RCA recording artist Kane Brown recently notched his first number one on the Billboard Country Songs chart with “What Ifs,” a collaboration with Lauren Alaina. The trek to the top for Brown was notable for several reasons.
For starters, it was his very first time inside the Top 10 of the charts. Secondly, the single’s ascension to the top ended a record-setting thirty-two week hold on the top by Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Backroad.” Brown considers himself to be a fan of Hunt’s, and says that he had definitely been keeping an eye on the charts the past few weeks – to see if there was a chance that his single could make history.
“That song was so huge for him, and honestly, I love Sam, but that was one of my goals,” Brown admits to Billboard. “If anyone knocked him off, my song was right there for a couple of weeks, and I wanted to be that one. I think it’s awesome that Lauren and I both get to share in this moment, along with my band and my team.”
To say that the relationship between him and Alaina runs deep would be an understatement. Both grew up in Rossville, Georgia, and attended Middle School together, and he says there is nobody he would rather share this career plateau with.
“We were in Middle School together. I switched schools in high school, but we were still close. We both came from a small town, and I don’t think there’s anyone else in the music industry that are from the same hometown, and been friends since middle school, and have had a number one song together. It’s an awesome feeling.”
Brown credits his strong fan base for helping to support the single – and to radio for getting on board with his music. “My fans have always been supportive, and have always been there for me. They are always there, and sharing everything that I put up. When I release something, they will be the first to go get it. They’ll tag me or share me, and really try to get out there and spread the word and let people know about my songs and my albums. Without them, I wouldn’t have had half the success that we have had, and I have to give props to them, and let them know I love them.” He admits that his lack of airplay on his first few singles was frustrating, but is pleased with where his career is now. “It was kind of hard with radio, and we had been fighting with the last two singles, but the third single was the charm. Radio got behind me, and I’m very thankful for it.”
Brown recently celebrated the single going platinum at an event in Nashville. He says that the term million-seller is something that is taken a little getting used to. “That’s something that I never thought I would have in a million years. We’ve done Gold before with “Used To Love You Sober,” which I thought was awesome, but you don’t realize once you get to Platinum, and you see the number difference between 500,000 and a million. It’s a big deal, and a huge goal of ours.”
The success of the single has led to a new deluxe edition of his self-titled debut album, which includes his new single, “Heaven,” as well as “Found You,” both songs that Brown says were influenced by his relationship with fiancée Katelyn, to whom he announced his engagement to earlier this year. “’Found You’ is a song about a guy finding his girl,” he explains. “He starts out with a broken heart in a bar, and his friends come and take him to a house party that he really doesn’t want to [go to], but he winds up finding the love of his life anyway. I just got engaged, so I guess you could say that I was feeling the love, so we wrote a love song.”
Brown has been out on the They Don’t Know tour with Jason Aldean and Chris Young, and says it has been an incredible experience. “Everyone out here is a real family, and we all get along. We’re all very competitive, and we like to play sports together, and we’re just about to have a pickleball tournament. Both Jason and Chris are great mentors, as well as great guys to be around.”
Of course, all three artists were at the Route 91 Harvest Festival the evening of the Las Vegas shootings (Brown and Aldean played the festival, while Young was in attendance). Having had a couple of weeks to absorb the tragedy, what is his thought process on the events of October 1?
“It’s been difficult,” he expresses. “You never know what’s going to happen. The world is so crazy. We played our first show last night (Tulsa, Oklahoma on Oct 12) since everything happened, and when I was on stage, it felt so weird. But, Jason said it best when he said there’s not a day that goes by that we haven’t thought about those ones we lost, and the people that got hurt. Last night, he said that we were giving those people the show that the ones in Vegas showed up for, but didn’t get,” he says solemnly.
Though she was thousands of miles away from Las Vegas, Brown says that his mother was keeping a close tab on her son’s safety following the shooting. It turned out to be a week of highs and lows for her, but he was glad that the ending of the first week of October was better than the first part of the week – and glad to play a part in it.
“Her birthday was October 2, and of course, Vegas took place on the 1st,” he recalls. “So, she was worried sick all night, and then on her actual birthday, her car was repossessed. So, she didn’t have a car and was only making $9.75 an hour. Something came over me, and the next day, I thought ‘I’m going to go get my mother a car.’ I didn’t want to get her anything that I didn’t like. They kept trying to put me in something like a Prius, but I told them that my mom is cooler than that. I had to get her something that at least I would drive. I got her a Toyota Camry, and she started crying.”