TIFTON — Austin Brown, the Tifton native who has made it big as a member of a capella group Home Free, is embarking on a solo project and releasing his first original single Sept. 23.
Brown’s first release, “Earn It,” was the only song he wrote this year, and it was a tongue-in-cheek kind of song, he said.
“We kind of did it as a joke,” he said. “I wanted to write a song about hard work. One day I was out there working on the house, I’m building a deck with my dad at the time and I was like, man, I want to write a song about hard work. Like, I don’t pay nobody to cut my grass, if I want something done to my house, I do it myself. So that’s sort of where it came from.”
Brown said that while he has no plans to depart from Home Free, he felt encouraged by his bandmates and friends to start working with his original material.
“I’ve been with my band for seven-plus years now,” Brown said in a Zoom interview. “As we’ve evolved I have become a songwriter as well.”
He said he wasn’t consistent with writing original material until about three years ago.
“I started writing probably 20 to 30 songs a year, on my own and then also with songwriters from all over Nashville,” he said. “Initially it was just writing songs for Home Free, but over time, it’s gotten to where I’m sitting on loads and loads of songs now and I haven’t had anything to do with them.”
Brown said the band was touring overseas when the COVID-19 pandemic hit; they halted their tour and came home. The free time was the perfect opportunity to pull out his original content and do something with it.
“It’s a weird time to be alive,” he said. “But it makes me even more grateful for this experience because Lord knows whenever we’ll actually be able to put a thousand people together in a thousand-seat room again, which is what it takes to tour.”
He decided to start releasing his original songs one at a time. He started at Patreon, a website where fans can become patrons of artists and musicians by signing up for different membership levels.
Brown said his plan is to release songs and music videos on his site, as well as take the opportunity to personally engage with his fans.
“Being here, having the space and the time to really jump in head first and get to know these people in a way that I just didn’t always have the space or the time to do while always being on the road,” he said. “It’s already opened up a whole new world. It’s been so good for my heart. It’s been so good for our vision of the future and what this can be.”
“Earn It” will be released Sept. 23 on all major music streaming platforms. It will also be released on Patreon at www.patreon.com/AustinBrown.