Music News & Reviews

At 24, country singer Kane Brown is making history as a chart topper

Kane Brown performs this weekend at Red, White and Boom.
Kane Brown performs this weekend at Red, White and Boom.

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Red, White & Boom 2018

Red, White & Boom, presented by WBUL-FM 98.1 The Bull, brings three days of country music to Rupp Arena, Aug. 31 to Sept. 2. Headliners are Chris Young, Brad Paisley and Toby Keith, with stars such as Kane Brown, Luke Combs and others rounding out the 15-artist bill. Follow all of our coverage, here.

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Kane Brown knows the right combination can produce some major results.

It’s part of the reason why Kane Brown gained popularity in the first place. The bi-racial Georgia native initially gained a massive social media following on Facebook and YouTube with a unique look for the country genre but a deep and distinctive baritone that helped every country cover he sang feel like his own.

Now, Kane Brown’s own music is making history on the country charts. From his self-titled, 2016 album alone, he has released a pair of multi-platinum-selling singles, (“Heaven” and “What Ifs” featuring Lauren Alaina) and became the first artist with simultaneous number one hits on the five main country charts (Top Country Albums, Hot Country Songs, Country Airplay, Country Digital Song Sales and Country Streaming Songs).

As the 24-year-old singer and songwriter’s career was rising, he felt there was potential for a surge in popularity if the circumstances were right.

“I knew if my social media following and radio got together, I always wanted to see what it could do and it jumped over my expectations,” he said. “I’ve heard so many people saying, ‘I didn’t believe the hype,’ and now, they’re on the ‘Kane Train,” or whatever they call it.”

Brown hopes to keep the “Kane Train” rolling with the upcoming release of his untitled sophomore album due out this November. He is chomping at the bit to release his new music, where he hopes to overcome the typical sophomore slump by showing off his songwriting skills and some musical versatility.

You can get a taste of his penchant to push boundaries in his latest, laid back single “Weekend,” Brown said.

“It’s got some country instruments in there to kind of trick your ear into it, but it’s also got a Bruno Mars feel to the way the drums hit,” he said.

In addition this song and the album’s first single “Lose It,” he said you will hear everything from “Boyz II Men mixed with country music banjo” to to songs reminiscent from the high and lonesome sound of the “O Brother Where Art Thou?” award-winning soundtrack to a song that “sounds like it’s on ‘Titanic.’ Just all over the map.”

“Everybody says they gravitate toward different songs and that’s what I’m really excited to be releasing,” he said. “I’m never the type that brags or anything, but this album is going to take me to a whole different level.”

Brown is one of the featured acts of for the second night of the city’s annual Red, White and Boom Music Festival Aug. 31 through Sept. 2 at Rupp Arena. That night, Brown will be sharing the stage with Ashley McBryde, Chase Rice, Jake Owen and headliner Brad Paisley, who Brown has opened for on prior tour stops.

Kane Brown, right, and Lauren Alaina perform “What Ifs” at the 53rd annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 15 in Las Vegas. Chris Pizzello Invision

Touring with the likes of Paisley, Red, White & Boom day one headliner Chris Young and 2016 RW&B headliners Florida Georgia Line has really helped him and his band elevate their live shows, he said.

“We really just watched them. My band’s got so much better and that brings the show much further,” he said. “My speaking in the show, my energy, my talking points in the shows, a lot of that stuff I’m focusing on getting better on.”

Brown appears to be at a point in his career where his craft and his popularity are both showing huge signs of progression. He initially got so popular on social media that mainstream country came to him. Now, as his star rises, he plans to keep the direction of his crazy ride rooted in his best interest.

“I realize that this is my career and I need to speak up for myself and really get on board and not let other people dictate what I’m doing,” he said.

If you go

Red, White and Boom 2018

Where: Rupp Arena

When: 5 p.m. Aug. 31-Sept. 2

Tickets: $37.50-$299

Call: 800-745-3000, 859-233-3535