If there is one rising Country singer to look for in 2016, it's Chris Lane. This year was an exciting one for the artist from Kernersville, North Carolina. His hit song "Fix" was first released on October 30th, and in less than two months, officially became the most added song on Country radio nationwide as of December 7th. You may even have his new EP record -- titled the same as his single -- which he released on November 13th. Well, it's a new year and you can definitely look forward to more new music from Chris, which he told us about recently in an exclusive interview when he visited iHeartRadio HQ.
Chris was inspired to become a musician after attending a Keith Urban concert, after graduating college. Until that point he had been playing sports, football and baseball, and hoped one day he would become a professional athlete. However, he explains that after several ACL reconstruction surgeries, it was unlikely that he would get drafted. Despite Chris's injury, little did he know then that it would actually be a blessing in disguise. He tells us, "It really was a blessing in disguise, because my passion for music far outweighs my passion for baseball, and that's hard to believe. Especially for me, knowing how much I love sports."
After college, Chris moved back home where he helped his father do landscaping, while also learning the guitar. Eventually he started a cover band while in North Carolina. His band covered everything from Country, to Hip Hop, to R&B. Then, a few years later, he began writing his own music for the first time. Fast forward to today, and Chris is now signed to Big Loud Records, has a hit single. released a new EP, toured with Florida Georgia Line and Nelly earlier this year, and just finished up a tour with Dustin Lynch.
What makes Chris one of the top Country artists you should definitely watch out for this year, is his unique sound. During a time when Country music continues to evolve, Chris distinguishes himself and his music with his personal style. He explains to us that his sound is fun and energetic, because he wants people to move while listening to his music. He tell us, "It's really just infused with everything that I grew up listening to in country music [and] now. The genres just continue to evolve, and the boundaries are being pushed, and that's why I like to call myself a boundary pusher in the genre."
In case you were wondering, Chris grew up listening to a little bit of everything -- not just Country music. In fact, the stand-out falsetto in his songs comes from Pop and R&B artists like Usher and the Backstreet Boys.
On fusing different genres with Country to create his personal sound
"I think a lot of it is just infused into my style of country. Especially with the high falsetto parts in several of the songs that I recorded. I think I grew up like the average country music fan [who] grew up listening to a little bit of everything, not just country. Country is where my heart is at, it's where I am now, and that's where I want to be. But at the same time, everyone else that's come to the concerts grew up to listening to similar stuff. Just a little bit of everything. So I love the fact that where country is right now, I could infuse what I've always loved into it."
If you listen to Chris's new EP, Fix, his characteristic style of music is apparent throughout. Chris had been working on the six-song EP for about two years, and it includes its hit song of the same name. And once he discovered the falsetto sound in the track, he knew that's what would make him stand out the most.
On how he discovered his falsetto sound on "Fix"
"Once that song came along, I discovered this sound that you don't hear a lot in country music, which is the falsetto part. I talked with my producer a lot about the kind of music I wanted to record and we both felt like this gave me a niche, and a sound, and voice in country that would hopefully separate me from some of what the other guys are doing. So several of the songs has that in it, not all of it is, but I wanted songs that made me feel good. I wanted songs that made me want to move, and hopefully make people want to move as well."
On the meaning behind his hit song "Fix"
"It's just about being that fix. I like to paint the picture of when we were trying to create the music video for this, my treatment for this song is being this dream that every guy wants to be. It's like being the guy that every guy wants to be and you have everything that all girls want. So we painted this picture of, I'm going to walk up behind a ton of different girls, sing a line, and they kind of disappear. And for me it's being that kind of Katy Perry 'Teenage Dream.' Being that guy that every girl wants in a way."
Chris just finished up a tour with Dustin Lynch at the end of 2015, and says that knowing Dustin for "quite some time," he's very grateful he got to go out on the road with him, especially now that he's released new music of his own. "It's exciting to finally see people showing up, and they know the words to the songs." In fact, for Chris, that's the most rewarding part of touring; when his fans sing along to his own songs. He tells us, "It's a different kind of feeling when it's your songs that they're singing back."
This year, in 2016, we can expect to hear more new music from the Country star. He is already in the process of recording a full length album, and tells us that he has eight full songs recorded, with only a few more to lay down to finish up. He says, "I really love the songs that I still have to finish. I'm hoping it will make for a great project. Hopefully sometime early/mid next year."
Here are three more facts about Chris that you may not already know:
1. He grew up listening to many Country artists, but Keith Urban was the most inspirational to him.
"I grew up listening Garth Brooks, George Straight, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney. My inspiration came from Keith Urban though. I mean he was the sole reason I wanted to learn how to play the guitar. He was one of my favorite artists in country music, and he is definitely the one who inspired me no doubt."
2. He warms up his vocals by singing Usher's "Nice and Slow."
"Every time I warm up in the car, I warm up to Usher 'Nice and Slow.' It's got a little falsetto part in the second verse there, so that gets me into the falsetto part, and it's just a good song, vocally, that I can warm up to."
3. There's a song on his Fix EP called "For Her," and he calls it his "Backstreet Boys moment."
"I call this song my Backstreet Boys moment on my record, I really do. I have been saying that for quite some time. It's the slowest song that I have, but it don't feel slow when you hear it. But just lyrically, I think it says everything that I would want to say in a song."
Watch Chris Lane's "Fix" lyric video below:
Photos: Katherine Tyler for iHeartRadio