Chris Young Fans Help Him Celebrate Birthday, No. 1 Hit
Chris Young fans had a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes with the singer Thursday, as he celebrated his first multiple-week No. 1 single, 'The Man I Want to Be,' during CMA Music Fest in Nashville. Fans were invited to join Chris at what is usually a music-industry-only event, as he and songwriters Tim Nichols and Brett James were honored with plaques and certificates of appreciation from music publishers, performing rights organizations and Chris' record label, Sony Nashville.
Sony also surprised Chris with a plaque commemorating digital sales of his single, 'Gettin' You Home (The Black Dress Song),' noting that he's also closing in on a Gold record for sales of 500,000 of his sophomore disc, 'The Man I Want to Be.'
"This is a total surprise; I had no idea I was getting this," Chris said when the plaque was presented to him. "Thank you all; I never thought that I would be able to accomplish something like this."
The label also helped Chris celebrate his 25th birthday a few days early with cake and balloons, and fans were invited to sing 'Happy Birthday' to him prior to his blowing out the candles on the cake.
Chris did a brief performance, singing 'The Man I Want to Be' along with 'Geting You Home' and a couple of other tunes. He invited special guest Gene Watson to join him onstage to sing the Merle Haggard classic 'Mama Tried.' Gene congratulated Chris, then turned to the gathering of fans and said, "Of all the young new artists out there today, Chris is one that is real, and a lot of them are not."
The Murfreesboro, Tenn., native admitted to the crowd that he didn't want to listen to the song when it was first brought to him. "I thought I had recorded enough ballads, and I told everyone I wasn't going to cut another one. Then they brought me this song and I said no, I'm not going to listen. They told me they thought I ought to, and I was a little upset that they were insisting that I listen to it. I finally agreed, and once I heard it, I knew I had to cut it. I just fell in love with it on the spot."
Songwriter Tim Nichols recalled that from the time he turned the song into his publisher and they got it to Chris and it was recorded took about seven or eight hours, a time-frame that is almost unheard of for an artist to hear a song and record it.
For Chris, having his first multiple-week No. 1 song, and his second to top the charts, is a great honor. "I never thought I'd have two No. 1 records by the time I was 25," he told The Boot. "One of the things that it means to me is that I'll never be called a one-hit wonder. Down the road, when people ask me what I accomplished in my career, I can tell them I had back-to-back number ones. This is definitely a goal I had set for myself, so now I can move on to my next set of accomplishments."
The singer said he was thrilled to be able to share the celebration with his fans during CMA Music Fest. "When I was a teenager, I came to Fan Fair when it was at the fairgrounds, and I got to see some of my favorite singers there. I like the idea of offering that same experience for my fans because having the opportunity to meet some of my favorite artists, talk to them and get their autograph and picture, is something I'll never forget."