Since his first hit single in 2015, singer/songwriter Chris Lane has been a consistent, popular artist on the country charts. He first broke through with his number one single “Fix,” and he’s followed that up with four more Top 10 hits, including two that went to #1: “I Don’t Know About You” in 2018, and his recent hit, “Big, Big Plans.”
“Big, Big Plans” was a mainstay on the Billboard country charts for over a year, since its release in June 2019. Notably, this single has been important for Lane in several ways. First, “Big, Big Plans” is the first hit that he has written (with Ernest K. Smith & Jacob Durrett). Second, he was inspired to co-write the song because he wanted to propose to his future wife, Lauren Bushnell. Third, “Big, Big Plans” was the musical inspiration for two heartfelt videos, one that featured Lane proposing to Lauren, and on the other on their wedding day. In addition, “Big, Big Plans” has become a popular wedding song, and it’s now being sung at other people’s weddings.
The success and impact of “Big, Big Plans” has been a highlight for Lane during the past year, and it’s been a milestone for him as a songwriter. Since the pandemic & quarantine has prevented all artists from touring, this time off has allowed Lane to schedule many more writing sessions, as he writes and records new songs for his upcoming releases.
Lane grew up in North Carolina, and in high school he was an athlete who played baseball and football. During college at UNC Charlotte, he played on the baseball team, but the injuries he suffered led to him focusing on music and playing guitar. He later fronted the Chris Lane Band, whose album, Let’s Ride, entered the Billboard country chart in 2012..
It was in 2013 that Lane moved to Nashville, and he became a solo artist. He also signed with Big Loud (a top label, music publishing & management company) and began working in the studio with producer Joey Moi. Then in 2014, he released his debut solo single “Broken Windshield View,” and in 2015 he released his breakthrough, uptempo hit, “Fix.”
Here’s the special video of Chris Lane’s hit “Big, Big Plans,”
where he proposes to his future wife, Lauren.
Following the success of “Fix,” Lane released his debut album, Girl Problems, in 2016. The album not only contained “Fix,” but included his next hit single, the ballad “For Her.”
Lane’s second album, Laps Around the Sun (released in 2018), also contained two hits: “Take Back Home Girl” (feat. Tori Kelly), and the #1 hit, “I Don’t Know About You.”
We are pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Chris Lane. He tells how he co-wrote his hit “Big, Big Plans” and the impact the song has had. He also discusses his greater focus on his songwriting.
DK: Congratulations on having a #1 hit with your single “Big, Big Plans,” which you co-wrote.
Chris Lane: Thank you, man. It’s an exciting way to end a pretty weird year of not touring that much. Obviously, that was the highlight of the year for me, and I’m excited that my team was able to make it happen.
DK: The story of “Big, Big Plans” is very interesting—it played a role in how you got engaged and married to your wife, Lauren. How did you write the song with Ernest K. Smith and Jacob Durrette?
Lane: Both Ernest and Jacob are great friends of mine—we write a lot of songs together. Writing this song, honestly, started like any normal song. We didn’t finish the song the first day we sat down to write, and we didn’t even finish it the second day. I had the idea— I said, “You know, I plan on proposing to my wife in the next couple months. Maybe we can write a proposal in the song,” and that’s when the second verse took shape. [As it turns out], everything we wrote in the song is exactly how it happened.
We wrote in the song how I bought the emerald-cut diamond that she was dying to have, and that I hid it one of the drawers on my side of the sink, because I knew she wouldn’t go on my side, ever (laughs). And I told the guys, I plan on proposing to her in her parents’ backyard in Portland, Oregon, and that’s exactly how we wrote it in there.
Here’s the video of Chris Lane’s hit, “I Don’t Know About You.”
At the time we wrote it, I had no idea it would make its way to radio and become a number one. In fact, I only planned on playing it for Lauren. But then I put out that video (of the wedding proposal) and people took to it. And I guess the coolest part for me was people taking that song and making it their own story, and using it to propose to their girlfriends at the time. Then at our shows, every night I had a proposal onstage. So to see people react to a song that way and take it and make it their own, is everything that you strive to do when you sit down and write a song. It usually doesn’t happen that way, so I’m excited this song connected in that way.
DK: I read the songwriting credits for your first two albums, and I noticed that most of the songs were written by other writers, although you did write some of the songs. So when you’re recording an album, how do you decide which songs from other writers to select, versus writing the songs yourself?
Lane: I think for me in my career, I always want to select the best song no matter what, whether it’s a song that I wrote or not. But early in my career on those first two records (Girl Problems and Laps Around the Sun), especially for country artists, we had to do a ton of radio stuff which takes up the majority of your writing time. So I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to write during my first two albums. I spent the majority of the time out on the road, trying to get my career to where it is now.
But after I reached a certain point, you don’t have to go do as much [radio promotion], and now I’ve really taken on the songwriting thing and I’ve been enjoying it so much. I’ve written so many songs during this quarantine, basically every day, so it’s been a really good process. At first, it takes a minute to get in a routine and get your brain working in a certain way (as a writer), and now I feel like I’m gonna be on a good little roll. I’ve got some really good songs that I’m proud of, and can’t wait for people to hear.
DK: Currently, are you writing and recording songs for your next album?
Lane: Yeah, I’ve been in the studio working on songs. Hopefully in the next month or two, I’ll be releasing a few songs at a time until I can complete the whole thing.
Here’s the video of Chris Lane’s first hit, “Fix.”
DK: I want to go back to earlier in your career. About five years ago, you signed with Big Loud Records and you had your first hit, “Fix.” So how did it feel to break through as an artist and have that first hit?
Lane: Man, it felt incredible. I had been working for so long to actually get a record deal…for a long time I didn’t think it was gonna happen. But Big Loud decided that they wanted to start a record label, and I was working with my producer Joey Moi (who’s a partner at Big Loud), and I had a production deal with him, and Big Loud Shirt was the publishing and management company. So I was already working with the same people when they started that record label, and I was lucky enough to be the first artist. Then the song “Fix” came along, and it was amazing to have a song right out of the gate go to number. And here I am (today)…I just finished my fifth single and we’re moving on to the sixth one now. So it’s crazy…time flies by so fast.