Celebrated by Rolling Stone as one of the “10 New Country Artists You Need To Know,” Chris Lane ascended into the national spotlight in 2014, landing on many “Artist To Watch” lists as well as garnering a Top 5 finalist position in Macy’s iHeartRadio Rising Star contest. Lane started out playing club shows near his hometown of Kernersville, NC and then went onto open shows for Brett Eldredge and Thomas Rhett, and tour with Florida Georgia Line, Nelly, and more. Currently on his first-ever radio tour, Lane is gearing up for the release of his debut EP as well as joining Dustin Lynch on his nationwide Hell Of A Night Tour. In advance of a very busy fall, Lane kindly took the time to talk about the EP, his new single “Fix” and more.
Being that you were very into athletics, when did you know that you wanted to pursue music? Was it there alongside sports, or did it come later?
To be honest with you, all I really knew growing up was football and baseball. I loved singing along to the radio, but it was not something I really put a lot of thought into. It wasn’t until after college that I really started digging in and really learning to play the guitar. And it kind of took off from there. I started a cover band in North Carolina which led me into writing my own music and that led me to where I am now with Big Loud Records.
Numerous outlets such as Rolling Stone, Spotify and Taste of Country named you to their "One to Watch" lists. Is it exciting, do you feel pressure, a mix of both or something else?
It is very, very exciting for me even to be considered for something like that. I could never imagine anything like that happening to me when I was in playing shows every weekend in North Carolina, so it’s cool. I don’t feel pressure, I’m just excited to get the music out there, and hopefully people like it.
Joey Moi, who has worked with Dallas Smith and FGL, produced the EP. How did you connect with him for the project? Have you known him for a while?
It was a brand new relationship for me. It’s funny because I was on my way to South Carolina to play a show when the Florida Georgia Line EP came out. I was listening to it on the drive and just loved the sound of it. I kept thinking to myself “Man, I wonder who did this?” So I looked it up, saw it was Joey and wondered how somebody even gets a hold of someone like that to work with them. Now, probably a year later, I ended up here and he’s my producer.
Did you record the EP with him in Nashville?
We recorded it in Nashville on the bottom floor of Big Loud Records where he’s recorded all of the records with FGL, Jake Owen and others. I’m hoping I can have some of the same success as those guys.
For sure there has to be some good juju in that room! Did you write for the project?
I spent a lot of time collaborating with some great songwriters and I have a lot of songs I’m excited about, some are on there and some aren’t. My approach was that best song wins, that’s how I did it.
Actually, I had five or six songs finished and those were the ones I was going to go with [for the EP] and honestly, I’ll tell you what happened. Sarah Buxton and Jesse Frasure were the writers on “Fix” [his new single] and after Sarah heard the finished version, she sat down and started to write songs that were similar in sound, with the falsetto, for me. I’m a huge fan of hers so the fact that she was aiming songs straight for me, was trying to write on a daily basis for me……she nailed it on the head with four songs in a row and I ended up cutting all of them.
Wow, how different then are the songs that you were going to put on the EP from the ones on the completed project?
The previous ones were a little more straight down the center. Some of these songs [on the EP] are a little on the fringe, a little left of center, but we didn’t take it too far. It’s just a different vibe all around--one that we discovered when “Fix” came along. My manager called me saying he had a cool song he wanted me to listen to; that it was the missing puzzle piece. I listened to it and it was so different. At first it was very intimidating because of the high falsetto parts--I wasn’t sure I could do it--but when I got in the vocal booth it was one of those things where I just really took to the song. My producer looked at me and said "This is what we’ve been missing, this is what you’re really great at and the route we should have been going the whole time." So we wiped all of the other songs, basically because of “Fix.” If “Fix" hadn’t happened I never would have ended up with the songs I have now. You know, it was painful to start over because at that point I was dying to get music out, as any new artists would. Now, I’m just really glad we didn’t rush it because you just get to make one first impression and I want to make sure the songs are right. I feel like this is my sound and hopefully that will help separate me from what other people do because as a young artist it’s not easy to stand out from other talented artists.
The overall sound on the record has a R & B, Justin Timberlake/Nick Jonas vibe. Were there any specific influences you looked to once you found that missing piece?
Thank you I’m a fan of both of them. When I was choosing songs and writing songs, I was always attracted to the songs that made you want to dance, move and feel good. That’s the music I wanted, and got to record, so I’m very excited about it.
“Fix” has a little Maroon 5 and Matchbox Twenty feel, and the other songs are pretty high energy songs that would seem to go over well live. Have you been performing any and if so, what’s the reaction been?
You know I haven’t. I’ve been performing songs on a radio tour and the reaction to the music has been really great- which pumps me up even more! The band’s rehearsing now and I’m going to get in there and we'll make sure we get it right. I’m very excited to perform these songs live on the Dustin Lynch tour; it’s going to be a lot of fun every night! You have to love the songs you sing on stage and I’m going to love these songs every single night.
The fans will definitely be able to sense that!
The Dustin Lynch tour is a pretty high profile one to be on.
I’m excited. I know Dustin pretty well, he’s a great guy and I’m super thankful he chose me to go out on this tour. I’m excited to go to these cities, some I’ve been to and some I haven’t, to see familiar faces and hopefully meet a lot of new people. This is the first tour I’ve been on that I’ll actually have music out too, so there’s a lot to be excited about right now. I love the creative process, but for me hands down being on stage and performing is the best part of music for me.
You have toured with FGL, and opened for Brett Eldredge and Thomas Rhett, all artists who have seen a pretty rapid ascent. Did they impart any advice to you if you followed the same path?
Brian and Tyler are so great. They have taken me under their wing and have been so supportive. And for me, that’s about as good of advice as I need, just to have them on my side.
Finally, is there any one thing you want to accomplish over the next year?
Just getting my EP out is a check off my bucket list because I never thought that I would be able to do that and be where I am now.
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