Kane Brown Reflects on Why His Race Still Matters in Country Music

Kane Brown might not look like most other country artists, but that doesn't matter to him – and he's on a mission to make it not matter to anyone else as well. The 25-year-old, who is a mix of African-American, Cherokee and Caucasian, is working harder than ever to dispel people's stereotypes, not just in country music, but in life.

“There was a woman the other day saying that it’s awesome to see someone bringing back '90s country, but she was not expecting me to be the guy to do it,” Brown recalled to Billboard. “And my first question was, ‘Why?’ I’m doing the same thing as everyone else in country music. So why am I the one you don’t expect?”

Brown, who swept the American Music Awards, winning in all three categories he was nominated in (Favorite Country Male Artist, Favorite Country Album and Favorite Country Song), knows why he might be perceived as the unexpected savior of country music, even if he doesn't like the answer.

“[It's] the race card,” he maintained. “Right now, [my race] does matter. People always say, ‘There are plenty of black country artists out there! There is Charley Pride! Darius Rucker!’ That’s all they can name. They don’t understand what we go through, and a lot of people who are fans of traditional country music, as they call it, look at us and aren’t going to say, ‘Y’all like country music.’”

Brown might toe the line of traditional country music, drawing on both his pop and r&b influences in addition to the country music he was raised on, but that doesn't mean his choices are without criticism.

“Everyone should have equal opportunities and equal rights, but you can’t even have an opinion without somebody going off on you,” he maintained. “That’s what’s wrong with this world today.”

Brown certainly has eclectic musical taste, but at least he comes by it honestly. The newly-married singer is the son of a country music-loving mother and a father who was forced to put his musical aspirations on hold when he went to jail in 1996.

“He’s a drummer, which I didn’t even know,” Brown revealed. “He brags about me and talks about how good he is on the drums. I always joke with him and say that I’m going to hire him when he gets out.”

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Brown's sophomore Experiment will be out on Nov. 9. He will kick off his headlining Live Forever Tour on Jan. 19, with Granger Smith joining him on all dates, and RaeLynn, Danielle Bradbery and Jimmie Allen each joining on select dates. Find more information at KaneBrownMusic.com.

Photo Credit: Getty images/Alberto E. Rodriguez