Chris Young debuted his extremely emotional new song, "Drowning," at the Grand Ole Opry in early June, and midway through the performance, he broke down.

"I thought I was okay at the end of the first chorus, but by verse two, I knew I was in trouble,” Young recalls to People. “I tried my best to pull myself together, but I just couldn’t. And then the audience all stood up and started applauding, and that was it. I couldn’t finish the song."

The superstar co-wrote "Drowning" with Corey Crowder and Josh Hoge, and it's a very real story about his friend Adam who died in a car accident. Adam had been by Young's side since the beginning of his career, even in 2006 when he was on a competition reality show.

“Adam used to drive over and sit with me in the parking lot of Nashville Star,” Young recalls, adding that many people even thought the longtime friends were brothers.

Prior to this interview and the release of "Drowning," the country star had not written music or spoken about Adam's death. “The song is still very open-ended, because we wanted to make sure that it was a song that really anyone could relate to,” he says.

Even though the listener is able to relate to the song in their own way, in the end, the song is a tribute to his lost friend. “I had friends coming up to me talking about it, and it just started taking on a life of its own. I’ve never experienced something like this," he shares.

Young says Adam's family did reach out after hearing the song, and that, “They loved it and they appreciated me honoring his memory with this song. And yeah, that makes me feel great.”

He thinks his late friend would be proud of it, and rightly so.

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