Breland is a name you’ve no doubt heard floating around country bars over the past couple of years.
His debut single, My Truck, swerved into the airwaves in 2019 and hit number 26 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart before eventually being certified platinum. He subsequently released two EPs (Breland, and Rage & Sorrow), before dropping his debut album, Cross Country, in September 2022.
Since then, he has been on a US tour with Shania Twain – yes, that Shania Twain – and is currently in the UK playing a new string of headline shows before he supports Shania again on her British tour.
The extraordinary trajectory of his career was no accident, though. After releasing a song that referenced Shania, Breland began talking about her in interviews. “Manifesting” a collaboration, he said, or – at the very least – some sort of meeting.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Breland laughed: “I’m not sure what exactly led to [it]… but next thing I knew we had a few tour dates in the United States.” From there, he confessed, their relationship really started to “grow and develop”.
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“I think a lot of time opening acts don’t really have the opportunity to spend time with headliners,” Breland explained. “But I always make it a priority to just have a drink or a lunch and get to know them. Because, anyone who’s in Shania’s position – having done this for 30 years – she’s learned a lot. And obviously has experienced a lot, and [has] a lot of stories that I would love to have insight on.”
While he no doubt fanboyed over Shania when they first started hanging out, Breland confessed that he was mostly interested in studying her career as much as humanly possible. He said: “You know, I’m still learning. It’s amazing to be on a show like this. If I could pick her brain, that would be even more valuable for me. We just connected and she was down to share.”
This is how Breland seems to work. Sure, he’s got a lot of right-brain power (creatively cutting through country music stereotypes and stigmas with witty lyrics while delivering show-stopping performances) but he’s a classic left-brained thinker.
“I went to college,” Breland announced with an air of pride, before telling me he graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in business. “Not a whole lot of artists go to university and finish school … I knew in school I was going to do music, but I also knew I needed that business background because I wanted to approach my artistry differently than other artists and understand what is going on when deals are presented.
“I wanted to be able to be involved in the process of marketing and put together partnerships. One of the things I do really well that a lot of artists haven’t really done, necessarily, is at a very early point in my career I’ve had partnerships that don’t really exist elsewhere in the music industry.”
Breland isn’t overplaying his hand, either. At just 28-years-old, the young star has utilised his unique skills and mindset to work out exclusive deals with the likes of Chevrolet and Busch Light, and had music in The Sims video games. The New Jersey marvel said these campaigns and relationships were manageable for him “because thinks about them as a businessperson – not just as an artist”.
He went on: “It definitely helps, and I think it makes me a little bit more dangerous, if you will, in a lot of different circumstances.”
The most important business deal Breland has is, of course, the one with his music label. And they’re as keen as his fans to get new music sooner rather than later.
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Thankfully, everyone’s prayers have been answered.
Breland announced that next week (W/C September 11) he’ll be releasing an expanded version of his debut album (which comes with six brand new songs) titled: Cross Country: The Extra Mile. And, although he always has his business head on, he confirmed these new songs show off a new side of his creativity and artistry.
“As a performer, I think I’m learning more,” Breland said of these fresh tracks. “I’m allowing my performances to inform my writing process, which was not the case when the album came out. So the biggest difference is now that I’ve had the chance to tour [and] I can say: ‘Okay, my audience in real life, coming to see me play, really respond to these types of songs or rhythms or melodies or stories.'”
Breland wouldn’t divulge much information about what will come from him after The Extra Mile. Sure, there’ll be a second album in the works, but does this new outlook mean it will be vastly different from Cross Country? Time will tell.
Until then, get tickets to see Breland on tour right now from here.
Shania Twain starts her UK tour next week with Breland supporting. Get tickets here.
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