Chris Young Talks New Music, Shifting Gears and His Favorite Album of 2018
Chris Young's workmanlike approach to music may not be rare, but it's not celebrated, either. The 33-year-old enjoys the grind, and at a point that many would pump the brakes, he's pressing the clutch and shifting gears to chase more songs, new artists and studio creations.
In the mainstream country world, six studio albums (plus a Christmas album), 18 singles and millions of miles on a tour bus typically set a man up for life, and there's little doubt the humbly dressed, always accessible country singer could take an extended break and not have to worry about the next month's water bill. But when he's not on the road, Young is in the studio. When he's not in the studio, he's sleeping. And when he's not sleeping, he's on the road, and when — well, you get it.
"I don’t know if it’s ever a grind for me," Young admits to Taste of Country. "I think if it was, maybe the cycle would be getting slower as opposed to ... we’ve made a lot of music in a very short amount of time."
It's true. The gold-certified I'm Comin' Over dropped in 2015 and was followed by It Must Be Christmas in 2016 and Losing Sleep in 2017. He's about out of days to keep his streak alive, but by all indications, new music is his No. 1 priority in 2019 — maybe his only priority.
"I don’t know if I’m ever having more fun than when I’m on stage, but you get the same feeling in a way from crushing something in the studio," he says.
Previously, Young had been tight-lipped about his next project, only sharing that new music is coming sooner than you think. Fortunately, he's not a great secret-keeper, so as "Hangin' On" ventures to become his next No. 1 single, the Nashville native was very open to talking about what's next.
“Hangin’ On” could become your 10th No. 1 song.
It would be 11. “Who I Am With You” was only No. 1 on one chart, so sometimes people overlook that one.
Do some artists take these moments for granted?
I don’t know that I see people doing that, because the people I see recently have all been people I’ve toured with or Cole Swindell, whom I just texted. I feel like anyone who took it for granted, you’d have to just go grab ‘em and shake ‘em.
Has working with younger artists affected your music?
For me, hearing what everybody else is doing can inspire you sometimes where you’re like, ‘Oh man, I never thought of doing a song that way.’ It’s just really cool. I’ve been really lucky that I’ve gotten to be friends with the guys from Lanco, Morgan Evans being on the tour, Kane (Brown) especially. It’s one of those things that it always gives you a sense that everybody is out there grinding, and sometimes you lose sight of that a little bit because you’re in your own little world and you don’t see what somebody else is doing. This is the part we love, the creating and then putting it out there and hoping everybody falls in love with it.
You said that new music is coming sooner than we think. I interpret that as the next single is coming once this song reaches its peak.
I’m not gonna say you’re wrong (laughs).
Are you working on a new album or an extension of this album (Losing Sleep)? You just released an album it feels like.
Well you know what, somebody was like, ‘It’s just now a year old.’ But if you look at the amount of time it took for “Losing Sleep” to get up the chart and then the amount of time it took for “Hangin’ On” to get up the chart, it’s been a year and a half, almost two years by the time we’ll get to another project ... so, I don’t know. I do know that I've got a bunch of songs that I really, really love. They feel like they’re all cohesive enough to be their own project.
Would you say there is like, 11-ish songs?
11-ish? Yeah, yeah, yeah (laughs).
You clearly love being in the studio. Would you ever produce someone else's album?
Yeah, that’s something I’ve discussed with a couple friends of mine. Me and Corey (producer Corey Crowder) have done the last several records together, and we’ve had that conversation about do we go find someone we really believe in and just go do that?, part of the process. It’s finding the right person and finding the right time to do that, but that’s not something I would be afraid of.
What music or life experiences are influencing you now?
Just describing some of the stuff I’ve cut for whatever this is next. If “Losing Sleep” and “Hangin’ On” were a little more pop production, this one is probably a little more organic. I wouldn’t even say traditional, but the way that we’ve tracked some of this stuff it’s more organic instrumentation.
As a connoisseur of music, what album from 2018 do you keep coming back to?
I could go with the people that have been on my tour. I could go Lanco and Kane and Morgan Evans. But actually guys that are going to be on my tour that I have not started with, so I don’t feel quite as like I’m just saying this — I love that Dan + Shay record. It’s just a great, great record, and Shay and Dan are both singing their butts off on it.
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