Chris Young is on fire and that’s not just because he’s on the Miranda Lambert tour of the same name. Young’s 2011 release Neon debuted at No. 4 and his last five singles have gone to No. 1 at country radio while “Tomorrow,” “Voices,” and “You” were certified Gold.
Just before hosting a recent online chat with hundreds of his fans, during which he debuted his video for “Neon,” the multi-award winner took time to talk a bit about his music, radio requests, and just how fans show their enthusiasm for his music.
OS: This has been quite a year or so for you. Looking at everything, all the songs, all the awards, what has been the best thing so far?
CS: Well, when you are booking [concerts] a year out, that’s really nice! I remember a time when we weren’t even booking weeks out.
CY: We have been out with her since January and it has been unreal! She is a sweetheart and one of the best people to tour with. Everything is “what is mine is yours.”
OS: So what does that allow you to do on stage?
CY: I love to mess with our intros and [the ends of songs] and do covers, and sometimes do a song in a show that is really broken down, have the drummer kick down the brushes and pull the acoustics out and kind of mess with some of our songs.
OS: Is it difficult to choose the songs for your sets?
CY: You always have to have it in the back of your mind that ballads wont’ do much for a live show. As much as I just said that, ‘Tomorrow” is one of the songs that gets the biggest reaction at our shows. But you have to be able to think in terms of you have this up-tempo party song with a straight-ahead country vibe. It’s always fun to watch people sing those live, and it’s not always the line you expect them to sing. Like on “Get You Home,” everyone loves to scream in the middle of the chorus. It’s fun to watch that and think about what is coming down.
OS: How do you choose covers to add to your set?
CY: I try to toe the line a little bit more. If you had asked me the same question three or four years ago, I would have said I like something everyone is familiar with. At the same time, everyone and their mothers have covered [The Georgia Satellite’s song] “Keep Your Hands to Yourself.” I have been guilty of playing it myself, at festivals. I’ve been trying to stretch out a little more with covers, as much as a point this is a song you all know. And that it has meaning to you, too. I love doing [ZZ Top’s] “Sharp Dressed Man’ and then Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed Delivered.”
OS: That’s a fun song!
CY: It is a fun song and lot of fun to sing and a lot of fun to play. It’s not very long. I like trying to do stuff like that; trying to do stuff that is cool, that maybe a lot of people are going to know. I like reminding them about the song. It’s fun to start playing and look out and see someone realizes what you are playing and then they start freaking out!
OS: Your fans definitely seem to be very excited about all of your music!
CY: One of the coolest things is seeing fans get genuinely excited. I guess this happens every time an artist puts a single out. It gets to a point that I’m not even saying “Hey, the single is out!” I know people call [radio stations] and request my songs. Hey, I’ve called and requested my own songs!
OS: That can’t be true!
CY: I absolutely called and requested my own song! I would be driving around Nashville and thinking, “Maybe I can hear my song! I’ll call!” There are these moments for me on Facebook and Twitter and when I am checking my phone where it’s fun to see how excited fans are about my music. They are as excited as I am and that’s great.
OS: How else do they show their excitement?
CY: Crazy stuff [laughs].
OS: Such as?
CY: I think in the past month I had someone slingshot a thong on stage from the pit. And I’ve had a lot of bras thrown on stage.
OS: So what’s next with your music?
CY: Well the “Neon” video was just released and I’m sure there will be more [singles] from this album. I have no idea which. It’s fun and we are just enjoying this album and working on the next one. And we are booking [shows into] next year!
Find out more about Chris Young, his music, and his tour dates on his website.
Watch Chris Young’s video for “Neon:”