What: AUSTN

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, 5 p.m. VIP meet-and-greet

Where: Volcanic Theatre Pub, 70 SW Century Drive, Bend

Cost: $15, $50 for VIP tickets

Contact: volcanictheatre.com or 541-323-1881

Austin Brown moved to Los Angeles to become an actor about two years ago. He became a pop star instead.

Or at least he’s well on his way. The 16-year-old Bend native switched his focus to music only a scant eight months ago, after some videos he posted to Instagram of himself singing went viral and caught the attention of his managers. His debut EP, “Chapter 1: In Betweenin’,” released in May on L.A.-based indie label TenThousand Projects, received attention from Billboard, Tiger Beat, J-14 and other media outlets.

“(My managers) just threw me in the studio, grinding — I look back, and I’m like, wow, I was going hard,” Brown said recently from his home in Los Angeles shortly after returning from his first full show with his band in North Carolina. “But I went into the studio almost every day of the week and just pumped out new songs, and we just filtered through them once we signed with this label. It’s all a big family, and it couldn’t be more genuine or better.”

Brown, who performs and releases music as AUSTN, will play an album-release show at Volcanic Theatre Pub on Saturday with the same stripped-down group (drums, guitar) that debuted in North Carolina. He said he’s looking forward to being back home for a couple of weeks, as well as returning to the VTP stage, where he performed with Bend singer-songwriter Kaden Wadsworth.

“I’ve been coming back and forth (between L.A. and Bend) for 3½ years, but it hasn’t felt like that; it’s felt super short,” he said. “L.A.’s really cool. … I have a couple (of friends) here that I miss a lot when I’m in Bend, but when I’m not in Bend, I’ve got all the kids I’ve grown up with my whole life to look forward to going back to. I can’t name a place that I love more than Bend.”

The city helped shape Brown’s musical talent from an early age. Born the youngest of four siblings, he started singing by the time he was 2, according to a news release announcing his EP.

But he struggled with poor hearing for the first four years of his life. Eventually, doctors discovered that the tubes in his ears had been closed since birth, and he had surgery to correct the issue.

“I came out of surgery, and it was like a whole new world,” Brown said. “It was crazy; I could hear so much better. And then from then — because I was sort of just learning how to sing. I was copying songs that I’d hear on the radio and stuff at that time. And then after that, I started going into my garage every night and just putting on little karaoke things on my iPad or whatever and just singing to them. Actually being able to hear myself was nice, because I’m sure I got a lot better.”

Brown honed his forceful tenor and crooning falsetto singing along to artists such as Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. Later, he discovered artists such as Sam Smith, Adele and Julia Michaels (whom he often cites as a favorite), incorporating their soulful sounds into his growing vocal repertoire. He also picked up ukulele, which continues to be his main instrument alongside his voice.

At first, he only sang in private, but soon began performing at Bend open mic nights, especially the Wednesday night open mic at The Lot.

“I lived literally around the corner; it was not even getting a 30-second walk,” Brown said. “Every open mic at The Lot, I would try to go to, and my family and all my family friends would show up, so half the crowd was them. But those were obviously so fun and laid back and so close.”

At around the same time, Brown was traveling back and forth from Bend to Los Angeles for acting auditions, and finally moved to the city with his family about two years ago. Through his early auditions, he met some social media influencers who helped him gain his own Instagram following.

“Chapter 1: In Betweenin’” showcases Brown’s budding talents as a songwriter, as well as singer. Early singles “Mean,” “Backup Plan” and the title track set Brown’s teenage love stories to affable pop melodies and beats.

“It’s just music that you can easily bop your head to,” Brown said. “Anyone, whether you’re musical or not, (will) just be able to find this sense of rhythm. I like to keep it unique, so all the songs are super different from each other.”

After the Bend show, Brown will head back to the studio in L.A. He said he hopes to tour, but the focus is on building a repertoire of music.

“I’m so excited to show my family and friends what I’ve created, because it means a lot,” he said.

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