Story Behind the Song: Kane Brown Feat. Lauren Alaina, ‘What Ifs’
Breakout artist Kane Brown achieved his first taste of fame through a distinctly modern approach: by posting videos, which ultimately went viral, of himself covering hits such as "Three Wooden Crosses" by his idol, Randy Travis, to YouTube back in 2016. Two years later, the Georgia native celebrated his first No. 1 hit with his single "What Ifs."
"What Ifs" features Lauren Alaina, a country star in her own right, who also happens to be a childhood friend of Brown's; the two artists grew up together in small-town Georgia. Below, the two singers, as well as the other songwriters behind "What Ifs," share how the song came to be written and recorded.
Jordan Schmidt: The inspiration actually came from a Shel Silverstein poem called "What If." It's all about the same thing our song is about, in a way: What if this? What if that? If you focus on the "what ifs," you can drive yourself crazy. So we thought, why isn't there a song about that?
Matthew McGinn: I probably chimed in on that with my crippling anxiety. Pretty much every day, I wake up and think, "What if this is the last day I get to do this? What if they hate me? What if they don't, and then I have to go talk to a bunch of media? Oh my God!"
Kane Brown: I think that this was the first song [the three of us] wrote together. Matt also cut my second single, "Heaven." He's been killing it with me.
And obviously, Lauren and I have known each other forever: We went to school together. I don't think [the songwriters] had ever heard her sing before we did "What Ifs."
Schmidt: Well, that was the funny part: We were writing, and I remember thinking, "Wouldn't it be great if we had a female vocalist on this?" Kane said, "Well, my friend's really good. We could bring her in." I had no idea it was Lauren Alaina.
Who Is Kane Brown?