down when a Wal-Mart was built. I hung out there after school all the time, so I had that as I title and we went from there. ‘Thunder In The Rain,’ my current single, I found that (phrase) in a magazine and I took that in and (his co-writers) ended up liking it and making that song.”
• Spending the summer with FGL was a huge learning experience for his own shows, Brown says. “Just performing-wise, performing to a crowd and communicating with a crowd those guys are so good at it and I just watched them the whole time we were out,” he says. “I wanted to make everybody feel loved and wanted at my concerts, so hopefully I’ll be able to make them feel that.”
As for his own shows, Brown is “super excited” to be taking out something he’s confident is bigger and better than his last headliner run.
• “I’ve got a lot of production now,” he says. “I’ve got a new band leader who’s tightened everything up. We get to do all our new music. People who have been to our show before, they haven’t been to this show. If they come to this show it’s gonna be completely different. It’s exciting and I’m so pumped, and so nervous at the same time.”
IF YOU GO
What: Kane Brown
When: Concert is at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1.
Where: Theatre of the Living Arts, 334 South St., Philadelphia.
Info.: Check http://venue.tlaphilly.com/ or http://kanebrownmusic.com/