by Marcus K. Dowling
After a year that saw his single “My Truck” break out as a least-anticipated to most-wanted, platinum-selling country smash, Breland — the Atlanta-based and New Jersey-born singer-songwriter — has returned with “Cross Country,” a bold, genre-crossing single that shows the artist ready to “legitimately be and do whoever and whatever I want,” as he tells Rolling Stone in a recent interview.
“I felt like this song was an opportunity for me to tell my story and hopefully inspire other people to tell their stories,” he explained. “What’s so beautiful about country music as a genre is that it’s one of the only genres, other than maybe hip-hop, where you can legitimately tell your story, and people will listen to that and respect it.”
He continues, “I felt like “Cross Country” could be more of the folky, singer-songwritery, acoustic thing. As a vocalist, people haven’t heard a whole lot of that from me, just me singing for real.”
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As an artist and professional, Breland’s development has seen him shift as many spaces sonically and lyrically as he has in as far as his places of residence. From singing in acapella choirs as an undergraduate student at Georgetown to producing hip-hop in his birthplace of New Jersey to crafting R&B tracks in Atlanta, to now often spending time in the Music City, he’s literally “crossed the country.”
Related to this point, the prolific singer-songwriter says — with a note of arriving in his country-influenced sound on “Cross Country” — “Hey, I’ve been all over the country physically, trying to find this sound and a place where I can sonically say, ’This is my home. This is where I belong, and this is how people will recognize me.’”