Interview: Chris Young’s Got Range on ‘Losing Sleep’
Chris Young, whose new album, Losing Sleep, drops on Friday (Oct. 20), isn't afraid to take chances, to go against the mold or to explore new territory, as an artist and as a songwriter. From its rock songs to its party songs to a sobering ballad, Losing Sleep features 10 songs all co-written and co-produced by Young, who seems to be scared of only one thing: staying stagnant.
"I would say this record has the most breadth of anything I’ve done," Young tells The Boot. "The range of this record, from start to finish, you’ve got a little bit of everything. You’ve got a song, "Losing Sleep," that is probably the most pop track that I’ve ever had my vocal on, and it is a sexy song, which, I think if I didn’t do at least one on every record, something would be weird. You’ve got a song, "Blacked Out," which is actually the end of the record, and is very stripped, very acoustic guitar-driven -- a lot of space in the track, and a sad song. You’ve got a song like "Holiday," that we wrote in Florida and is a summer vibe all the way through.
"So there’s just a lot of different notes that I hit on this record," Young adds, "not only production wise but also topically."
Young and his co-producer Corey Crowder, who together produced both Young's previous album I'm Comin' Over and his 2016 holiday project, It Must Be Christmas, found a steady rhythm working together. The end result was more freedom, both in song selection and sonically.
"I think the biggest thing that puts me at ease is, now, at this point, we kind of know how we work in the studio," Young shares. "We know we work well in the studio, and everything is just a huge comfort factor. It’s just really relaxed in there, and that seems to be when it’s easiest for me to be creative. So I'm actually able to maintain who I am and a sense of self, but also experiment a little bit."
A songwriter as much as he is an artist, Young began writing right after he finished I'm Comin' Over in 2015, unaware that he was actually already preparing for what would become Losing Sleep. But if not for a chance rain delay, Losing Sleep might not have seen the light of day -- at least not yet: When stormy weather caused Young, along with the head of his record label, Randy Goodman, to take shelter on Young's bus when he was supposed to be headlining the Country Thunder festival, plans quickly fell in place for Young to begin working on the record.
"I played [Goodman] six songs, and he goes, ‘Dude, are these finished?’ I go, ‘No, these are demos.’ He said, ‘You need to start cutting your next record. I love these.’ I was like, ‘I love them, too. I’m glad you like them, too. I guess it’s time to make a record,’" Young recounts. "Everything with this entire album, as much as we did experiment and do some stuff that’s different, it felt just really relaxed. I know the word ‘organic’ is over-used, but that’s how it felt."
Young originally planned to put at least a few songs by other writers on Losing Sleep; however, when he, along with Goodman and the rest of his team, realized Young had enough great songs on his own, they had no need to look elsewhere.
"That was accidental that every song on this album I co-wrote," Young explains. "It wasn’t something that I set out to do at the beginning. And, actually, I think that would have put more stress on me than anything. If I had gone, ‘I’m going to co-write everything on this record,’ I would have felt that anxiety of having to do that. Because it just naturally happened this way, it was really, really cool. That was one of the reasons we knew it was time to make a record."
Losing Sleep's debut single, which is its title track, is a bit of a departure for Young, but, he cautions the album is varied enough that there is something for everyone to enjoy.
"I knew there were going to be people that weren’t as much of a fan of "Losing Sleep" because it is the most pop-leaning track that I’ve done," says Young. "To them, I would say, there’s other stuff on the record that you could drop on my first album. I think you could pick out a song like "Blacked Out" and put that on any record that I’ve made.
"But you constantly do have to not only cut whatever you love in the moment, and what you do feel, but you do have to test yourself as an artist. I think you have to do that," Young continues. "Otherwise, you make the same record over and over."
Young will have plenty of chances to perform songs from Losing Sleep live in 2018: The Tennessee native recently announced that he will be headlining his own Losing Sleep Tour in 2018, with Kane Brown and Lanco serving as his opening acts.
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