Words & Music at Home
BRELAND, who burst onto the music scene in 2020 with his break-out single, “My Truck, is a bold, new artist who is actively working to expand the bounds of country music. His catchy song is considered “country trap,” a combination of hip-hop and country music. But it also reflects the New Jersey native’s broader influences — including country storytelling and Motown melodies — that combine to form a style he calls “cross country.” So identified is BRELAND with his own stylistic moniker that he wrote and released an autobiographical song, “Cross Country,” that speaks to his desire to transcend genre.
“I think sometimes we cheat ourselves out of enjoying certain things because we don’t know how to categorize them,” says the artist, who goes by his last name alone. “And people are really unsettled by what they can’t define…. But at the same time, it’s just music, and I think people should be able to find it within [themselves] to enjoy it for what it is.”
Born in 1995, Daniel Breland is the son of two ordained ministers, and he grew up singing gospel music. He pursued other styles in high school, and worked to hone his skills at singing, songwriting, and arranging while studying business at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. After graduation, he moved to Atlanta and spent the next three years launching a career in R&B songwriting. When “Old Town Road” — a country trap single by Lil Nas X — became a surprise blockbuster in 2019, BRELAND took notice. He decided he should bring his hip-hop skills to bear on country music and see what he could do.
“Wanted to challenge myself writing in a different genre,” he wrote when he posted a portion of “My Truck” on his Instagram page. “I feel like we could stand to see a couple more of our faces on that country chart.”
The video clip went viral, attracting the attention of a major Nashville label, which signed BRELAND and released the song. It went on to reach #26 on the Billboard country chart, and it was certified platinum (sales of 1 million units). He has since released two EPs and recorded collaborations with country artists Lauren Alaina, Jimmie Allen, Mickey Guyton, Sam Hunt, Chase Rice, and Keith Urban.
To BRELAND, the home he’s found in country is just a short distance from where he came from. “The defining thing about country music is the songwriting,” he says. “It’s about how effectively you can tell a story, which is also at hip-hop’s core.”
SONGS TO CHECK OUT:
“Into the Woulds”
“Out the Cage”
“Throw It Back”