Many things may come to mind when you hear a song blaring by the young internet sensation turned popular country music artist, Kane Brown, but homelessness, racism, and abuse are probably not among them. Unfortunately, the singer is quite familiar with all three, even at the young age of 26. 

In an interview the country star did in December of 2016 with Nashville’s newspaper, Tennessean, Brown opened up about his rocky upbringing and how he still managed to rise up and become one of country’s newest and brightest stars. Brown says he used his debut album as a platform to tell his own story and shed light and awareness on subjects that might otherwise be taboo. “I feel like God put me in places in life to learn, and it was getting me ready for now. Now I get to tell it, and show people what’s wrong and what’s right.”

Kane Brown experienced periods of homelessness while growing up

During a congressional briefing designed to combat the rental housing crisis, Brown spoke out about his personal experiences of living in a car with his mother (via CMT). “When I was younger, my mom and I lived in a car because we didn’t have anywhere to go. After graduating from high school, even though I was working, I didn’t have enough money to pay rent so I stayed with my Nana.” 

The singer went on to pledge his support for Make Room, an organization that aims to help others dealing with similar housing crises. “I’m proud to partner with Make Room to help other people who have been in similar housing situations. I just want people to know that they can make it through hard times like I did.” Brown took it one step further when he pledged to pay it forward and donate a portion of the pre-order sales from his debut album. Way to go!

Kane Brown was physically abused as a child

In a track titled “Learning,” Kane Brown alludes to experiencing physical abuse by his stepfather as a young boy. The song goes on to tell a story of his stepfather beating him “nearly to death” after a bedwetting incident. But on the flip side, the song also touches on forgiveness with the chorus being comprised of the lyrics, “Forgiveness is something we gotta know/ ‘Cause if you hold on forever, it’ll hurt your soul/ That’s why I’m learning how to let it go.” 

Even with the abuse of his stepfather, he still praises both his mother and grandmother for protecting him and and ultimately raising him to be better. In the same track, he explains that it was grandmother who came to his rescue and even had his abusive stepfather arrested. “Three weeks later she had him locked in a cell/ Now I’m seven years old with a story to tell” (via Genius).

Kane Brown's fight against racism

Unfortunately, it’s been Kane Brown’s constant fight against racism that has molded the singer into who he is today. “Color does matter, even though people don’t see it,” Brown said. “I’ve lived it my whole life. It’s just what I know.” The singer revealed that even at the high school talent show that started it all for his music career he was was bombarded with racial slurs. 

As reported by Taste of Country, Brown admits in a short film by Apple Music, Apple Music Presents: Kane Brown – Experiment, that the color of his skin may be partially to blame for people not wanting to listening to his music. “Some people say I’m not country, but they don’t really know how I grew up,” he elaborates. “I went through a lot being called the N-word…they have a picture of how they think country should look like, and I just want to make my own lane.” 

The truth is, even with all odds stocked against him growing up, Kane Brown has carved out a name and a niche for himself all on his own. Onward and upward!

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