Exclusive: Breland on rap, country and Shania Twain support: C2C special

Breland live: “I can rap, but I’m a singer first” insists cross-genre country sensation

One of the hottest young stars on the Country scene, Breland, is in the UK to co-host the  C2C festival at the O2 arena – and he’s got a beef.

“I was seeing a lot of chatter in the press over in the States about ‘Breland Country rapper, Country Rap, Country Trap!’” he says. “I can rap, I have a lot of fun with the vocals, but hey, I’m a singer!’ People don’t realise I can sing, I’m a singer first!”

He launches into ‘For What it’s worth’, and his vocal is as sweet as molasses. “I wanted a song that showcased the vocal,” he says. Job done.

We’re in Koko’s Private Member’s Club, where Breland is performing at an industry showcase in the run up to Country to Country. He’s flanked by Christian Crawford on guitar and Harley deWinter on box drum.

“London is easily my favourite place to perform in the world,” says the singer. “We’ve played here twice  – once for C2C, and then for a little run with (American country singer-songwriter) Russell Dickerson.”

BrelandHe tells the small but appreciative crowd that the opportunity to co-host C2C this year with Bob Harris was “obviously a no-brainer. I’m really pumped!”

As well as opening the festival, he’s bringing his Breland & Friends show to the Indigo O2 as one of the  official afterparty for C2C.

Y’see, Breland has momentum. The cross-genre artist has just launched his first album, Cross Country (Atlantic Records), featuring a distinctive blend of country, pop, hip hop, and gospel. His breakout single, ‘My Truck’, went platinum, and he’s touched gold twice with ‘Throw It Back’ featuring Keith Urban and ‘Beers On Me’ with Dierks Bentley.

Industry accolades cast his way include Amazon Music Breakout Artist, and Spotify’s Hot Country Artists To Watch 2022.

He segues into ‘Natural’, a slice of effervescent country pop with a familiar riff. It samples ‘Man! I Feel Like a Woman’ by Shania Twain.


“I didn’t really think she would approve the interpolation, because she historically doesn’t do that,” he says. “Not only did she approve of it, she enjoyed the song so much she invited us out on tour with her. A pretty crazy opportunity!”

In addition to supporting Shania Twain on her forthcoming tour, he’s also touring with Walker Hayes.

“One of my favourite things to do as an artist is to collaborate with other acts,” he says. “I also have this uncanny habit of writing songs with soon to be sober artists…”

The trio break into ‘Told you I could drink’, co-written with Charles Kelley, and recorded with country music trio Lady A, one of this year’s C2C headliners.  Kelley makes no secret of his struggles with alcohol. Back in August 2022, Lady A postponed their Request Line Tour tour so that he could focus on his sobriety.

The short Koko set continues with current single ‘What it’s Worth’ and ‘Good For You’, co-written with Tyler Braden, who joins him on stage to duet. Braden is also in town to perform at the festival.

“The last time I came out here, we didn’t have an album out. We did the afterparty at C2C last year and that set was 45 minutes, at the time that was tough as we only had 10 songs! Now we have a project out, and it’s like we only get 45 minutes?”

Given Breland has just landed from the US, he’s on remarkably good form. “I feel like a good 97 per cent right now. We were in Florida two days ago, and flew in on the Red Eye. I was like, I’ll be fine, I’ll sleep on the flight, I’ll be in London, and I’ll have an amazing day. Only I didn’t sleep on the flight at all and I then proceeded to sleep through 16 of the last 22 hours. I was knocked out. But the benefit is I feel totally vocally healthy.

“I just feel like showing off right now!”