Kane Brown is one of the few Black artists who have found success in country music, but the 27-year-old doesn't want the color of his skin to overshadow any of his achievements. In a candid conversation for Billboard along with fellow country music boundary-breakers Mickey Guyton and Brothers Osborne, Brown revealed that his recent career achievement of winning his first ACM Award for Video fo the Year for "Worldwide Beautiful" made him feel tokenized, which caused him to question the success he experienced.
"This year has been s—, but I just won my first ACM Award. And it wasn't like, 'Congratulations on winning your first ACM. How does it feel?' It was like, 'How does it feel being Black and winning your first ACM?'" he recalled. "So in my head, I was like, 'I feel like I'm about to win this award because of everything that's going on right now.' I felt like they were just giving me a handout. And luckily, I had a lot of country artists and my team be like, 'No, you worked your a— off. You deserve it.'"
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Brown added that finding his own personal balance on social media amid all the social issues brought up over the past year was also difficult for him. "This year has been crazy. If you talk about how you feel, you get bashed," he said. "If you don't talk about it, you get bashed. Just trying to find where your place is has been the hardest part for me this year."
The "Worship You" singer explained that the easiest way for him to discuss how he's feeling is through his music. "I tend to channel a lot of my honest feelings or experiences into my songs," he said. "I'm very open with my fans about my life, but I also try to stay positive. It's honestly a balance I'm figuring out, but a barrier comes down when writing lyrics. Writing [2016 single] 'Learning' was a way to talk about growing up, and I hope when other people hear that song or other songs of mine that it gives them hope."
Brown is currently working on his next album, which will follow his 2020 EP Mixtape Vol. 1. "I'm more focused on touring, but I've been writing basically every day," he said. "I like so many different sounds, so it's finding which ones go together."