Not many artists are known for their falsettos (only Jason DeRulo and Adam Levine instantly come to mind) but country music newcomer Chris Lane definitely makes a nice addition to that list. His debut EP, Fix, and single of the same name are currently top 25 and climbing on country radio and iTunes charts! Chris has been out with Dustin Lynch on the Hell Of A Night Tour which had it’s last show in the Twin Cities on Sunday night where Chris gave an electric performance that had the entire venue on their feet and dancing! We were lucky enough to be able to sit down with Chris fresh off his Grand Ole Opry debut the previous night and before he hit the stage to ask him some questions about his musical influences, the Fix EP, and what else is in the works for 2016. Read on to get your Chris Lane fix!
Believe it or not, music wasn’t Chris Lane’s first career choice. “During college, I played college baseball, but during some downtime I would go to concerts and Keith Urban was one of those concerts that I went to as a freshman and I loved everything about everything he did on stage. Just his charisma, everything about it! That inspired me to want to learn to play the guitar; I never thought about singing. I went to several more of his concerts after that and it got me thinking I would love to do this one day, but my dream was to play professional baseball. I thought that’s what I would do after college, but I had a lot of knee surgeries and during those knee surgeries gave me a lot of down time to learn to play the guitar and once I graduated college no one was going to waste their money on some one who had been hurt that many times. So, I moved home after college and started helping my dad with his landscaping business and that’s when I really started digging in on the guitar. Then, I started learning how to sing and play at the same time and I started a cover band there in North Carolina and a couple years into that I had enough people coming out to the shows that it made me think maybe I should try writing my own music. I didn’t know what I was doing I just sat down and wrote some songs and put out a little record, and a lot of hard work and several years later it landed me where I am now with Big Loud Mountain and getting an EP out there and a song on the radio and playing the Opry is a dream come true. I never thought in a million years when I started out as a cover band that anything like that would ever happen. Especially in a small town, it’s crazy!”
While it may seem like everything just so happened to work out, Chris notes that at first his guitar skills were not great. “I made a lot of people mad, like my parents I drove them out of their mind. My college roommates I drove them out of their minds. I remember they’d make me go out into the garage because they’d be like, ‘Dude shut up, stop playing’ because I was so bad. I mean there was plenty of times that I wanted to give up and I was like I’m never going to get this, my fingers are too small, but I just stuck with it and worked really hard at it and eventually got it. It probably took me a good year to get even decent and I played at least 20 minutes a day and once you get it you’re just like how in the heck did you not get this before?”
Even though professional baseball wasn’t the path Chris chose, it’s still a passion of his and he says he would love to see a game at Yankee Stadium, “I’m not a Yankees fan, but I’d love to see a game there.” He also told us about a cool experience he had when he first signed with Big Loud Mountain, “I did get to live out a dream earlier in my musical career right when I signed with Big Loud Mountain. I grew up a huge Braves fan, I grew up a huge Chipper Jones fan and it just so happened to be, the Braves do this thing for young artists and it happened to be Chipper Jones jersey retirement night, I got to go out on the field and play three songs into a sold out Braves stadium.” Besides baseball and music, some of his other hobbies include, “my favorite thing to do in the world other than music is golf. I’m obsessed with golf! Golf can be the most frustrating sport in the world but it’s the random birdie that you’ll get every now and then that keeps sucking you back in. If I have down time I don’t care what I have to do I’m going to play golf.”
You might think playing to a sold out Braves stadium early in your career would make other performances a lot less nerve wracking, but Chris says that was definitely not the case with his Grand Ole Opry debut last Saturday night, “It was very nerve racking. But also very exciting, I mean I’m honored that I had the opportunity to do that and I had Sarah Buxton who’s a writer on that song [Fix], I’m a huge fan of hers, she actually came and sang with me which was amazing to have her out there with me. It went good and I was excited, but walking up there it just hit me because you know, you just realize who’s played here and who’s stood in that same spot and it was a little overwhelming, but it was fun and I had a great time.”
Talking about some of his other musical influences, Chris says, “I grew up on all the country classics like George Strait, Garth Brooks, Allan Jackson, Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney. I grew up obsessed with them, but I also love Justin Timberlake and Usher and the Backstreet Boys.” He would also love to duet with a few different people from other music genres, “There’s a lot of people I would love to duet with, I mean outside of country someone like Justin Timberlake, Usher, Taylor Swift. I love everything Taylor Swift does! Oh my gosh she’s good, she just gets it!”
Talking about his own music, Chris’ new EP may be named Fix and the first single of the same name may have accumulated the most first week single adds from a debut male artist in Country Aircheck history, but it almost wasn’t even a part of the EP, “I was actually five or six songs deep, basically finished with my EP before “Fix” came along so I was going in a different direction and it wasn’t until, it’s kind of funny how it happened, one day I was walking back and forth in the studio and I was singing some Usher song, just singing it to myself kind of joking around and I sang this really high falsetto part and my producer turned around in his chair and he was like, ‘What was that?’ and I was like, ‘What was what?’ and he said, ‘What you just did, why don’t you do that in the vocal booth?’ and I said, ‘Well we don’t have stuff like that to do that’ and he thought we should be doing that and I didn’t really think anything else about it. Then about a week and half later my manager calls and he said, ‘Man I have this song called “Fix”, listen to it, call me back and let me know what you think about it. I feel like maybe this is the missing puzzle piece to what we’ve been looking for.’ As soon as I heard it I loved everything about it, like everything. I was a little intimidated because it did have the high falsetto parts in there and I was kind of just joking around when I did it in the studio, but it was one of those songs I got in the vocal booth and immediately just took to the song and everybody was like alright we should have been doing this the whole time. I mean they loved everything else and loved the other songs as well, but you don’t hear the whole falsetto thing in country music that often and we thought maybe we could make this our thing and hopefully help separate me from what some of the other guys are doing. Then as painful as it was, I was dying to get music out at that point, but I had to just wait it out because we felt that maybe we should just start over with ‘Fix’ even though the other songs are great, but we just ended up going in a different direction. Which I’m glad I waited because I never would have had the music that I have now, but it was painful waiting.”
Speaking of those other songs and how he chooses what goes on the record, Chris says, “for me, I have a lot of songs that I’ve written and some will go on my full record as well, but the way that I choose songs, I’m not one of those guys that has to record every single song that I write. I mean I have specifics that I really really like, but for me it’s whether I’ve written it or not, best song wins.” When it comes to his music, Chris hopes that his songs make listeners, “feel good and wanna roll your window down and jam to it.”
We think Chris Lane has done just that the Fix EP as evidenced by all the dancing and jumping around that was happening in the crowd during his performance Sunday night. We wish Chris all the success and he tells us, “the full album should be out hopefully this summer” and to stay tuned for some big news regarding a summer tour in the coming weeks! To stay updated on all things Chris Lane follow him on Instagram and Twitter @iamchrislane and sign up for newsletters on his website. Also grab your copy his Fix EP in stores and on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon Music!
Written by Jackie Ebnet for MinnesotaCountry.com