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Taylor Swift Eras Tour: Owenn Talks Opening, Rihanna

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Eras Tour opener Christian Owens, who goes by the stage name Owenn, says he was in the recording studio “in the womb.”

Granted, his mom was a Sony-signed artist and part of the 1990s group Lyric. Given his mother’s background, music was always around him.

Owenn spoke with Variety over Zoom in his hotel room having just arrived in Chicago for his second stop on Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour. His next day is jam-packed, starting at 7 a.m. and ending with his performance on Soldier Field.

The singer describes the first night of performing on the tour as “electrifying” as he looks forward to making his show even better with his remaining stops.

Owenn is a true multi-hyphenate whose credits extend far beyond singing and the Eras Tour; he actually started in dance. From getting a foot in the industry’s door with Diddy’s “Hello Good Morning” performance on “American Idol” in 2010 to dancing alongside Normani in her song “Motivation” (2019) to starring as Swift’s lover in “Lover” (2019), Owenn now credits much of his career to his life-long love of music that stemmed from growing up in a music studio.

Owenn’s big break came in joining Rihanna’s “Loud” tour as a teenager in 201: “It was one of those big opportunities… I went on tour, and then I just never really stopped.”

Since his first tour with Rihanna, he has also danced and choreographed for stars such as Beyoncé (including the “Lemonade” visual album movie and the iconic 2018 Coachella “Homecoming” performance), Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Lil Nas X, Alicia Keys, Demi Lovato, Megan Thee Stallion and, of course, Swift.

Owenn’s relationship with Swift started as a dancer on her 1989 tour.

“I actually auditioned for Taylor in 2015. I think I was number like 500,” he says. “I had come from such a different background of more hip-hop… I just went forward, and they cut people round after round, and I was like number 12. I was like, ‘Okay, cool.’ And then Taylor walks in and she hand-picked us… She was very nice to all the dancers and treated us really well. We all bonded on that tour.”

Owenn rejoined Swift for her “Reputation” tour in 2018, where his dancing was particularly highlighted as the leading man in the song “King of My Heart.”

In 2019, Swift’s team reached out to offer him the “Lover” music video gig (“I just look so different now. Like my hair’s so long,” he jokes). That music video now plays before Swift’s Eras Tour.

“I went to the concert one of the nights in Jersey, and I was able to walk around and watch the show. And it was cool because I would see [“Lover”] on the screen, and I was walking by, and nobody knew,” Owenn says. “It was cool to be one of those people that could just actually watch and enjoy.”

As Owenn began to launch his singing career, Swift also helped him sign his first major record deal with Republic Records in 2021. “She’s always been that driving force and a supporter,” he says. The singer is now signed to AE Records, which is a division of Atlantis Entertainment.

In a “crazy turn of events” in November 2022, Owenn was announced as part of her exclusive list of Eras Tour openers that includes Paramore, Muna, Gracie Abrams, Phoebe Bridgers, Girl in Red, Haim, Beabadoobee, Gayle and the newest addition Sabrina Carpenter.



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