If you’re going to Brad Paisley’s concert this weekend in Charlotte, and the opener’s baritone sounds familiar — don’t be surprised. The voice belongs to Kannapolis native Kameron Marlowe, whose appearance you may have caught on “The Voice.” But his voice really started gaining serious traction in country music circles with his first single “Giving You Up” in 2019.

“Giving You Up” is a personal story of Marlowe’s breakup with a serious girlfriend. When Marlowe was 21, he was ready to settle down — steady job, white picket fence and all that. But shortly before he was set to propose, she ended the relationship, inspiring him to put his feelings on paper. A career-igniting single was born.

Speaking from his Nashville apartment, 24-year-old Marlowe told CharlotteFive that he hasn’t kept in touch with his ex to really get her take on the song’s success.

“I don’t talk to her anymore, but I’m sure she doesn’t like it,” he said.

A whole lot of other people do like it, though. Personal stories resonate like crazy with fans, and “Giving You Up” has garnered 100 million streams across many online platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and others.

2021 Artist to Watch

Marlowe’s songs have gotten so much notice that a number of country music publications like Country Now, Pandora and Music Mayhem Magazine have named him a 2021 Artist to Watch.

“Marlowe’s gritty vocals blend perfectly with his rock-infused, classic country sound, and is proving to be a standout star in country, and it seems 2021 is destined to really kick his career into high gear,” according to a review in Music Mayhem Magazine.

It hasn’t just been critics swooning over Marlowe’s sound. On Saturday, Aug. 28, you’ll get the chance to see Marlowe on the big stage when he joins country superstar Brad Paisley at PNC Music Pavilion.

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Kannapolis native Kameron Marlowe, 24, is Brad Paisley’s opening act this Saturday at PNC Music Pavilion. Kristen Balani

“The Voice” debut

The singer grew up in Kannapolis and attended A.L. Brown High School, where he played left field on the baseball team and was also a wrestler before graduating in 2015. His love for music started at a young age, when his grandpa drove him around in his old pickup, listening to country radio. He got his start singing in church when he was 10 and later joined a band in high school that played gigs around town.

In 2018, he debuted on NBC’s “The Voice.”

“What that did for me mostly was, it didn’t really open that many doors, but it gave me the courage that I could do this full time,” he said. “I wasn’t cultured in that lifestyle, but I found out that it wasn’t just a fairy tale, that people were doing this for a living and it gave me the drive to start writing songs.”

And so he found his own voice.

“I would say I’m modern, old-school, country, if that makes sense. It’s a lot of old-school and new-school elements. It’s a blend,” he said. “I grew up listening to ’70s country — George Jones and Merle Haggard, but also ’90s stuff like Brooks & Dunn.”

He also says his appreciation for Blues titans like Ray Charles and B.B. King affects his sound.

‘Stay true to my country roots’

Country music as a genre has experienced a lot of growth and diversification over the last decade with acts like Lil Nas X’s “Old Country Road” and Breland’s “Don’t Touch My Truck.”

Marlowe said he’s not trying to reinvent anything, though.

“I would say that I stay true to my country roots, and I’m not looking to go outside the box. I like the sounds that are true to myself,” he said.

But if he had the opportunity to collaborate with artists outside of the country music box? “I’d love to work with Post Malone — that’d be cool. I’m open to a lot of different people to work with. John Mayer would be one of them,” he said.

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24-year-old Kameron Marlowe got his start in Kannapolis, but the rising country star is primed to play the PNC Music Pavilion as Brad Paisley’s opening act this Saturday. Matthew Berinato

In the meantime, Marlowe is looking forward to a big performance in his own neck of the woods as the 12th stop on the Brad Paisley 2021 Tour. Saturday night’s show at 7:30 will be the first time he’s played Charlotte since he performed at Coyote Joe’s earlier in the year.

As for future shows, he says he’d love to play The Visualite and The Music Factory in Charlotte. “It feels good to come back to North Carolina and play in one of my favorite venues with one of my favorite artists,” he said.

Editor’s note: PNC Music Pavilion has updated its COVID-19 protocols to reflect rising concerns about new cases. Beginning Oct. 4, PNC will require performers, fans and its employees to show proof they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 or show negative test results for the virus.

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Eric Edwards retired from a 25-year journalism career in 2020 to pursue cattle ranching. Finding no cows native to South End, he turned his focus to freelance writing, design and editing.