Kane Brown and Jordan Rager break the mold
While pop stars like Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes and Charlie Puth have launched their careers on social media, country music is a more conservative genre, with a longstanding defined path toward mainstream success. So it’s an impressive feat that Kane Brown, pictured, and Jordan Rager have both broken through after making their mark as social media stars, with such huge popularity that they couldn’t be ignored.
Both started out by posting cover versions of popular country songs online: Brown’s version of George Strait’s “Check Yes or No” racked up 7 million views on Facebook, and Rager amassed nearly 4 million YouTube followers. Rather than going the traditional Nashville route, Brown funded his first EP in 2015 on Kickstarter, getting to No. 22 on the country charts with a completely self-funded, self-released album. He later signed to major label RCA Nashville, and his self-titled full-length debut made it to No. 10 on the overall Billboard album chart when it was released last month.
Rager signed to Broken Bow Records, home of Jason Aldean, and released his debut EP this past October. Together these new-media stars represent the next generation of country music, challenging the establishment while paying respect to those who came before them.
House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, 6:30 p.m. Jan. 12, $22.50 plus tax and fee. 800.745.3000 Ticketmaster