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When Kane Brown got the call that CBS wanted to use his song “Riot” to promote the breakthrough TV series Fire Country, the multi-platinum artist who had dreams of acting before singing had a proposal: Use my song but put me in the show.
And they agreed.
Now, the 29-year-old is making his acting debut on the April 7 episode of the series, which launched last year and has already been renewed for a second season.
“They wrote a script specifically for me to jump on the show,” Brown tells The Hollywood Reporter of his character Robin, a mysterious train hopper who helps injured patients on the scene of a crash. “Acting’s something I’ve always wanted to do, so it was cool to be a part of [this] for my first time, especially the character. He’s so laid back and trying to stay out of the spotlight, which I felt like was kind of perfect for me. It was the perfect start of my acting career.”
Brown’s song “Riot” was used in a promo for the series earlier this season, and his Blake Shelton-featured track “Different Man” will appear in the episode he stars in. Both songs are on his third album Different Man, which was released in September.
Fire Country was co-created by actor Max Thieriot, who plays Bode Donovan, a firefighter who is participating in a program to fight fires in hopes of a shortened prison sentence. Brown said he enjoyed having conversations about the series and acting with Thieriot, who is a huge fan of country music.
“I didn’t know what to expect until I was [on set]. And once I got there, it was Max and all them — they were so family-oriented and made me feel welcomed. They were saying that I was a natural at it,” he said. “It felt good. I wish I could go back and do it again. So at least in my next role, if I get one, I’ll be a little bit more experienced. And that’s what everything is — music, acting, whatever — the more experience, the better you get.”
Brown signed to a major label in 2016 and has launched 12 Top 10 hits on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, including the No. 1 successes “What Ifs,” “Lose It” and “One Thing Right.” He’s won honors at the American Music Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards and CMT Music Awards, and he’s currently on the road for his Drunk or Dreaming Tour.
The singer admits that he’s always wanted to act — even before performing music.
“It’s weird because I never really knew that I wanted to do music. And acting was like, ‘It would be cool.’ And I used to go for those little things you could sign up for online — the castings for extras. I tried to do those a couple times and I never got picked. They just go off looks and stuff and I never made it,” he said. “I’ve been wanting to do acting longer than music.”
Brown will get to show more of his personality in another way when he returns as host of the 2023 CMT Music Awards, which celebrates the best in country music videos and will air live on Sunday. It’s his third year hosting the show alongside fellow country singer Kelsea Ballerini.
“I’m really excited to try and step up and do better than I did the last two years, and see if I can open some more doors for myself,” he said.
Brown will also perform his recent hit “Thank God” for the first time at an awards show. It’s a duet with his wife Katelyn Brown, and the song reached No. 1 on country radio and has peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, his highest placement on the all-genre chart.
“There are certain songs that just project your career, which I had with ‘What Ifs’ and ‘Heaven.’ You just feel the momentum from the fans, and we’re feeling that again with this song. So I’m glad that I get to share it with her. Because I have a lot of features, but this one’s way different. So for her to get to be in the spotlight with me and be onstage with me, there’s no other feeling that beats it,” he said.
Could this be the launch of Katelyn’s own music career?
“Because we’re out here for two weeks without the kids, because both of us have to be at these shows, she’s kind of like, ‘It’s a lot,’” he said. “The good thing is there’s no pressure with her. We’re definitely going to have more music. We’re putting a studio in the house right now.”
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