Christian Kane Talks Music, Acting and His ‘Secret Love’
Christian Kane is no stranger to entertaining the masses. Last December, the hunky singer and actor released his debut country album, ‘The House Rules,’ just as TNT’s ‘Leverage’ had started back up for its fourth season. Kane has become a fan favorite on the hit show, where he plays the role of Elliott Spencer. Now that the season is wrapped, Kane will switch gears to life as a country star as he crisscrosses the country throughout the remainder of the year.
Taste of Country was lucky enough to catch up with the man that Entertainment Weekly named as Summer TV’s Sexiest Voice in their 2011 Hottie Awards on a recent stop in Nashville to discuss his music, his acting and his secret passion for cooking.
Talk about the journey since December when you released your debut album. Is it everything you thought it would be up to this point?
Oh, absolutely! A lot of people tell me wait ‘til you get on stage or wait ‘til you get on tours, and I always tell everybody that the journey is now. The fun of the game is right now. A lot of people don’t really realize that. They think you have to get to the top to start having fun, and it’s not. It’s the journey getting to the top where everything is always great. I’m on the ‘Ferris Bueller’ thing where I look around every once in a while so I don’t miss it. This is the fun part. I learned that through doing music for 10 years, and also just being in the entertainment business as an actor, as well. For the first five years of music and first five years of acting, I don’t remember it because I was running to where I was going. Finally I was like, “Man, I missed everything.” So I just stopped, and I started looking around. Now, this is the fun time. We’re having a blast.
What is the biggest thing you’ve learned about yourself from all the years spent in the entertainment industry?
I think I learned this through entertainment period: When it stops becoming fun and when it becomes a job, you’ve either got to get out or you’ve got to think of another way to go. Acting became that for me. I started really not liking it because of the stuff going on, the stuff that I was doing and maybe some of the choices that I actually made. I stopped for a bit. It wasn’t until ‘Leverage’ came on that I started falling in love with acting again. Music hasn’t happen like that for me. I say this all the time … I could go out on the street and do Shakespeare and probably get arrested, but if I went out and did some music, I’d probably be able to make a little money [laughs]. Music is always going to be there. Nobody’s ever going to tell me that I can’t play music.
How has your career as an actor helped prepare you for your musical journey?
A lot of people don’t know this, but I actually got my start in acting by being a country singer. The very first show I did was ‘Fame L.A.’ Everyone had talent … it was either dancing or acting or something like that. I was a singer, so I got my first role. The whole acting career happened because I was a country singer first. The acting came after music, but a lot of people don’t know that because I started getting recognized more for acting than music.
Talk about the experience of putting together ‘The House Rules.’
Some of these songs on the album we’ve had for a couple of years. We played them for a bunch of people, and because they still liked them, we realized that they weren’t dated. They were timeless. If you write them seven years ago and people are still digging it, that should go on the album. That means that they can not only survive seven years to be on this album, but hopefully seven after that. That was a big chunk of our stuff. We went back to the stuff we knew for a comfortableness, and added some of the newer stuff that we had written. Hopefully that will have the same strength as everything else, but you never know. It was right at the time, so we put those on there. We really wanted some upscale, fun stuff like we used to do at the Viper Room on Sunset [Boulevard].
Your current single is ‘Let Me Go,’ which is one of the three songs on the album that you didn’t write. How did you come across that song?
I really enjoy writing my own stuff, but this one Casey Beathard and Tom Shapiro wrote. I chased Casey around for almost a year to say, “Give me the song.” There was another artist who was way bigger than I was at the time who had it on hold. He finally took it off hold, and I asked Casey to please give me a shot. I write with Casey all the time, so we are friends. He gave me the song, so I was very fortunate to have that one.
Another standout song on the album is a cover of Tracy Chapman’s ‘Fast Car.’ What was the significance with recording that particular song?
I sang that song in the audition for ‘Fame L.A.’ Recording that song on the album was kind of my tribute to her for giving me my start in the entertainment business in music and the acting side.
‘Leverage’ just got picked up for a fifth season. Will you be involved with that again?
Absolutely! It’s such a fun show. It’s literally like a modern day version of ‘The A-Team,’ and I get to play Mr. T [laughs]! I don’t have a stunt double, so I get to do my own stunts. I’m also a fight choreographer, so I choreograph all the fights. I get stitched up at least once a year. This year I didn’t go to the hospital. It was the first year in four years that I didn’t go to the hospital. It’s fun and I love it. I’m a big Steve McQueen fan, and I basically get to be him on the show.
We’ve heard you have a hidden talent for cooking some amazing meals. How did you discover your love for cooking?
I had left the University of Oklahoma, all my friends and the “easy life,” and was living in Los Angeles. I was in the middle of nowhere in L.A. trying to survive. I was eating a can of ranch-style beans every day, mixing it with some spaghetti every once in a while. I’d just watch the cooking network and salivate. I got my job, and while everyone else bought a car or bought this and that … I just started shopping and bought food and started cooking food. My mom’s always been a good cook, so I took a lot of stuff from her, but most of the stuff I took from Emeril or Bobby Flay right off the TV and make it. I just loved to cook, so it just became a thing. It’s a release. Even if I’m alone, I’ll cook a full meal, maybe even a two-course meal, just because I love to cook. It’s my secret love!
Watch the Christian Kane ‘Let Me Go’ Video