Interview: Chris Young Talks Taking Risks, Evolving With ‘I’m Comin’ Over’
Chris Young took plenty of risks on his upcoming, long-awaited new album, I'm Comin' Over. Still, the 30-year-old, who co-produced for the first time, says he feels more confident about his latest record than he has about any other project -- which is why he even offered to pay for it himself.
"By the time we got into the process of doing it, I said, ‘Here’s the deal: I’m doing something really different.' I’m going out on a limb, saying me and Corey [Crowder] are going to produce this instead of a normal way of doing things; we’re going to do it with a younger group of guys in the studio; we’re going to do the pre-production," Young recalls to The Boot of his early conversations about I'm Comin' Over with Sony, his record label. "We’re just going to go in and cut the first half of the record, and I’m going to pay for it, and if we play it for everybody at the label and they don’t like it, then I guess I’ll just eat that.
"I never was really worried about it. Honestly, from the first song we recorded, I was like, ‘Okay, this is going to be cool,'" he continues. "Everybody came in. I played three songs, and they went, ‘Yep. Finish the record.’
"It was very cool. It was cool to see my label support me like that, too," Young adds. "I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I knew that was how I wanted to make this record. I knew that we could do it and make it really, really cool and really special."
If the response to the disc's debut single, which is the title track, is any indication, then Young has nothing to fear. The sexy song has already been certified gold, for sales of half a million units.
"We ended up selling 70,000-plus the first week. It’s an amazing number, which was really, really fun for me," Young recalls. "I had made this record I was so excited about, and it was the first single off the new record.
"I want people to love the new music, too," he continues. "I can talk all I want about it being an evolution in my sound, and I think we did the right things in the studio, blah, blah, blah, but if people don’t like it and want to buy it, it doesn’t really matter."
The new album is Young's first since A.M. was released in 2013. The Tennessee native says that I'm Comin' Over will have some similarities to A.M. but also shows his growth as an artist.
"I think I’m Comin' Over sonically is a good bridge between what we did on the last record," Young says. "Most people, if you go to a studio session in Nashville, they take two-, three-hour sessions in one day and try to do three songs. We did one song a session. Even if we didn’t need all the time, we were like, ‘Man, let’s take it. Let’s play around. Let’s do some different stuff.’
"I think the time shows," he adds. "It wasn’t a time crunch to get these songs done. We wanted to make each song what it was supposed to be. I think people are going to be able to tell that."
"I grew up loving Vince Gill," Young says. "That guy sounds just like his record -- or better than his record. I’ve always been such a fan. I asked him to do it. He was like, ‘Come over to my house.’ So I got to sit in Vince Gill’s studio and hang out with him. It was a great day."
Young says that out of all of his albums, he is the most satisfied with the way I'm Comin' Over turned out.
"Truly, I think the best part about this record [is], the stuff that we changed just kind of happened naturally. It wasn’t change for the sake of change. It was, ‘I feel like we need to go do this here on this song, even though it’s not what I normally would do,’ or, ‘I know we cut 14 tracks, but we only need eight,'" he muses. "It was very much a fun project to do. There was never a point in the project where I thought we were missing something or we needed something else. That’s happened in records before -- records that have ended up being some of my favorites. But this one just seemed really, really easy and a lot of fun.
"I’ve been lucky enough to have four records that worked and that have had songs that people love off of them," Young concludes. "Yes, you want to evolve. But as much as you want to bring in new fans, you want to take everyone that has been following you for the past 10 years of being an artist at RCA, I want to bring them with us, too. I want them to love the new music, too, even if it’s a little different."
From the anthemic "Underdogs" to the tender "What If I Stay" and the positive "Sunshine Overtime," Young says that he has never been more passionate about his music.
"I’m in a really good place," he concedes. "I don’t need any prodding to talk about this record. I think when people hear it, they’re going to love it, too. I’m ready for it to be out there already."
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