What's Age Got To Do With It?
Interview With Country Artist Chris Young
Looking back through time in
country music, age has, at times, had nothing to
do with whether or not someone makes it in the
music biz. A few prime examples in country music
alone are Tanya Tucker and Lee Ann Rimes, both
who continued to do well after their initial
jumpstart. There have been some other cases.
One of the most memorable in my mind would be
pop queen of the moment in the 80s, Tiffany. If
you don't remember her and her mega-smash, "I
Think We're Alone Now," I think you should
consider yourself one of the lucky ones.
The defining element should always be talent, in
this writers opinion. It should not weigh on the
"cuteness" factor at all, because that will be
lost as the individual gets older and if there
is no real talent, the individual will get lost
on the rack and fade into obscurity. No one
wants that to happen, but it often does, as is
the case with a lot of child actors as well as
performers in all areas of entertainment. Talent
should be the only element measured when it
comes to performers and artists. As much as it
can be a benefit to some young wannabes, age
can also become a barricade to others who have
the real talent to become stars. That brings us
to the story at hand.
Chris Young may not be a name you have heard of,
at least not yet! This is one young man who is
ready to climb the ladder to super-star status.
Chris Young already excels in his craft and is
sure to be noticed by some powerful people soon,
but is that soon enough? Well, I would have to
say yes, but to keep an incredible talent down
simply because of their age is almost a sin.
Chris Young has a raw talent, a velvety baritone
voice that many other artists would love to
have, even just a portion of. A delivery that is
just as clean, and a budding songwriter with
more than just a pocketful of talent. Once you
hear Chris Young, you will not soon forget him,
the engaging style of pure country runs through
his entire being. If you are in the Nashville
area regularly, or live close by, chances are
you may have heard or seen Chris Young, but the
problem arises if you don't, the name may not
even ring a bell, but as I stated that will not
be the case for long.
I first heard of Chris Young last year, right
about the same time he released the CD A Little
At A Time, an eight song debut that far
surpassed that of other debuts last year.
Hearing Chris Young for the first time you would
swear you are listening to a seasoned veteran of
country music as he lays out his talent for all
who will listen. There is no way you would think
of a man in his later teenage years, not even a
little. The vocal styling and professionalism
rival that of many stars that have been around
the scene longer than Chris Young has been able
to pick up a guitar. I got the opportunity to
ask Chris a few questions, which I was honored
to do. I will be attending the CMA Music
Festival (formerly Fan Fair) and as I found
Chris would be there this year, I decided to take
full advantage of this opportunity to introduce
him to the fans that make their trek to Music
I am sure after reading this interview and
hearing some clips from his debut CD, you will
understand why I am so excited about this young
and extremely talented young artist. Chris Young
has a passion and energy in his music that
shines brilliantly through. I am sure you will
feel the same way about him, and if you are in
Nashville and you see the name Chris Young
advertised for any number of venues, including
the Bluebird Cafe, the Sutler, Tin Pan South,
Douglas Corner, The Hall of Fame Lounge among
others, the name will now have a meaning and you
will catch this rising star on his way up. Chris
Young has a passion for music, and the soul of
pure country is evident in every song that he
delivers to the listener. Traces of Trace Adkins
and Randy Travis are evident in the unique voice
of Chris Young. Enjoy the interview, and be sure
to check out some clips of Chris Young's music
following the Q & A.
Here is the result of the interview. Time to
find out what goes on in the life of Chris Young
and find out a bit more about who he is.
[Rikk's Reviews] Your voice is unique and pure country. I'm
sure some other aspiring singers would like to
know, what do you do to keep your voice in top
Chris Young I sing for at least four hours every single
day. Whether it be with the radio, for a
performance, during a songwriting session, or
just on my own for no reason, singing is such a
big part of my life that it would be almost
impossible for me to not do it.
[Rikk's Reviews] Chris, Can you tell me when it was you first
knew you wanted to be a country performer?
Chris Young The first time I really knew I wanted to
sing country is when I started seriously
performing other styles of music. I have a love
for country that is absent when I perform in
other genres. I went to New York last year as
part of the six-member Grammy Jazz Choir, and all
I could think about was that Trick Pony was in
the room (at the Grammy party) listening to me
sing JAZZ. It was almost painful to me. I like
singing all styles of music, but I love country.
[Rikk's Reviews] There are a lot of greats in country music
today and in the past, but I was wondering which
artists had the biggest impact on you or
influenced you most?
Chris Young Randy Travis, Doug Stone, and Marty Robbins
are artists that will always be known. They were
country without trying, and they have all
influenced me in different ways. However, if I
had to pick one, I would say Randy Travis. His
attitude toward life, his songwriting ability,
and his determination to be himself with his
music have all encouraged me in my own musical
endeavors. If that isn't influencing
someone, I don't know what is. Besides, the very
first song I ever learned (at the age of 2 -
LOL) was "Diggin' Up Bones." I very nearly drove
my mother crazy with it.
[Rikk's Reviews] What is one of the biggest hurdles you've
had to overcome so far in your young career?
Chris Young The fact that everyone keeps referring to my
age. I started singing publicly at the age of nine,
so I've spent as many years on stage as most
performers twice my age.
[Rikk's Reviews] For the record, A Little At A Time was one
of the best debuts I have heard in
You have a new CD coming this summer. Can you tell me a bit about
that, how it may differ and even if you used your songwriting talent to pen
more of the songs?
Chris Young I've spent a lot of time this past year
writing, so most of the songs on the upcoming CD
are songs that I've co-written. NSAI's (Nashville Songwriters Association International) theme "It
All Begins With a Song," hits the nail on the
head because this CD is a vehicle for releasing
some songs that hit home with me. There is a
song on there for my sister, one for my dad, and
one for my mom. I've also learned quite a bit
more about production in the last year, so I'm
hoping the sound quality of this release is even
better than the last one.
[Rikk's Reviews] CMA Music fest is coming up in June and you are
going to be there. Where could
fans and future fans alike expect to see you?
Chris Young I'll be in the Exhibit Hall every single
day! My booth number (at least right now) is No.
620 - please stop by and say hi if you can. I'll
be playing (inside the Exhibit Hall) on Friday,
June 11th, at noon in the acoustic corner.
I'll be in a songwriter round with some friends,
including Billy Hurst (www.BillyHurst.com) and
Tori Mason at the French Quarter in Nashville on
Friday night, June 11th, from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. On
Thursday, June 10, we're having a fan club party
and show at Two Doors Down on Demonbreum Street
in Nashville from 6- 8 p.m. There is no cover,
and we want everyone to come on down - it should
be in between the shows at the Coliseum and
Riverfront (so you won't miss anyone else). I
want to meet as many of you as possible this
year. If you need directions to any of the
places I've mentioned, please email us at
[Rikk's Reviews] If you could have one wish, one dream
performance, what would it be and who would it
Chris Young I wish that I had the chance to perform with
Marty Robbins. I have always admired his voice
and his songwriting, but it is his reputation
with and influence on my grandfather (who I look
up to) that makes him such a legend in my mind.
[Rikk's Reviews] I'm sure you've gotten the chance to share
the stage with some big names. Can you name some
Chris Young I've been lucky enough to sit around and
pick in songwriter rounds with The Wilkinsons,
and songwriters Jimmy Payne (Woman, Woman), and
Don Wayne (Country Bumpkin, Saginaw Michigan). I
also got to sit out on the patio at El Chico in
Nashville several times with Buddy Jewell before
he became the Nashville Star. I picked a little
with Darryl Worley and Daryl Singletary at a Fan
Fair party a couple of years ago (I actually
sang "Second Wind" while Darryl played it on my
guitar and sang the harmony for me), and there
have been a few other experiences like that, too.
As part of the Country Showdown contest several,
several years ago, we opened for Trace Adkins
and Kenny Rogers.
[Rikk's Reviews] Out of those, who was your favorite to perform with?
Chris Young Jimmy Payne, without a doubt. He is one of
the nicest people I know, a hugely talented
songwriter ("Woman, Woman" is one of my favorite
songs), and a great friend. Don Wayne, a friend
of my grandfather's, runs a close second.
[Rikk's Reviews] I've already asked who some of your
influences were. Country music today has such a
wide selection of artists and styles. Who are a
few of your favorite
new stars (excluding yourself)?
Chris Young Craig Morgan, Josh Turner, Billy Currington, and Gretchen Wilson.
[Rikk's Reviews] If you could predict - I know it's hard to
do - but where would you like to be
in your career in one year, and then think a little harder, in 5 years time?
Chris Young In one year, I would like to be much more at
home with my skills as a songwriter and a guitar
player. Most of all, I would like to have a
major label contract in the works, but that can
wait if it needs to. In five years, I hope to be
touring with my own band and have a release with
some national airplay.
[Rikk's Reviews] Is there anything that I haven't covered that you would like to add?
Chris Young To all those out there who believe in me
(and to those who don't), I will be a part of
music until the day I die. Music is my love and
my art form, and I am luckily one of the few
that sees both sides. That being said, there is
a lot to learn in this business about everything
that is in addition to the music, and I
understand that. However, if I have to play down
on Second Avenue with a bucket just so I can
have a career in music, then I will see you
[Rikk's Reviews] Chris, take this time and say your thank
yous to a few that have been major benefits to
you and your music career.
Chris Young There are so many people that I need to
thank, but a few of them are: Dan Bobbitt, Kerry
Ford, Jeff Pearson, Jimmy Payne, Byron & Missy
Gallimore, Keith Sensing, Scott Neubert, The
NFAA (arts foundation), Bill Banks, John Henry,
Larry Wayne Clark, My Parents, My sister, Terri
Thompson, all the members of my fan club
(especially the fans I share with Trace Adkins
who are my adopted "aunts"), and everyone else
who has played a part in encouraging my career
in music. Also, a very special thank you goes
out to James Campbell, his friends and family.
James was one of my co-writers as well as a good
friend, and he recently passed away from
cancer. He encouraged me during a time when it
was sorely needed, and he is someone who will be
truly missed. And thank you to all those out
there who have heard and liked the CD, and
thankfully, like yourself, are willing to tell
others about it.
I'd like to thank Chris Young for taking the
time to answer my questions. Be sure to check
out Chris Young's website. If you're ever in
Nashville, for now at least, make sure to catch
a Chris Young performance if you can. A young
artist that knows what he wants, and with a
level head on his shoulders, I am sure the sky
is the limit for this talented newcomer.
In my ongoing effort to introduce you to new
artists, and new music, be sure to keep checking
Rikks Revues for other new artists and their
music. I'll do the work of finding them; all you
have to do is buy the music. As always, remember
that the biggest compliment you can pay an artist is
to buy their work. Support the music you love!
To answer the question asked in the beginning,
age has nothing to do with the talent flowing
through Chris Young. A rising star to keep your
eyes and ears open for in the future.
Sample clips in streaming audio. Formatted for
Windows Media player, they will also play in the
latest version of RealPlayer 10 (Get
RealPlayer) (Get Windows Media Player) Clips
1-3 are available on A Little At A Time.
"Where Would I Be" will be on the new CD,
currently available only by joining the Chris
Young Fan Club.
"Where Would I Be?" Sound clip
www.rikksrevues.com/Where Would I Be