Chris Young Talks Career Highlights, CMA Nomination and 2012 Tour
To say that the past year has been the best 12 months in the life and career of Chris Young may be considered somewhat of a lie, only because his red-hot success continues to scorch up the music scene with every passing day. The singer recently came off his fourth consecutive No. 1 single to date and had his second album, 'The Man I Want to Be,' reach gold certification with sales exceeding 500,000 copies this summer.
His latest album, 'Neon,' has already produced one chart-topping hit, with his current single, 'You,' quickly following in its footsteps. Taste of Country was able to grab a few minutes with Young in the midst of his hectic touring schedule to discuss all of his recent accomplishments and what 'Tomorrow' has in store.
What is the one career moment that you are most proud of so far?
Oh Lord ... I don't know. The gold record was a really big one. It was. That's something that I've always set, since before I had a record deal. I absolutely had to get a gold record. I knew that was a goal I wanted to reach one day. That was my end all, be all. That was a really big one.
'Tomorrow' recently became your fourth consecutive No. 1 single of your career. With those awards and plaques combined with the one you received when 'The Man I Want to Be' was certified gold ... your walls at home must be closing in on you!
I have to actually get a house soon, for nothing else, just for the plaques. I'm running out of room in my condo, which I guess is a good problem [laughs]. I literally have plaques in the corner of my house. I have friends come over and say, "You know you have plaques over there?" I go, "Yeah ... I know." You don't want to make your whole house plaques of yourself. That just kind of looks odd. I definitely hung up the gold plaque. I did do that! The gold record was important.
Your new single, 'You,' is a bit of a different sound and style than your previous singles. Can you tell us a little about the day you and songwriter Luke Laird penned the tune?
We finished the song, and I remember going, "Man, this is really cool ... this is really different." I thought it maybe even was a little too different for the record. I figured I'd see how it sounded when we demoed it. I always loved the song, and I was really happy to have it on there. We had been playing it out right when we were finishing up the [new] record in some acoustic rounds and things like that. I had no idea they were going to pick it as the second single. I was really excited, because like I said, I loved the song when we wrote it. It's something that's just a little bit different from all the other stuff we've put out.
You have been involved with the songwriting on three of the four No. 1 hits -- 'Gettin' You Home (The Black Dress Song), 'Voices' and 'Tomorrow.' In what ways have you noticed your songwriting evolving and getting stronger over the years?
The biggest way it's evolved is just the time I've had to work on it. You go back to my first record, and we were scrambling to put that record together. We didn't have a whole lot of time. I kind of had what I had written beforehand and not a lot of stuff where I got to work with new writers and some of the really great people I've met in Nashville since then. I really hadn't put as much of me into the songs I guess as I do now. Then obviously with the second record, I kind of found my nitch and figured out what my sound was like. I got to work with James Stroud for the first time. A lot of stuff came together on that record. We found some outside songs that I loved and wrote some stuff that I loved, but we finally broke through on radio finally. I guess that album was really anticipated more than any of the other records that I've put out. I think that definitely kind of gave me a little push on my songwriting ... just to write the best stuff that I could.
Does it freak you out at all that you went from being an artist/songwriter who nobody really knew about to one that now big-time writers like Craig Wiseman and Luke Laird are pursuing to co-write with?
Sometimes, because for a while now, those guys have been in demand to write with. I think it freaks me out a little bit, but I think that's one of the things that me growing as a songwriter has done. It's really made people aware of not just me as a singer, but me as a songwriter.
You obviously just released the new album, 'Neon,' in July, but have you given any thought to working on the next album yet?
I'm always writing. I've already been writing songs, [so] that's never something you have to worry about. Really, I don't know if I've thought, "Oh my gosh ... this one!" I haven't started narrowing down songs yet or anything.
When the CMA announced the nominees for this year's awards show, your name popped up in the New Artist of the Year category. How did that hit you?
I remember times when I wasn't nominated for anything [laughs]. A lot has changed in the past couple of years.
Right now you're out on the road with Jason Aldean on his My Kinda Party Tour. What has that experience been like for you?
Honestly, being out on the road with Jason is great. I didn't really know what this tour was going to be like. Some of the other people I had been out with, I kind of had a good idea of their personalities or I had been out with them before. Being out here with Jason has been absolutely amazing. He's been cool to hang with before shows, after shows, we play basketball together, we watch college football out front of the buses ... he's just really, really a great guy. I'm having a great time being on this tour.
Who would you like to see yourself touring with in 2012?
I actually kind of already know ... I just can't tell you yet [laughs]! But it will be announced sooner than later, I would think!
Watch Chris Young Perform 'You' on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live'