Kane Brown just made music history.
The platinum-selling artist appeared at the 2022 MTV Video Music Award tonight (Aug. 28) and became the first male country singer to perform at the star-studded affair. While representing the country music genre, the hitmaker delivered a mixed reality act powered by The Famous Group.
The cutting-edge technology company was the mastermind behind the innovative in-show moment that features the 28-year-old making a musical journey from New York City to New Jersey’s remote Toyota stage. Brown arrived in style for his television debut of Andrew Goldstein’s-produced pop track, “Grand.”
Rapper and world-renowned record producer Jack Harlow introduced Brown to the spotlight by rattling off his long-running list of accolades. The savvy creative also stressed the obstacles Brown had faced, when he first stepped into the country landscape as a genre-bending artist.
“People told him he wasn’t country enough. He did not just break in – he broke records. Putting out hit after hit. Selling out stadiums,” said Harlow. “Now, he can make whatever type of music he damn well pleases. His sound is impossible to box in, and this record right here is proof,” he added.
The show-stopping performance proved that Brown is a crossover artist destined for greatness. The Tennessee native left a significant mark under the spotlight with his trap-like tune, heavily driven by the spitfire lyrics he penned alongside Kameron Alexander and Mike Posner. With the head-banging instrumentals and abrupt beat drops backing his ear-grabbing vocals, he emphasizes the beauty of life.
“Ain’t life grand? | Only ones I keep around me is my fam | No coincidence, it’s always been the plan| And I always keep it trilly with the fans | Oh, ain’t life grand? | And I love a little whiskey in my hand | Make it disappear then reappear again | Matter fact, I never want this life to end | Until the end (Yeah),” belts Brown with neon green lights radiating from the lively audience.
“Grand” serves as a preview to his highly anticipated collection “Different Man,” that is set to drop on Sept. 9. The 17-song tracklist will include top-five and climbing smash single “Like I Love Country Music,” “Whiskey Sour,” No.1 hit “One Mississippi,” “Leave You Alone,” and recent release “Go Around.”
The futuristic visual for “Grand” scored a late VMA nomination for “Song of the Summer.” The competition was stiff, as Brown went head-to-head with 15 other chart-topping musicians like Harry Styles [“Late Night Talking“], Lizzo [“About Damn Time“], recent collaborators Marshmello x Khalid [“Numb“], and more. MTV closed the fan-voted category via social media on Saturday, Aug. 27.
This is not the first time Brown has received recognition from MTV, as he was the only country star to earn a 2021 nomination. The singer-songwriter’s name was slated in the “Video for Good” category for “Worldwide Beautiful,” a narrative that touches upon racial justice and calls for inclusivity.
The VMAs hosted by LL Cool J, Nicki Minaj, and Jack Harlow also included high-energy sets from Bad Bunny, Panic! at the Disco, Anitta, Lizzo, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and others. As A-list presenters showered superstars with the iconic silver astronaut trophies, Nicki Minaj was honored with the Video Vanguard Award and the Red Hot Chili Peppers walked away with the Global Icon Award.
Ahead of Brown’s buzz-worthy appearance, the vocalist strolled the legendary black carpet interlocked with his wife, Katelyn. While sporting a sharp black Prada suit, Brown explained the main motive behind his “Grand” appearance.
“I’m kinda upset that I’m not singing a country song,” Brown told ET. “But also, it’s kinda good because people will be like, ‘Oh, this is a country artist. Why is he singing this song?’ Then hopefully they go down a rabbit hole, and they discover a lot more artists in the country world.”