For country superstar Kane Brown, the last six years have been a blur of awards and accomplishments in a career trajectory that has taken him to the top of the Nashville music industry.
Back in 2014, the then 22-year-old singer was a minor internet star with almost 50,000 followers on Twitter. A year later, the number was closer to 300,000. Then 785,000. His cover of George Strait's "Check Yes or No" blew up and got 7 million views, earning him the attention of the labels in Nashville. As if they needed more proof of his online appeal, in October of 2015 Brown released "Used To Love You Sober," which was watched by 1 million people in three hours and 11 million in two weeks.
He would eventually sign with Sony Music Nashville in January 2016, recording under its RCA Nashville label. He opened for Florida Georgia Line that same year and has recorded with Chris Young and Lauren Alaina. In fact, his and Alaina's 2016 duet, "What Ifs," reached No. 1. He's also earned several Academy of Country Music, Billboard, American Music and Country Music Television awards and nominations.
"When I started, I thought, 'OK, when I get 50,000 Twitter followers, I will have made it,'" he said. "Then it was 100,000. Then I did 'Ellen,' and I'd say, 'Now, I've made it.'"
A few weeks ago, it was announced that he will be at the top of the bill for the Country Thunder festival shows in Florida and Wisconsin with Eric Church and Blake Shelton.
He ranks seeing his name on the Country Thunder bill with Church and Shelton, and the birth of his daughter among his most prized accomplishments to date. His next goal, he said, is to record a new album filled with nothing but hit songs.
"I want to make the album the biggest that we've done so far," he said.
Brown grew up in the North Georgia/Chattanooga area raised by a single mother, and later his grandmother, after his father went to prison in 1996. He attended several schools during that time, including Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School, where he met and sang in the choir with Alaina, who made her move on Nashville after finishing as runner-up on the 10th season of "American Idol" in 2011.
Brown married Katelyn Jae in 2017, and the two have a daughter named Kingsley Rose.
Brown said things have happened so fast, and he has been so focused on what's next, he hasn't taken the time to appreciate what has already taken place.
"I was thinking about that the other day," he said. "I need to take the time to be grateful for every day. That is something I need to work on."
One of the things that has helped him to take some time to reflect has been working with Lowe's and the retailer's 100 Hometowns initiative. To celebrate the chain's centennial, it is making donations and working with communities around the country to repair, renovate or rejuvenate things such as recreation and youth centers, playgrounds or shelters.
Brown said he learned as a kid that one of the keys in life is to be careful about who you run with. He has continued that policy today and said he either hangs out with old friends or a few people in the business that he trusts. People like Jason Aldean and Brown's neighbor Jon Pardi.
"I learned that when I was young," he said. "It's how you stay out of trouble, by not hanging out with people who make the news. Plus, our wives get along, so we all get along and just hang out."
He said he's learned a couple of lessons from some of the veteran performers as well.
"Always stay humble, and never let your head get too big. And always have fun on stage because if you are having fun, the audience will have fun."
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.