BROWN & GRAY
About BROWN & GRAY
Country music is an international thing for Brown & Gray, a duo featuring two songwriters and vocalists, one British and one America, who have histories in both country and pop. While Kaci Brown and Sam Gray both enjoyed success as solo artists, their careers moved into a higher gear with the success of their first project together. "Top Down" was a 2017 hit that debuted their formula of country-styled melodies with hook-laden choruses, a splash of dance-friendly rhythm, and the harmonies of the two vocalists. The tune scored on radio and streaming services, making Brown & Gray a duo to watch when they released the EP Salt in the Coffee in 2018.
Brown & Gray is a collaboration between two singer/songwriters, Kaci Brown and Sam Gray. Brown was born in Sulfur Springs, Texas in 1988, and began performing at an early age, singing in church and entering pageants; she was crowned Little Miss Texas Grand Talent at the age of ten. Brown attended the Fan Fair CMA Music Festival with her grandmother when she was 11, and she went home determined to become a country music star. A year later, Brown and her family moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where she recorded a demo tape and began writing songs. Brown was just 13 when she landed a publishing deal with Still Working Music, a firm co-founded by Barbara Orbison, the widow of pop legend Roy Orbison, making her the youngest person to register with the performance rights organization ASCAP. At 15, her career took a detour when she met producer and songwriter Toby Gad, who helped her move into pop music. Brown signed with Interscope Records, and in 2005 she released her debut album, Instigator; in support of the record, she set out on tour, playing a string of dates opening for the Backstreet Boys. While the album was modestly successful, Brown subsequently opted to focus on her songwriting, penning tunes that were recorded by Pixie Lott, Greyson Chance, and Queensberry, among others.
Meanwhile, Sam Gray was born in Hull in East Yorkshire, England. Gray's father played the piano, while his older sister was a classical vocalist. Gray took up the violin as a boy, and went on to play in his school's orchestra, and later learned to play guitar and keyboards. In time, Gray left Hull for Manchester, and began making a name for himself as a performer and songwriter. After he was discovered by drummer turned manager Steve White, Gray was signed to Transmission Records as a recording artist, and Notting Hill Music as a tunesmith. Gray cut a pair of albums for Transmission -- 2011's Brighter Day and 2013's Too Much of a Good Thing -- and earned airplay for the songs "Cartwheel Queen," "Two Hearts," and "This Girl." Gray also achieved success as a songwriter, with his compositions recorded by artists such as Hardwell, Abi Phillips, Ben Saunders, and Nile Rodgers. Under the name JUIC3BOX, Gray wrote and produced "True Love," a duet with Alice France.
While Gray's musical background was in funk, R&B, and pop, he also had a taste for country music, including traditionalists such as Johnny Cash and contemporary stars like Shania Twain. While at a songwriting camp, Gray came up with a song that combined dance grooves, a country melody, and an infectious singalong chorus. When he submitted a demo of the tune to his manager, he was told the song was good but needed a more country-sounding vocalist. Gray was then introduced to Brown, and they discovered they were on the same page creatively. As a duo, Brown & Gray recorded a new version of the song, titled "Top Down," which was released in mid-2017. The song became a hit, racking up over three million plays on major streaming services and over two million views of the song's official video. In the wake of the success of "Top Down," Brown & Gray hit the road, playing headlining dates and making an appearance at the prestigious Stagecoach Festival in Indio, California. June 2018 saw the release of Salt in the Coffee, a five-song EP that included "Top Down" and four other tunes. ~ Mark Deming