London, England – March 18, 2014 – This weekend Chris Young was part of the artists starring at the Country 2 Country festival at London’s O2 arena. We are happy that he took the time out of his busy schedule to talk about the festival, his upcoming Scandinavian shows and songwriting.
Hi Chris, thanks for sitting down and talking to us for a bit after your show.
How has London been treating you?
It’s been pretty crazy. I came in late as we got stuck in traffic and ever since I got in all the activities have just been continuous.
Is your tape running yet? So I can’t say anything dumb again? ……Would you like some scotch? One of the guys from the label out here got me a bottle of 25 year old scotch. Which is pretty cool.
And by the looks of things, you’ve already started it.
No actually that’s my band and Sony. They were like, well if it’s a gift I might as well try it. And I was like: “Guys, I have stuff to do, I can’t drink until I’m done”.
One of my crew guys’ birthday was last night in Dublin and they all wanted to go out. But I told them: No, I’m going to sleep. I love you, happy birthday”. We had to get up at 6 o’clock.
What did you think about the Country 2 Country festival?
It’s amazing! I can’t believe this was just the second year. I was really excited to come out and I hear that they’ve already announced the dates for next year. I got to play here in London last year with the CMA songwriters series and we played acoustic. It’s a lot different from playing acoustic in a hall with 200 to 300 people to playing the O2 arena with 10.000 people. It’s a really great size. I’d never been inside the building before so this was my first time actually being inside the O2.
How do the European country music fans compare to the US fans?
Well….they don’t know my stuff yet. I’m trying to educate everybody on what I do. But here’s the thing that I learned from my last trip to Europe. People were already coming over and asking for song titles and I was like: “How do you all know this stuff?” They hear I’m coming over and they looked me up, checked social media and had a look on YouTube. And that’s really exciting. Because, when I was looking out tonight I could see people singing along to songs. Which is amazing to me. We were playing “Tomorrow” and there’s people putting their lights up and moving them back and forth. People don’t do that unless they’re in to something. In fact Brad Paisley told me this, which is funny, the old Brad Paisley giving some advice….oh he would love it if I said that….but he said: “You can never make a crowd do something they don’t wanna do”. He was talking about trying to get them to swing and sing along. If they’re not into it, they’re not gonna do it. And the crowd was really great to me tonight. Especially as it was my first time here with a band.
You and Brad are off to Scandinavia next?
We go to Oslo, Stavanger, Gothenburg and Stockholm and these are all places that he’s played before. We’ve been out with Brad all year, opening the show for him. He’s really one of the nicest guys I’ve been around. Not just as a musician but as a person. And he could’ve taken anyone local to have come and open up for him at these shows and the fact that he’s taking us out there with him is really really cool. Especially because, like I said, I haven’t played there before. Not like I would help him sell any tickets but he wanted to bring an act that he could introduce people to and it’s really really cool that he’s doing that for me and my band. So we’re definitely gonna enjoy it and have a lot of fun.
And maybe do mainland Europe next time?
Oh trust me, the funniest thing has been to see the amount of people that come out to these shows and ask me to come to their country. And I’m telling you, I definitely want to and it’s just a matter of making it work and it’s something to definitely think about. And I’d say, that’s a sign of a pretty good trip.
The setlist tonight also included songs from your recently released album A.M.
Yeah I really wanted to have a mix of my US hits, a cover song and “Lonely Eyes” as that song has been picked up by BBC radio. I really wanted that to be my focus because the new record is the one that’s easier to find out here. It has been released here. So it’s easier to find then any of my first three records. It’s my current music and hope people enjoyed it.
How about songwriting? Are you the kind that has to write constantly? Even when on the road?
Yes I write constantly. I don’t write a lot on the road but write a lot whenever I’m home. I’m the kinda person that pretty much writes all the time, even when I’ve just finished a record. You never know when you will write the biggest hit of your life. So my philosophy is that any day that I have free I might as well write a song.
But not writing on the road when getting different influences?
I’ve tried writing on the road but I find it hard to focus because there’s so much other stuff going on. A busy day like today is not normal but it’s hard to find time between interviews, meet & greets, soundcheck and getting ready. There are just so many distractions when out on the road. So I tend to write more at home.