May 10, 2017
Country music continues to change, and rising country star Chris Lane is the latest example of an artist pushing that change. The North Carolina native is not afraid to experiment – vocally or musically – and his debut album, Girl Problems, strays from the traditional country sound.
Billboard described one single on the album, “For Her,” as a “musical love child” of Conway Twitty and the Backstreet Boys.
Lane released Girl Problems last August, and it hasn’t caused him any problems at all. Instead, the album earned him a nomination from the Academy of Country Music Awards for New Male Vocalist of the Year.
Girl Problems peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. His single, “Fix,” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart.
Despite his busy schedule, Lane took the time to tell us about his awesome group of writers, golfing with Rascal Flatts and letting Britney Spears put a leash on him during her recent show.
SoundExchange: It had to be an honor to earn a nomination for the Academy of Country Music Awards’ New Male Vocalist of the Year. Tell us about that experience.
Chris Lane: It was definitely a memorable moment. My tour manager woke me up early the morning the nominations came out and then hit me with the news that our bus was currently broke down. But hey, the bad news didn’t phase me because of my excitement over the nomination. It was a dream come true for sure.
SoundExchange: And you know you have to tell us the story behind that suit you donned to the Awards. Where did that come from, and what kind of remarks did you get from people?
Chris Lane: My stylist, Steph, brought some ideas to the table and as soon as I saw that particular suit, it definitely stood out. I had never worn anything like that so I thought I’d go a little out of the box this time. Even though it got some funny remarks, I actually did get several compliments from other artists. Tim McGraw and Keith Urban both were very nice and liked it. So, all in all, that totally made my day.
SoundExchange: You’re on quite a lengthy tour at the moment with Florida Georgia Line. What’s your favorite part of touring and performing?
Chris Lane: I love coming out each night and getting the crowd hyped up for FGL. The fans show up each night ready to throw down and have fun. They definitely embrace new music, so I can’t wait to get out there every night.
SoundExchange: You’ve also toured with Kelsea Ballerini, Dustin Lynch and Rascal Flatts in just the past year. What are some of the best pieces of advice that more established artists have provided?
Chris Lane: I’ve learned little things from each of those artists. I actually learn more by just watching; each act is so good that I am lucky to get to see it night in and night out.
SoundExchange: You’ve said you played A LOT of golf on tour with Rascal Flatts. Who’s a better golfer – you, Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus or Joe Don Rooney?
Chris Lane: I wish I could say myself, but I have some work to do before I can catch up to Joe Don. I was really lucky to get to play some great courses with those guys and really practice my game.
SoundExchange: You aren’t a typical country artist – and that’s not easy to achieve these days because a lot of artists are pushing the boundaries. What elements from other genres are you introducing into your own music and who are your influences from other genres?
Chris Lane: I am a fan of a lot of different genres. I grew up on country and it is still my favorite to this day. But, just like most people I had a lot of different radio stations programmed in my truck and listened to them all. I think you can hear the R&B and pop influence in my music today. For instance, I was just messing around singing an Usher song in the studio. My producer heard me and from that day we decided to start using some falsetto in my music.
SoundExchange: You said you fell in love with “Fix” the first time you heard it. What do you love about it, and are you continuing to work with “Fix” writers Sarah Buxton, Jesse Frasure and Abe Stoklassa?
Chris Lane: “Fix” was just one of those songs that jumped out to me. It was so different from what I was recording at the time that I knew I wanted to head in that direction. I love all those writers; they are so talented. Sarah has a wrote a few songs specifically for what I am doing so that is a nice luxury to have. I have been friends with Jesse for a while and love hearing what he is doing; he is very forward-thinking and I love that. Abe was great on this project and “Fix” really turned me on to what he is doing and the success that is following him.
SoundExchange: Finally, we need to know the back story behind your appearance with Britney Spears in Las Vegas. How did you end up on stage with Britney holding a leash that was fastened to you?
Chris Lane: I’ve always been a Britney fan and I had a chance to meet her before the show that night. She asked me if I could dance and kind of left it at that. I had no clue what I was getting into. If you watch the video close enough, you can see that I can’t stop laughing through the whole thing!
SoundExchange: How important has streaming been for you as a new artist as you promote Girl Problems? Do you feel as though streaming makes it easier for fans to discover your music?
Chris Lane: The way you consume music is ever-changing and streaming has certainly helped my career. We have had some great partners on the streaming services side and they have extended my reach to fans through playlists, etc. It still blows my mind when I look at streaming numbers on some of my songs and see just how many times it has been played.