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Interview: Chris Lane opens up about his plans to return to the UK, new material and his growing success

Country star Chris Lane had a huge hit with his debut single Fix, which was released back in 2015.

With two number ones under his belt, his most recent being I Don’t Know About You taken from his second album Laps Around the Sun, Chris has seen his star rise pretty quickly. After years of trying to convince him to come to the UK, Chris finally made the trip to support Brad Paisley on the European leg of his latest tour.

I caught up with Chris backstage at The O2 Arena before his opening set to talk about his first trip to Europe, find out about his plans to come back, and to discuss the new material he’s working on.

You’ve finally made it to the UK. I’ve been begging you for how many years Chris?

Finally! I know! I’m super thankful that Brad has brought me over here as a part of his tour. We’ve played to packed houses every single night and I think for a lot of people who come over for the first time, they don’t get that kind of opportunity and I’m very thankful for it. Great crowd responses everywhere. I’m quite surprised how many country music fans there are here. I had no idea. It’s been awesome.

I’ve been telling you this for years…

Yes! You have! (laughs)

It’s amazing that for your first time performing in London you get to play The O2 Arena. That’s pretty crazy…

It’s crazy, I know. I’m super excited about tonight and just walking down behind the arena or in the hallways of the arena seeing everybody who’s played here. I mean this place is super famous. Anybody and everybody has played this arena. I can’t believe I get to say now I will have done the same thing.

I saw part of your soundcheck earlier and you were sounding fantastic. Are you feeling good about tonight?

Yeah man, I’m feeling great. I do a 40-minute set so it’s pretty short and sweet. I feel like I blink and it’s over with up there (laughs). But you know what, that gives me a chance to keep it as upbeat as possible and a fun show. I get to play all of my singles, which is a good thing at this point. Hopefully a lot of songs that people will know.

Chris Lane
Credit: Randy Shaffer

Speaking of singles, you just got another number one with I Don’t Know About You. That must be a good feeling?

Yes! Took a minute but it’s definitely been my biggest song in my career numbers wise. From the very beginning Fix was a song that I could tell little-by-little that people were showing up to the shows and I started selling more tickets, started playing bigger venues, and then Take Back Home Girl helped me take that next step in my career and I feel like this one really helped me take that next step, which has been huge. I had no idea the song was gonna do what it’s done but it’s been a really good one for me.

It’s been a big year for you professionally and personally. Congratulations on your engagement…

Thank you!

Big Big Plans is your new single, which is doing well for you. Tell me a little bit more about that track…

Oddly enough I went back in three separate times and tried to write this song and I’d been trying to write her not a song that I was going to propose to but just a song that I could say, ‘hey I wrote this for you, I hope you like it’. I’ve written hundreds and never thought to myself, ‘this one’s good enough. I want to give it to her’. This was the first one that I thought to myself, ‘man I feel like I got something here’ and just so happened to be that I used it to propose to her and she said yes. I had no plans on releasing the song it was just for her but judging from the early reaction, we decided to release it. Now it’s gonna be my next single (laughs). It’s crazy how that worked!

Is Big Big Plans the first single from your third album? Are you thinking about that at this point?

Yeah absolutely, at least the next batch of songs. I’m not sure exactly what I’m gonna do. I’m recording songs trying to figure it all out at this point and if it ends up as an album great, if not at least I have another single that’s coming and then I’m figuring it out from there.

You might not know but it’s actually National Album Day in the UK today…

Is it really?

Yes! It’s a day that we have to celebrate the album and to encourage people to buy albums, listen to albums and appreciate them so please make another album!

OK. Yeah definitely I would. I would love to. That would be great, it would be album number three for me (laughs).

With each album, things seem to be getting bigger and bigger for you…

Yeah. Hopefully so man. Fingers crossed everything seems to be going really great right now. I’m super happy with where I’m at in my career and I’m just happy to be growing and keeping it going.

As you mentioned, this is your first time in Europe. We have a reputation for being quite different crowds to those in the US. How have you found it?

I think I would agree that they are definitely different but I feel like every crowd has been really good, very responsive and seemed super polite. It’s always the clap at the end of the song and it’s been very similar with Brad as well, I’ve been watching his show because I want to see how they react to him and how they react to me and how different it is, all that kind of stuff. More people in the States obviously know who I am. They know all of the songs when they’re showing up to the shows but when I’m out on the tour with somebody else like this and I’m the opening act, they may not know every single song. I think that that may be the difference from playing in America to here for my first time.

Chris Lane
Credit: Delaney Royer

There are a fair amount of people here tonight just to see you. I’ve seen people online getting very excited about finally seeing you perform live. That must feel good?

Oh wow. Yeah absolutely man. I see a lot of tweets always (saying), ‘come to London, come to…’ wherever it is in Europe and I’m just glad I’m finally able to jump over here and hopefully there’ll be some people here tonight that know the songs and jam out (laughs).

Now you’ve tested the waters over here, is the plan to come back and do a headline tour next year?

Absolutely. I would love to. I was given a piece of advice that if you don’t plan on trying to build it over here, don’t come over here and start anything. Don’t try to do anything. I kind of agree with that. I get this one time under my belt and then I can grow from there and come back over maybe headline my own shows in some smaller clubs and I look forward to doing that.

That would be a change after playing arenas wouldn’t it?

Oh my gosh yes it would be way different but I’d be excited. I wouldn’t know what to expect coming back for a second time but I would look forward to that.

You can expect UK fans to know every single word to every single song, even songs you may have performed live once a week ago that ended up on YouTube…

Wow, that’s cool. The way that I think about it is Brad’s done the same exact thing. He had to come over here and build it, just like I’m starting out in my career I’ll have to do the same exact thing. I actually look forward to to doing that. I had to do the same thing in the States so it’s basically the same thing here. Just come over here and build it one-by-one.

What other projects are you working on? Can we expect any Christmas singles?

(laughs) Man, I would actually love to do a Christmas single but it probably is not going to happen this year, maybe next year. Other than that nothing as of right now. I’m in the studio recording, I’m writing every off day that I have at this point, and then in the Fall when I go out and do my headlining tour I’ll take writers out on the road and keep writing every day, trying to get that next single after Big Big Plans.

Your writing has matured from album-to-album. What themes are you seeing coming out of the new material?

Honestly I think it’s in that same vein but here’s what I truly want and here’s what I’ve been itching for and trying to write after Big Big Plans; I really want to come back with a couple of big uptempo songs. I feel like I want that for my set and most artists always want uptempo songs. Those seem to be the hardest ones to write but that’s what I’m aiming for at this point because I’ve had Take Back Home Girl, I Don’t Know About You and Big Big Plans, which all fall in a similar vein for me. It’s great and they’ve all performed really well. I love singing them live but I think coming back with a heavy uptempo hit after this would be great.

You teamed up with Tori Kelly for Take Back Home Girl and there’a a trend for Country artists really embracing pop collaborations at the moment. Would you be interested in stepping even further outside of your comfort zone?

Yeah absolutely. I would love to do anything like that. I feel like as long as it’s a great song it can never hurt your career it can only push you forward because you’re getting in front of a different audience. That may mean they don’t have a clue who you are but they’re hearing your song through somebody else and vice versa, just like the duet I did with Tori Kelly and had her on my record. I feel like I got in front of a lot of her fans that had no clue who I was and vice versa her for my fans as well. It was a great little cross pollination.

Well that song worked out pretty well for you didn’t it?

Yeah (laughs)

Chris Lane’s latest single Big Big Plans is available now. Watch the video below:

Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip is the Editor of Entertainment Focus and the Managing Director of agency Piñata Media.

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