Chris Lane listens to Kenny Chesney’s Be As You Are album “literally every day.”

And in 2017—when Lane played a show with the country superstar in Myrtle Beach, S.C.—the 33-year-old musician had an epiphany. An epiphany that led to Lane’s new sun-massaged country style on his forthcoming album Laps Around the Sun (out July 13).

Lane tells Taste of Country he grew up going to Chesney concerts as a fan, but at this particular show, he watched from behind the soundboard, observing in a way he never had before—as an artist.

“Everybody in the crowd connected to [Chesney’s] music and that style, and it has a way of taking you back to so many great memories in your life,” Lane says. “I feel like he’s the king of doing that; and that night, before I recorded any songs on my second record, it truly inspired me to want my songs to do the same exact thing.”

Lane admits when he recorded his first major album, 2016’s Girl Problems, he was still working on his sound and trying to figure out the kind of artist he wanted to be. However, he believes he’s matured, ironed out the musical kinks and is more comfortable with his sound and subject matter.

Though Lane only co-penned one song on the album—the title track “Laps Around the Sun”—he chose to only record songs that related to his personal memories; times that revolved around the water and beaches of his home state of North Carolina. And though his brand of country music is still likely classified as country-pop, he feels country music isn’t just about a certain sound or lyric, anymore.

“Ultimately, I think it is how it makes you feel,” Lane says. “I keep bringing up Kenny Chesney, but he’s the master of making you feel, whether it’s nostalgia or whatever it is. He makes you feel something in the lyrics, or how it makes you feel just being at the concert and being with all those people. I think that’s important; and ultimately, that's what I want.”

Confident he won’t fall victim to the sophomore slump, Lane is expecting fans to relate to these songs as well as he does, and is looking forward to the next chapter in his career.

“I’m very, very proud of the songs that I’ve recorded,” Lane says. “I think people are going to be able to see the growth from my first record to this record. All the way around, I love the vibe of it and I hope it takes people to certain places.”

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