Chris Lane seems to be a roll-with-the-punches kind of guy. He grew up playing baseball, eyeing an MLB career. But sidelined by several knee injuries (and surgeries), he saw the opportunity to learn to play guitar.
“I started a cover band, playing everything from Nineties country to pop, hip-hop and rock — just whatever I thought would make the crowd sing along,” the North Carolina native tells Rolling Stone Country.
Writing his own music led to a record deal, and his debut album was almost finished when “Fix” — a left-of-center love song penned by Sarah Buxton, Jesse Frasure and Abe Stoklassa — came along and totally changed his direction. He’d already released “Broken Windshield View,” an uptempo, twang-filled country-rocker reminiscent of Jason Aldean and told from behind the wheel of a pickup truck. But then “Fix” came along and Lane found what was truly his sweet spot.
“From first listen, I fell in love with that song,” he says. “It felt right. It felt like, yes, this is what I should’ve been doing the whole time.”
It was just about a week earlier that he’d been experimenting with his falsetto in the studio with producer Joey Moi (Nickelback, Florida Georgia Line). “I had an Usher song stuck in my head,” Lane recalls. “I randomly just started singing this high falsetto run and [Joey] turned around and said, ‘What was that?! That’s what we should be doing!'”
The singer then scrapped his whole album and began writing and looking for outside songs that utilize more of his falsetto. The result is Girl Problems, his eclectic debut album out tomorrow (August 5th). The title track is about the good problems that can arise with romance. But the LP title itself encompasses all the highs and lows of love.
As for its sound, Girl Problems marries Lane’s unique voice with a diverse range of melodic influences. He’s a huge Nineties country fan, listing Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and Tim McGraw among his heroes. But he also channels pop icons Justin Timberlake and Backstreet Boys on the album, which is full of groove-heavy, dancefloor-ready tunes.
“Country music has room for a little bit of everything,” says Lane. “You’ve got Chris Stapleton doing what he’s doing, and Sam Hunt, Florida Georgia Line. . . Everyone has their own lane, and we felt like the falsetto was my lane.”