Singer Kane Brown has felt homesick while touring the world in support of hits like “Used to Love You Sober,” “Heaven” and “What Ifs.”
There’s another group of men and women who frequently miss home—the military fighting for our freedom abroad.
So, Brown took his hit “Homesick,” and remixed it, reimagined it as a ballad and renamed it “Homesick (Veterans Version)” with the addition of vocals from three soldiers—Generald Wilson, retired Navy 1st Class petty officer; J.W. Cortes, retired Marine Corps gunnery sergeant; and Sal Gonzales, retired Marine Corps lance corporal.
“I was so surprised when I first heard them sing,” Brown says. “I didn’t know what to expect, but they made the song beautiful.”
Cortes adds, “As a veteran, it means so much to work with a brand that has a long history of supporting service men and women. I want this remix to serve as an anthem for all American heroes as we continue to work together for a better tomorrow.”
For every stream of “Homesick (Veterans Version),” The Crown Royal Purple Bag Project will pack one bag to be donated as a care package to Glendale nonprofit Packages from Home as part of the brand’s goal of 1 million bags by December 2020.
“To partner with Crown for a song that means so much to me when it comes to the military was great,” Brown says. “It was so special to have them hop on it.”
They will also donate $1 to community-based nonprofit Minority Veterans of America, up to $100,000.
“It’s extremely awesome,” says Jamie Johnson, Packages from Home development associate. “We’re super thankful for the partnership with Kane Brown and Crown Royal. We’ve been partnering with Crown Royal for 10 years now. We were actually featured with them last year at various events, like the CMAs. ‘Homesick (Veterans Version)’ really sat well with a lot of veterans.”
Packages from Home’s mission is to serve active-duty U.S. military members stationed or deployed overseas as well as homeless, transitioning and at-risk veterans by providing them with requested food, hygiene and entertainment items to boost morale and quality of life.
Crown Royal’s commitment to packing 1 million bags by the end of 2020 will further advance Packages from Home’s mission, which began in 2004 when founder Kathleen Lewis started sending care packages to her son, Christian Lewis, when he enlisted after watching the Twin Towers fall on 9/11.
Kathleen began sending packages to Christian, but unfortunately, he was the only one in his unit receiving care packages, Johnson says.
“Kathleen rallied her friends to send packages to the entire squad and Packages from Home was born,” Johnson adds.
Last year, Packages from Home sent more than 10,000 care packages and impacted over 20,000 active-duty service members.
Additionally, the organization provided over 45,000 pounds of food and 6,000 pounds of hygiene items, impacting over 17,000 veterans.
For Brown, supporting the military is personal.
“I’ve had family in the military, and I tried to join the military, but they wanted to make me remove my tattoos. I wasn’t going to do that,” he says.
“Soldiers are always away from their families. I was awful in school, but I love war movies. That’s where I get all my knowledge. It’s insane what they have to go through, how long they have to be away from their families, and it’s super, super dangerous. I’m just trying to give them a little support.”
Brown also found it important to support Minority Veterans of America.
“I recognize the incredible importance of acknowledging the service our minority veterans have made for this country,” Brown says. “My hope is this remix shines a light of hope and generosity to uplift our heroes during this time.”
With his No. 1 Billboard 200 release “Experiment,” Brown became the only male country artist in more than 24 years to debut at the top of the Billboard 200, and only one of three country artists to top the Billboard 200 chart all year (2018).
The AMA, ACM, Billboard and People’s Choice Award winning and nominated artist is one of only five country acts with multiple five-time platinum hits (joining Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Sam Hunt and Taylor Swift). Brown first topped the Billboard Top Country Albums chart with the release of his self-titled debut album (2016) and again with the release of “Kane Brown (Deluxe Edition)” in 2017, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums and Top 5 on Billboard 200.
These days, Brown is missing the stage due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, he’s writing new music and hoping to release an album this year.
“It’s driving me insane,” he says. “I’m ready to get back out there on tour. I was cool for the first couple months. Now I don’t know what to do.”
He recently celebrated the release of his third EP, “Mixtape, Vol. 1,” which includes “Cool Again” with Nelly, “Be Like That” with Khalid and Swae Lee and “Worldwide Beautiful,” the latter of which benefits the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
He calls the “Cool Again” and “Be Like That” videos “probably the best videos I’ve ever made.”
“Nelly was just fun. It’s like we’d been friends forever,” he says. “Khalid, I’ve known for a little bit. I introduced them to a new drink they had never had. It’s a cheap college drink, Rumple Minze. It’s 100 proof, and it literally tastes like you put mouthwash in your mouth. It’s super dangerous, but we had fun.”
Packages from Home: packagesfromhome.org
Crown Royal’s Purple Bag: crownroyal.com/purple-bag-project
Kane Brown: kanebrownmusic.com