Kane Brown may be one of the biggest stars in country music. But, had the 29-year-old hitmaker taken an offer given out to him early on in his career, things would’ve looked a bit different. He likely would have still been an artist of his genre, but instead of flying solo, he would have been blending his voice with singers as a member of a boy band.
Brown, who has shared that he has auditioned for numerous TV shows before finding fame, recently appeared on Smooth Country, where he talked about auditioning for The X Factor, a British singing competition show that gave rise to former pop bands like One Direction and Fifth Harmony. While auditioning for the program, Brown was asked to join Restless Road.
“I remember that day when they asked me. It was like I was getting punched in the stomach, like say no, say no. So I did,” Brown told Smooth Country’s Eamonn Kelly of the moment he had to make an informed decision. “I didn’t just do The X Factor once. I mean, I did a lot of other TV shows too, and that was the furthest I had made it. It was, ‘Yo. You can be on the show if you join this boy band.’ And part of me wanted to do it, but I had never had a feeling that strong. I was supposed to be put in this group called Restless Road.”
Brown, who is now the name behind such hits as “Heaven,” “Like I Love Country Music,” and “One Mississippi,” said a couple of years later, he noticed the rising trio covering his songs on Twitter.
“I was like, ‘Well. That’s cool,’” Brown recalled.
These Days, Brown and Restless Road work closely together as the band of Zach Beeken, Colton Pack, and Garrett Nichols became the first act to sign onto Brown’s 1021 Entertainment label in 2020. Since then, the group has also opened for Brown on tour.
“They’re signed to my record label now, and they’re killing it. They’ve been going to every show with me. They’ve been on tour with me for, I think, two years now,” Brown said. “They’re very passionate, and I’ve known ’em for seven years. They’re great guys. They’re super talented. They have great songs, and we’re just trying to break them next.”
While Brown received offers, during his time trying out various reality shows, he found fame through a different route. Instead of relying on reality television to break into the music business, he used social media to get his name in front of new people. After posting videos of himself singing songs by artists like George Strait and Tim McGraw, Brown’s clips started going viral, paving the way for his first record deal.
“For a year straight I was just putting out covers. I had moved to so many different schools. It was easy to get a hundred likes on Facebook, which wouldn’t do anything for you. But I was like, ‘Well. People know that I like to sing.’ Once I did go viral, that just became the thing. I was like, ‘Well. Maybe I can make something of this,” Brown remembered. “I never thought a record deal would come out of it, but I was like, ‘Maybe I can start writing my music, and people will buy it, and I can get money from iTunes.’ And that’s what happened for the first two years or so, and then now, it’s way past my expectations.”
And, while Brown is at a point where most artists can only dream of, he remains humble and has plenty of goals he’d like to reach.
“I don’t look at myself as this huge artist… just look at myself as a little boy from Georgia that’s trying to just make it for his family and keep going as long as he can,” the loving husband to wife Katelyn Brown and proud father to kids Kodi Jane and Kingsley Rose, shares. “I don’t really pinch myself because I don’t ever look back [and] just keep trying to go forward, and I don’t get excited over any accomplishments, or anything like that. I think once I’m finally done, then I will.”
On March 16, Brown will begin the U.S. leg of his Drunk or Dreaming Tour. The trek, which launches in support of his Different Man album, will feature special guests Dustin Lynch, Gabby Barrett, and LOCASH on select dates.