In the late 2010s, Kane Brown emerged as one of country music’s biggest rising stars. The singer even largely helped expand the genre’s reach, thanks to his multiracial background and experimentation with different musical influences.
But during a forced absence from the business due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Brown worried his career might reach a premature end.
Kane Brown | John Shearer/Getty Images for MTV
Kane Brown released an EP during the COVID-19 pandemic
Following the release of several Facebook videos featuring his covers of songs by the likes of Alan Jackson and George Strait, Brown released his first original track, “Used to Love You Sober.” On the back of that song’s success came his first major EP, Chapter 1.
Later that year, his self-titled debut studio album hit shelves, carried by tracks like “What Ifs” and “Heaven.” In 2018, Brown released his sophomore album, Experiment.
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And though the pandemic delayed his release of a third studio album, he did manage at least to release an EP, titled Mixtape, Vol. 1, in August 2020. However, in a recent interview with the Zach Sang Show, Brown admitted this was largely comprised of songs that had been sitting in his Dropbox account.
Kane Brown worried fans would forget him during quarantine
Tracks like “Be Like That” and “Last Time I Say Sorry” were more recent creations. But Mixtape, Vol. 1 wasn’t intended to be the next step of Brown’s career. In the absence of being able to get a new album together, he conceded that an EP could at least keep fans engaged. As he told the Zach Sang Show, Brown worried they might forget about him.
“It’s been four years since I released an album. … Because I didn’t know if music was going to end, if I was going to have to find another job. … I was below the floor depressed. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I didn’t know if we weren’t going to be able to tour for years, if people were going to forget about me.”
The fact that even an artist with Brown’s level of success considered other career options speaks to the profound effect the pandemic had on everyone. Regardless of their fame, fortune, or lack thereof, everyone second-guessed their own station in life. That’s why, Brown said, he even started streaming on Twitch.
Kane Brown’s new album proves his fan base remains strong
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Thankfully, Brown is back with his long-awaited third album in 2022. Different Man reflects the amount of change he’s experienced in his personal life – he and his wife Katelyn welcomed a second daughter in 2021 – and the evolution of his music career.
The album has earned critical praise for its ambitious blending of country, rock, pop, and R&B musical influences. For the first time in his career, Brown co-produced one of his own albums. And as proven by how single “Grand” reflects his time during quarantine, Different Man doesn’t shy away from getting personal.
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