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Kane Brown musically ‘ready for anything’ headed his way

Kane Brown | PHOTO BY GREGG ROTH

Aspiring artist Kane Brown is a man of few words at the moment, perhaps because he is shocked that he just might be on the cusp of country music stardom.

“All of this is crazy,” he said, calling from a recent stop on his current whirlwind tour — the city’s name he could not recall at the moment. “I grew up not having anything. My mom was a single mom and we lived on a farm and I’d go outside and play with the rocks. I’m used to not having everything.”

KANE BROWN

With: Courtney Cole

When: 7 p.m., March 20

Where: Joe’s Live, 5441 Park Place, Rosemont

Tickets: SOLD OUT

Info: Joesliverosemont.com

Yet, if he plays his country music cards right, he just might end up with a whole lot.

On the verge of releasing his label debut EP, “Chapter 1,” on March 18, Brown is also currently savoring success of his debut single “Used to Love You Sober,” which has already gone viral with over 200,000 downloads and over 2.2 million streams to date.

Brown grew up in Georgia, listening to country music artists such as Shania Twain, Sugarland and Tim McGraw, and stocking the shelves at the local Target. “I worked all kinds of different jobs there,” Brown said with a Southern drawls. “I unloaded the trucks, too. I was one of the fastest ones. I was just trying to pay off my truck and pay some bills.”

And then everything changed.

He had always enjoyed singing, but never thought he could make a career out of it. Fate stepped in and he released some songs on YouTube, songs that echoed the country classics of legends such as George Strait along with a voice that no one could believe.

“There was a night where I was laying in bed and my phone started going crazy,” Brown recalled of the day he shared his rendition of Lee Brice’s “I Don’t Dance” with his then meager legion of followers. “All of a sudden, I had 900 friend requests and thousands of shares. It was crazy to see the numbers and the comments. My now manager found me on social media, and everything started blowing up.”

It was not long until Nashville found Kane, too. His single “Used to Love You Sober” is one of five tracks on his new EP, four of those written by Brown himself. His fans are coming out in droves to stops along his first headlining tour that includes over 35 sold-out dates, including his Joe’s Live stop this weekend in Rosemont. Brown has started to get comfortable with his newfound stardom.

“I’m working on my stage presence,” he said in a surprisingly shy tone. “I’m getting used to walking around the stage and communicating better with the audience.”

This refinement is sure to be on display this summer, when Brown will head out with fellow country mainstays Florida Georgia Line, Cole Swindell and The Cadillac Three for the 56-date 2016 Dig Your Roots Tour, which will include stops in Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver and Nashville.

“I was asked to open for Jason Aldean and I wanted to go, but I thought that FGL was just more of my crowd, so I’m looking forward to everyone coming out and having fun,” Brown said enthusiastically, his voice resembling some sort of tone that some media-savvy coach encouraged him to try. A second later, he sounds like himself again with a sincerity and a humbleness that so many fans fell in love with in the first place.

“Look — I know that I wouldn’t have been found if it wasn’t for technology,” he said with conviction. “Sometimes I really wish I could write and sing the older country that I really love, but that’s just not the way to go these days. And that’s OK. I’m ready for anything that’s about to come my way.”

Tricia Despres is a local freelance writer.

Posted on March 16, 2016.