Interview: Chris Lane Finds His Signature Sound on ‘Girl Problems’
Thanks to his almost-at-No. 1 single "Fix," country fans have gotten to know Chris Lane as an artist with an impressive falsetto and an R&B lean -- but those following Lane for a few years now (or those particularly tuned into the genre's up-and-comers) know another side of Lane: the side that, two years ago, released the more country-rock, but still poppy, "Broken Windshield View."
In 2014, Lane and producer Joey Moi put out "Broken Windshield View" to coincide with Lane's time on the road with Florida Georgia Line (also Moi bedfellows) -- something to help fans remember the newbie's name.
"It was really just a song we had already recorded while we were trying to figure out the direction we wanted to go in," Lane tells The Boot, adding that, these days, "[i]t is certainly a lot different than all the other songs," but when he removed the tune from his setlist over the winter, fans demanded he put it back in.
"At this point, it's a good set-opener," Lane says, "and gets the energy going from the very beginning."
On Friday (Aug. 5), Lane released his debut full-length album, Girl Problems. Fans won't find "Broken Windshield View" -- or anything like it, really -- on the disc because, in the 24 or so months since, Lane and Moi have crafted a different vibe, focusing on the singer's falsetto (discovered somewhat by accident) and propensity for "groove-oriented" music that "just felt good and would make for a fun live show."
"Joey definitely has a signature sound, no doubt about it," Lane admits of his producer, "but what he's great at is making each artist sound different in their own way ... It was a little nerve-wracking at the beginning, for me, working with someone who's been so successful, but there's a reason he's been."
Another "back in the day" fact about Lane: Shortly before graduating from college, he auditioned for American Idol on a whim, with his brother -- and didn't make the cut; however, like fellow Idol reject Maren Morris, Lane sees a positive to the experience.
"While I may have been a little bummed I didn't make it, I didn't deserve to make it, that's for sure," he confesses, noting that not making Idol forced him to start a cover band and "really learn from scratch" and find out what worked (and didn't) for him.
Judging by the success of "Fix" and the content of Lane's first record, "what worked" is mix of country and pop, drawing from both sides of his spectrum of influences (George Strait, Usher, Garth Brooks, Justin Timberlake, Kenny Chesney and the Backstreet Boys, to name a few). In fact, as a second single, Lane is considering "For Her," a song he calls "my Backstreet Boys moment," which is currently receiving some airplay on satellite radio. He also cites "All the Time" as a personal favorite, explaining "there's just something about that song that I really love," and says "Who's It Gonna Be" has already become a crowd favorite.
"People really react to [it] live," Lane shares. "They don't even know it, but yet they're reacting to it. That's a good sign."
On the road with Rascal Flatts this summer, Lane has been giving fans a sneak peek at Girl Problems' tracks. The trek opened with back-to-back shows in Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C., at venues Lane -- a Kernersville, N.C., native -- had been to countless times as a fan, and at which he'd "paid for more than a handful of Rascal Flatts concerts." The artist calls the experience "mindblowing," adding that watching the Flatts and fellow opening act Kelsea Ballerini night after night "has helped me tremendously."
The tour has also helped his golf game: Rascal Flatts are avid golfers, and Lane's been invited to play with them while on the road.
"The tour's been awesome, but that's been the cherry on top," Lane gushes, admitting with a laugh that "they're definitely schooling me."
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