“I get paid to lie to people as an actor,” Christian Kane explains. “Country music is the one area that I don’t lie. I tell the truth.”
As an actor, Kane can be seen in the starring role of Eliot Spencer on TNT’s Leverage. As a musician, he’s gaining attention with the single and video for “The House Rules.”
“I don’t apologize for what I do. I love what I do,” he says. “They always say, ’Are you an actor or are you a singer?’ I say, ’I’m an entertainer.'”
“The House Rules,” co-written by Kane and Blair Daly, is featured on Kane’s self-titled EP and will serve as the title track for his album to be released Dec. 7 by the Big Picture Group. Kane admits the album’s subject matter doesn’t stray far from his own experiences.
“It’s really all the stuff that I know about, which tends to be whiskey and women,” he confesses. “You’re not going to hear me sing about being on a tractor or being married … because I don’t know anything about that.”
While acknowledging his music isn’t “breaking any molds,” he adds, “We play a little bit louder and we play a little bit harder.”
With the help of Academy Award winner and Leverage co-star Timothy Hutton serving as director for “The House Rules” music video, Kane was able to mix business with pleasure. Hutton’s directing credits include the Cars’ “Drive,” Don Henley’s “Not Enough Love” and a Neil Young concert film, Freedom.
Hutton volunteered to direct Kane’s video.
“He walked up and said he wanted to do my video, and I was like, ’You gotta be kidding me. Unbelievable. That’s great,'” Kane says.
“It was great because not only would I work with him on Leverage, and we have so much fun on that show, we just transferred over on Saturday to go to the club and film a little music video with a concept that we came up with in his trailer.”
According to Kane, “’The House Rules’ absolutely personifies what our sound is. We like to mix a little bit of rock ’n’ roll in with our country. It’s about drinking with your family and friends, and that’s exactly what we were doing. Filming the video wasn’t even work. It was a lot of fun.”
Kane’s creativity goes beyond singing and acting as he even takes the reins as a songwriter.
“When I’m writing songs, I write visually,” he says. “When I’m writing the words down and I listen to the melody and the lyrics, I start seeing the video form. And if I can get through a song and from the beginning to the end have the whole video in my mind, I think that’s a great song.”
Noting Garth Brooks and the Highwaymen among his country influences, Kane has previously shared the stage with high-profile stars including Brooks & Dunn and Big & Rich. Not taking those moments for granted, he fully realizes the importance of learning from such successful entertainers.
“Anytime you’re with a big act that has been doing it for awhile, you shut your mouth and you open your ears and you open your eyes,” he says.
In some ways, Kane’s status as a successful actor has created obstacles for his music career.
“It’s a tough road,” he says. “People think that I’ve gotten the red carpet because I’m an actor. It’s absolutely the opposite. There were fences put up. There were walls put up. And if you know me, you know that I just go through them.”
From the start, Kane’s music played a recurring role in his acting career. “I got my first acting role because I was a singer,” he admits. Following his initial move to Los Angeles, he began working at an entertainment company as an assistant with the agreement he would deliver scripts as long as he could be submitted for projects, too.
Soon after, he landed the role of Ryan “Flyboy” Legget on the series Fame L.A. Other acting credits include the recurring character of Lindsey McDonald on Angel, along with film roles in Just Married, Secondhand Lions and Taxi.
Even his character on Leverage gives him an opportunity to showcase his musical abilities. Kane’s performance of “Thinking of You” during an episode titled “The Studio Job” quickly became a fan favorite.
“It was our highest-rated episode ever,” he notes, adding that he expects to do more singing during the fourth season of the series.
Thanks in part to his acting, Kane has been able to develop quite a fan following he affectionately refers to as Kaniacs.
“They’re crazy just like me,” he says. “I love ’em. We’ve been playing music for over 10 years, and a lot of them have been there from the start. They really have supported us, and it doesn’t hurt when you’re on a successful television series like Leverage, and then a lot of them came over from Angel, as well.
“They stuck around,” he continues. “We told them we were going to come out with some music, and we got pushed and pushed and pushed, and now we’re finally coming out. … They’ve all stayed here very, very patiently and waited for us to come with this, and to me that just means the world. That just shows the sign of a true Kaniac.”
The entertainer is well aware that believing in the music is key, and he remains careful about his song selection.
“You don’t know what song is really going to catch on and what the American public’s going to like,” he warns. “If you don’t believe in that song yourself, you could end up singing [it] for the rest of your life. And all these songs on the album, I’m prepared to sing forever if I get the opportunity.”