Chris Young's grandfather was a country singer, too, once performing on the show "Louisiana Hayride" (it may not seem like a big deal. But it was a big deal). “There was always music around my grandparents’ house whenever we’d go over there,” Young recalls. “There was a music room and we’d sing. He introduced me to Hank Senior and Lefty Frizell and Marty Robbins, a lot of the [building block] artists.”
Young has had an impressive career of his own: He’s about to release his third album, “Neon,” on July 12th, he’s had three No. 1 hit singles in a row and he won the fourth season of “Nashville Star” in 2006 (something his official bio makes no mention of).
Young, who plays Salisbury, Md.’s Wicomico Civic Center with Miranda Lambert on Sunday and is spending much of the summer on the road with Jason Aldean, spoke with Click Track about his new album, his slow start (he was on his second album before the hits started coming-for a country singer, this is slow), and that time he bonded with Kenny Chesney.
So your new album, “Neon,” is about to come out, and everyone is saying it's the Big One. How much pressure do you feel right now?
It's funny, I don't really feel any pressure. One, I'm really, really proud of the album. Two, I'm really ready to have my album out. It's been almost three years. And three, usually people pressure you and make you feel like you have to live up to something on your second record, but my second record is kind of where I broke out with success.
It seems stakes are higher, with you having two singles ["Tomorrow" and "Voices"] on the chart at the same time.
I definitely cannot wait. I really just want everyone to have it in their hands so they can put it in their CD player and listen to it. I know what it sounds like [laughs]. I made it. I wouldn't say I'm nervous. I'd say anxious.
According to Country Weekly magazine, you're country's hottest bachelor.
Some of those things happen and you're just like, "Okay. I'll take it." I don't know, I think it's kind of funny. Sometimes as an artist you just think, Huh, I had no idea something like this [could ever happen].
It's not what you imagined when you were growing up?
I always wanted to be a singer. There's lots of people who are kind of finding their career path, but I never had that problem. I just always loved making music and it didn't matter if I was sitting on second avenue on a box with a guitar. I just feel incredibly lucky.
Winning "Nashville Star" seems to [come with] less pressure than winning "American Idol." It seems more low-key.
You know, I don't know. When you come off any show, it's just a matter of what you do after. You take a look at my first record, there wasn't any reason for RCA to keep me. I was really glad they did. It took four singles before one took off and ended up being a hit, and I was lucky enough that it went to Number One….That got me where I needed to be, it got me on RCA and it got me a whole lot of fans, and that's where it started.
Is there anyone out there whose career you'd want to [emulate]?
If you go back and look at the beginning of my career, I've had a very slow build. We stayed on the road as much as possible and kept plugging away…I kind of look at Kenny Chesney. He's known for his work ethic, for doing as much work as he possibly can. You talk about being the captain of your own ship, that's a guy who has definitely done that. Plus who wouldn’t want a career like that? I hope to build my fans and my career 'til I'm one day down the road playing in a huge arena like that….I had a chance to meet with him. He called me when I got my first number one and we got a chance to sit down. I had a beer with him and had a chance to pick his brain about, where do I go from here, what's the best way to approach radio? It was really cool. He didn’t have to take the time to dothat. It meant a lot to me….It was a big deal.
Did you think to yourself, "I'm gonna do that for somebody someday"?
I hope I'm in a position someday where someone wants to hear me talk!