Chris Young: ‘I Got Everything I Wanted’ on ‘It Must Be Christmas’
Christmas came early for Chris Young (and his fans) this year. The singer's first-ever Christmas album, It Must Be Christmas, is now available, and filled with beloved classes as well as a couple of original tunes. Young says that the holiday CD was the perfect way for him to celebrate his favorite season.
"I love Christmas. All of my friends, really anybody that I know, they know that Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. There’s a reason that that’s about the only time of the year that I won’t tour," Young told The Boot and other reporters at a pre-release party for It Must Be Christmas. "I’ve just always loved, not only that time of year, not only the spirit, not only the decorations and everything that goes along with it, but I love it enough that I’ve annoyed people during July, August, September and now October with Christmas music."
Some of Young's earliest Christmas memories revolve around Alan Jackson's 1993 Christmas album, Honky Tonk Christmas -- "If it didn't play, it wasn't Christmas at our house," Young says -- so the artist tapped Jackson to help out with one of It Must Be Christmas' songs, a cover of "There's a New Kid in Town."
""There's a New Kid in Town" was on Alan’s record. I, from the get go, wanted to cut this. Everybody knows that I’m a Keith Whitley fan; I’m also an Alan Jackson fan. It’s a Keith Whitley co-written song that Alan did with Keith, where they trade off," Young recalls. "I said, ‘Man, if I could just get Alan Jackson to sing on this, I’m going to have him sing where Keith sang, and I’ll sing where he sang, and it will be like one of the most perfect things of all time, for me.'
"And for whatever reason, he agreed to do it," Young adds. "So, so glad he did that."
Young also asked Brad Paisley to join him on "The First Noel" -- although, thankfully, Paisley didn't do exactly what was asked of him. Young told Paisley to simply sing the melody on certain sections of the Christmas classic, but Paisley ended up doing much more than what Young requested.
"It was the first project I’ve ever done where all of the things that were duets with people were sent off, and they came back," Young explains. "So we got a message back from [Paisley's studio engineer, Kendall], and he was like, ‘Hey, Brad took some liberties.’ And by 'Brad took some liberties,' he means Brad had stacked four different, bad-a-- harmony parts and played all these amazing guitar parts underneath. And he was like, ‘Is this good? I don’t know if this is good. Do you like it?’"
In addition to Jackson and Paisley, R&B group Boyz II Men sing "Silent Night" with Young on It Must Be Christmas. Putting together that track stirred up some fond childhood memories for the country star.
"Growing up, I used to stand at the mirror and sing a lot of things, one of those being Boyz II Men songs, which sounds really weird because I was singing them to myself," Young says with a laugh. "I was trying to figure out the vocal runs they do. Being able to have them on this record … It’s so cool that we got them on this project.
"And really," Young admits, "I got everything I wanted on this record."
The 31-year-old, who has released five studio albums so far, says that making It Must Be Christmas was a dream come true.
"I could not be more proud of making an album like this. I put as much time into this album as I have anything else I’ve ever done, and that’s saying a lot," Young confesses. "This whole album, top to bottom, really has my heart in it … This is something that I’m so proud to be a part of."
To help celebrate the Christmas season, Young is teaming up with Toys for Tots, which helps disadvantaged children receive toys for the holidays. Donations will be collected at all of the shows, from Nov. 17 through Dec. 10, on his I'm Comin' Over Tour.
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