The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Features

May 3, 2014

Country crooner feels blessed to be living a dream career

JOHNSTOWN — Tennessee native Chris Young doesn’t take his success lightly.

Asked whether he thought he would attain so much success at the age of 28, he scoffed at the notion.

“Heck no,” he said.

“It was one of those things that when I had my first hit, I just wished I could get another,” Young said during an interview from a tour stop in San Antonio.

Young will headline a performance that begins at 7 tonight at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena, 326 Napoleon St. in downtown Johnstown.

The concert will also feature rising stars Jerrod Niemann and Courtney Cole.

Doors open at 6 to allow patrons to take their seats in anticipation of an evening of country fun.

In 2006, Young was declared the winner of the television program “Nashville Star,” a singing competition which aired on USA Network.

Young need not fret about getting another hit record.

After winning, Young was signed to RCA Records Nashville, releasing his self-titled debut album that same year.

The album produced two singles on Hot Country Songs: “Drinkin’ Me Lonely” and “You’re Gonna Love Me.”

A second album, “The Man I Want to Be,” included the singles “Voices,” “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song)” and the title track, which all went to No. 1.

Since the hits have kept coming, Young finds himself crisscrossing the country to entertain his growing legion of fans.

“I now tour with two tractor-trailer trucks of equipment, two tour buses and a lot of employees counting on me to do the best I can,” he said.

But that has not always been the case.

He cut his first independent record after high school, using his own money to fund 500 or so CDs and take himself on a short tour of Florida, where he played mostly Borders bookstores.

“One day, I played to three people,” he remembers.

Young said any artist can tell you when they first heard one of their songs on the radio, and he’s no different.

“I  grew up not far from Nashville and I was in my truck at a stop sign when ‘Drinkin’ Me Lonely’ came over my radio that displayed the artist and title,” Young said.

“That was the first time I heard one of my songs on the radio and it still never gets old.”

It’s also memorable because it was his first song to reach the Top 40 chart.

Young, who will celebrate his 29th birthday on June 12, said a singer never knows what song from an album will strike gold.

In Young’s case, it turned out to be his “You” cut on the “Neon” album.

“I love this song because it has an R&B feel with a little country on top,” he said.

Young said he feels blessed with a career that he has only dreamed about.

Young has had a chance to perform with some of his boyhood idols – namely George Strait when Young opened for him during an April 2013 concert.

“That one is off my bucket list because I had a chance to open for him,” Young said.

“I also got to hang with him backstage and have a shot of tequila with him.”

Young has shared the stage with other country stars like Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean and Miranda Lambert.

He said his biggest attribute is persistence.

“After my first three singles from two albums followed by four radio tours in four years, I didn’t go anywhere,” he said.

“I finally started to make it and whether a person is in the business five years or 25 years before making it big, everyone will say you are an overnight success not thinking about all those years of struggle.”

In 2011, Young won American Country Music Awards for breakthrough artist of the year and single of the year for “Voices,” which he co-wrote with Chris Tompkins and Craig Wiseman.

As a singer-songwriter, he gets his inspiration anywhere, anytime.

“I’m the guy at the airport singing into his phone to get something down quickly when the notion strikes,” he said.

On his rare days off from the road or the studio, you’ll find him fishing with his dad.

“We like to go out for largemouth bass when we get the chance,” he said.

“It’s important to make time for things like that.”

Tom Lavis covers Features for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter.com/Tom LavisTD.

Concert

Who: Chris Young.

Where: Cambria County War Memorial Arena, 326 Napoleon St. in downtown Johnstown.

When: 7 tonight. Doors open at 6.

Tickets: At box office from noon today, Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000 or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com.

Cost: $29.50 and $35.50, plus fees.

 

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