Brett Young’s ‘Ticket to L.A.’ Album Is Vulnerable, Raw and Real
Honesty was the defining theme of Brett Young's debut album. The keyword for his sophomore release, Ticket to L.A.? Vulnerability.
Though Ticket to L.A. may not rely on heartbreak songs to express said vulnerability like on his self-titled release, Young achieves the same feeling with a song that offers an overview of his life, fittingly titled "Chapters."
Young's genuineness shines through as he chronicles the important stages of his life, beginning as a child looking up to his father. He then transitions to the overwhelming attention he experienced playing baseball, "everybody expecting perfection," until an injury dashed his dreams of playing the sport professionally.
The last verse features Young's friend and the song's co-writer Gavin DeGraw as an oracle figure, professing "gotta fail on your way to glory / every future has a past."
The two met nearly 15 years ago and what started out as an artist-fan relationship blossomed into a friendship when DeGraw took on a mentorship role as Young began making music. Not wanting to exploit their friendship for business purposes, Young consciously decided not to pursue a collaborative effort with DeGraw musically. But as Young was preparing his second album, he felt compelled to reach out to DeGraw about writing a song together.
When DeGraw agreed, he had a specific purpose in mind. "He goes 'you keep telling me your label wants that song that's not about a girl, they want a life song. We gotta write your story.' That was his stipulation," Young explains.
The two also shared a bond over the fact that music became a part of their stories later in life. "The writing process was incredible. It was all really special."
Young has been open about the fact that Ticket to L.A. incorporates a more soulful, R&B sound that reflects the music he grew up on, pointing to the romantic "Reason to Stay" and "Let it Be Mine" as the songs that embrace that soulful flair. "I don't know that's something that leaves you," he says of incorporating soul into his music going forward. "That's always going to be a big part of my heart as an artist."
Though his sound has progressed, Young carries over the authenticity from his first project into his latest one. He recalls a memory years before his fame when he ventured to a show in Los Angeles to see one of his favorite artists. Young was drawn to the authenticity he projected in his songs, but was disappointed when said artist couldn't convey it on stage. That moment made the "Mercy" singer determined to establish a true sense of connectedness with the audience he hoped to cultivate one day.
"I think continuing to have that vulnerability, but giving everybody a little taste of something new was kind of the goal," he describes of Ticket to L.A. "I've always said that as a music fan, I feel the most connected to music that I feel like the artist seems connected to. I think me being connected to my music is step one in asking other people to feel connected to it. But the only way I know to do that is for it to be honest and vulnerable."
Ticket to L.A. was released Friday (Dec. 7).
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