BRELAND: 5 Things To Know About The Viral Country Star
Music & Sports Editor
Who needs eighty tiny reindeer when you have four-wheel drive? BRELAND, the cross-over country star behind ‘My Truck,’ will be part of ‘CMA Country Christmas,’ so here’s what you need to know.
No need to worry if the weather outside is frightful during the 12th Annual CMA Country Christmas – so long as Santa Claus remembered to bring snow chains for BRELAND. The viral singer behind “My Truck” is taking part in the Nov. 29 special, airing on ABC at 8/7c. With first-time hosts and performers Gabby Barrett and Carly Pearce, BRELAND will do his best rendition of “The Christmas Song,” the holiday classic made famous by Mel Tormé. For BRELAND, his involvement with CMA Country Christmas continues his goal of becoming a “cross country” artist, one that melds different genres and sounds into a modern country vibe.
“I’m making the musical equivalent of chicken-and-rice dishes right now,” BRELAND told the Nashville Scene. “Country’s often used to making chicken and rice with one seasoning. Instead, I’m sampling the whole cabinet of flavors. Ears are like palates to me, and I’m serving familiar dishes in ways that people haven’t experienced before.” So, before BRELAND serves up a plateful of holiday cooking, here’s what you need to know.
1. BRELAND Is A Country Singer From The Garden State.
BRELAND (born Daniel Breland) didn’t grow up in Nebraska, Wyoming, or deep in the heart of Texas. He was raised in New Jersey, growing up in a family of gospel singers, according to The New York Times. He sang and arranged The Phantoms, an acapella group, while he studied at Georgetown. During his sophomore year, he was working in the Far Rockaway home of rapper Chinx. “He left and said, ‘I’m going to go do this show,’” said BRELAND. Except, Chinx never returned. He was murdered in Queens, and BRELAND took that as a sign.
“That let me know that hip-hop probably wasn’t going to be for me,” he said. “I don’t think that I’m really cut out to be in the trenches like that.”
2. He Is The Singer Behind The Song ‘My Truck.’
“I was aware of the fact that the biggest record of all time is a country-trap song by an unknown artist from Atlanta, and now no one else is putting out songs that sound like that,” BRELAND told The New York Times in May 2020, referring to “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X. “Wide open. Why on earth would I not give it a shot?”
After graduation, BRELAND moved to Atlanta and began writing. With the success of “Old Town Road,” BRELAND posted “My Truck” in early 2020. It blew up on TikTok (over 800k videos used the audio) and peaked at No. 28 on the Hot Country Songs chart while reaching No. 92 on The Hot 100. He released a self-titled EP in 2020 and followed it up with “Rage & Sorrow,” a two-track reflection on the murder of George Floyd.
In 2021, he put out the singles “Cross Country” (including a version with Mickey Guyton), “Strawberry Wine,” and “Throw It Back” (featuring Keith Urban.)
3. He Is Popular on TikTok.
“I didn’t have a TikTok [account] before I put [‘My Truck’] up,” BRELAND told Billboard in 2021. “I put the song out in September of 2019, and TikTok wasn’t what it is now, right? It was just literally a button that I clicked on the website I used to put the song on iTunes and the streaming platforms. I was like, ‘Okay, yeah, I’ve heard of TikTok, I’ll put it on there.’ So, when it started to blow up on TikTok, I was like, ‘Okay, I need to figure out how this works and what this even is.’”
As of November 2021, he has over 468k followers and 2.5 million likes on the clock app.
I had my debut at the @Grand Ole Opry and got a STANDING OVATION 🤯🤯🤯 From a viral TikTok song to the biggest stage in #CountryMusic 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
4. He Isn’t Worried About Being Called A One Hit Wonder.
BRELAND’s “Cross Country” is more than a song. “Initially, was more of a concept for a movement or a genre or a sub-genre of country music, even before it was a song,” he told Billboard. “I had this idea that it crossed countries. It’s my classification for all of the music that intersects, country and other genres like R&B, hip-hop, dance, whatever. So, ‘My Truck,’ theoretically, would be a cross country song.”
“I think that the advantage that I have is that I’m a songwriter first and foremost,” he says when asked if he’s worried that “My Truck” might pigeonhole him. “It’s not like I lucked up on ‘My Truck.’ It wasn’t an accident, you know. I’ve written with Florida Georgia Line, Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, Trey Songz, Keith Urban, and Sam Hunt and people across a lot of different genres and given them songs that they’re really excited about. I don’t see why it would be different writing stuff for myself.”
3. He Is Just Getting Started.
As someone who defies genre and keeps one foot in the country world and the other in hip-hop (he had two managers specifically for those purposes), BRELAND is not going to be limited. In fact, he’s already planning to take country to new territories and sounds. “I really want to give people some more music before we delve into a whole album, so we’ve got some singles mapped out,” he told Billboard. “A couple have features, potentially from some of the people that I’ve mentioned. We might have a country twerk song, we might have just a straight-up ballad, and we might have like a country ‘Uptown Funk’ type of song.”