Kane Brown Credits Florida Georgia Line With Making Him Feel Welcome in Country Music

Kane Brown began testing the waters of country music long before he released his debut Chapter 1 EP in early 2016. Although he initially didn't think he would fit in the genre, he credits several artists with showing him there was room for his eclectic style of music.

"We had Tim McGraw," Brown told Beats 1 on Apple Music. "He was the first person that I listened to and back then, '90s country to me was the greatest era of country. Then, I started listening to Florida Georgia Line and 'Cruise' and it was such a broader audience kind of thing. I felt like just everybody could listen to it. Like, country music was growing. So I was like, 'I could be a part of this.'"

"Then, I got to see everybody," he continued. "I got to see Sam Hunt and Thomas Rhett, and it was like there was no more – nobody was really wearing cowboy boots anymore and all that. I was like, 'Oh. These people look like the world.'"

Brown is proud of how far country music has come, accepting not only different styles of music, but also opening its proverbial arms to all kinds of people as well.

"You come to one of my shows and we have all different races," boasted the singer. "People that like the same sex. You got people who you would not think would even remotely listen to country music and they do. My shows are basically like what we want the world to be, where everybody gets along. I think that's why my fans connect with me and they connect with each other. I just felt like I could fit in."

The 25-year-old not only felt embraced by country music fans, but by several artists, who believed in him, sometimes before he fully believed in himself.

"It was like [Jason] Aldean, Brad Paisley, Florida Georgia Line, Chris Young," Brown said of artists who reached out to him. "It was all the guys that's been in it for a while. Me and the new artists, we didn't really talk that much, but it's starting to happen more and more now."

Brown, who just wrapped up opening for Young on his Losing Sleep World Tour, and will soon headline his own Live Forever Tour, has had a few growing pains along the way, which only made him stronger as a performer.

"I did maybe 15 shows before I was doing amphitheaters and arenas with FGL and I was not ready," admitted Brown. "It bumped me into gear sooner, so it was a good thing that we did it. It just made us grow. Then Aldean came and asked us for the next year and he really helped us grow and it showed me that you got to bring energy to the stage. You can't be scared and you got to have fun. So, we learned a lot."

Brown also learned, albeit the hard way, the perils of being a boss, and the importance of surrounding himself with good people.

"We had a band leader and he was my boy, but he thought he was just hot stuff," Brown recalled. "He didn't really help the band out at all. We practiced songs, but we didn't practice how it's supposed to sound. We practiced how we thought it was supposed to sound. Then we had a band leader come in. He's been in the game for a little while so he was telling everybody you got to learn the individual parts. So, everybody started doing that. My band's grown so much and they push me to grow. It helped a lot just getting forced into everything."

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Brown's latest album, Experiment, is available for purchase on his website.

Photo Credit: Getty images/Alberto E. Rodriguez