Long before he had the support of a record label or publishing deal, Brett Young was sitting in a writers room, penning what would become one of the most important songs of his early career.

When he and Jesse Lee sat down to write "Like I Loved You" in 2014, Young was an independent writer who hadn't had a single meeting with a record label. But he and Lee finished writing his most recent No. 1 song, and they fell in love with it.

"I fought really hard for that song, to get it on the record," he explains to Taste of Country and other media of how important the song is to him.

He even went as far as to use his own money to cut the demo. By the time he landed a deal with Big Machine Label Group, several other new songs had come into play, and he had no idea where "Like I Loved You" would fall. But knowing its worth, he made a definitive push to include the track on his debut album.

"I think this one feels really personal, but also I feel really proud of the work that was put in to get this done," he says.

That work paid off. "Like I Loved You" is Young's second No. 1 following "In Case You Didn't Know," which is certified platinum alongside "Sleep Without You" — a significant feat for any artist, let alone on their debut project. He attributes the song's prosperity to how relatable it is.

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"I think that's why 'Like I Loved You' connected, because there are so many different variations and versions of that kind of heartbreak or breakup that I think people have experienced," he says of writing the sad song. It comes from a a personal place, but has universal appeal. "There are way more stories about it not working out than happily ever after. Those songs seem to connect pretty well."

The success of the track is essentially a "pinch me" moment for the 2017 Taste of Country RISERS star, who looks back on his early days in Nashville and is thankful he knew that the song was worth fighting for.

"Her and I got in a room and wrote a song that ... three years later is important on the record, is important on the radio," he says. "I love when you realize that you don't have to let things go as you have growth as an artist and as a writer."

Young is facing another year of growth in 2018. He's currently recording his second studio album, has cut three songs already and is in the process of recording three more. He anticipates the project will be released later this year.

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