Kane Brown is one of the hottest new artists in country music, but he still has to face some haters because he’s part black.
“There’s a lot of people — I see them online all the time,” says Brown, whose mother is white and father is African-American and Cherokee. “But I stay away from negativity, so I block that stuff out. It’s part of the job. Growing up biracial has gotten me ready for this part.”
Certainly, Brown has been primed for his moment to become one of the rare artists of color — Charley Pride and Darius Rucker among them — to make it big in a genre that’s been predominantly white.
Last month, the 25-year-old crooner won three American Music Awards behind his platinum debut album, 2016’s “Kane Brown.” Now he’s back with his second LP, “Experiment,” which drops Friday and has already spawned the exuberant hit “Lose It.” He geared up for his album release on Wednesday with a concert at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Growing up in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., Brown was first schooled on country music but then branched out into R&B artists such as Usher and Chris Brown. In middle school, he met Lauren Alaina, the 2011 “American Idol” runner-up, who became his duet partner on his 2017 hit “What Ifs.”
“We were in chorus class together,” he says. “I was the quiet kid who didn’t want to be in there, and she was the star of the class. She kinda brought me out of my shell one day. She heard me humming, and she told the music teacher, so we ended up doing a duet together.”
He and Alaina ended up singing MercyMe’s “I Can Only Imagine” together. Years later, inspired by her success on “American Idol,” he auditioned for the show in 2012. “They told me they didn’t need another Scotty McCreery,” he says, referring to the country singer who beat Alaina the year before.
But after making it on to “The X Factor” — he quit when they wanted him to be a part of a boy band — Brown started generating social-media buzz with his Facebook covers of songs such as Lee Brice’s “I Don’t Dance” and George Strait’s “Check Yes or No.”
Now Brown has become a country star in his own right. But instead of rocking cowboy hats and boots, the smooth baritone has done it with an edgier, swaggier style that includes tattoos up to his neck.
Last month, he got some very special ink on his right hand: a wedding-day tat with the name of his new bride, Katelyn Jae, a singer and Berklee College of Music student. The couple got hitched outside of Nashville, Tenn., where he’s based.
Meanwhile, Brown has also been feeling the love from diverse audiences.
“Everybody’s coming to my shows just because everybody feels like they can fit in,” he says. “I have people of all colors, all races, people who are in same-sex relationships. And you know what, that’s just what the world should be.”
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