Chris Young has accomplished more by 29 than some artists do in a lifetime. Already a Grammy-‐‐nominated recording artist,he’s also a dynamic live performer consistently in demand, an international ambassador for his genre, a talented songwriter with sixNumber Ones to his name – by the way, he wrote four of them – and a handsome charmer to boot. Now, with the release of hisfourth album, A.M., the man known for his classic baritone and melt-‐‐your-‐‐heart ballads knows how to have a good time, too.
Still, when all is said and done, it only takes two words to sum up the career of Chris Young: Definitely country.
“I’ve always loved country music, and I really liked singing it as a kid,” Young remembers. “So I was like, ‘That’s what I want todo.’ I just kind of always knew.” His first record purchase was Keith Whitley’s L.A. to Miami, followed by the likes of Randy Travis, TracyLawrence and Brooks & Dunn. He sang so much around the house that he jokes his parents “blocked him out.” But as pubertyapproached, the young tenor found himself facing adversity for the first time. “I was singing all of Vince Gill’s stuff, and then my voicechanged,” Young laughs. “For about a year there, I thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m ruined. It’s the end of the world!’ And then I realized Icould sing Randy Travis songs. It worked out well.”
That’s something of an understatement for the Murfreesboro, TN native. Blessed with parents who encouraged his art,Young soon found his way into musical theater, jazz training, and six years of classical voice, which honed his emerging baritone intosomething truly special. In his early teens, Young convinced his mom to drive him into Nashville so he could sit in with bands and workwith local songwriters; by 16, he’d formed a band with some older guys from Middle Tennessee State University, and they startedplaying George Strait and Garth Brooks covers in whatever clubs would have them. “I was entirely too young to be playing in bars,”Young says. “I would have these big Xs in chunky black marker on my hands. I can’t imagine we were that good, but really, that wasme enjoying the heck out of what I did.”