He takes the stage with a black cowboy hat and his baritone love ballads — the perfect songs for a good country concert sway.
Chris Young, most famous for his single “Tomorrow,” is a Southern boy from just outside of Nashville, Tenn. He’s built his way up from hometown theater productions to certified country music classics, and Sunday, he will perform at the Carolina Coliseum.
Young grew up in Murfreesboro, Tenn., just outside the shining stage lights of Music Row. He performed in community theater productions and sang in his high school’s choir before stumbling into a singing career.
The genre, however, was a clear choice.
“Obviously, growing up listening to country. I never wanted to do anything else,” Young said in an interview with The Daily Gamecock.
The 27-year-old country crooner made his official industry debut in 2006 with a self-titled album. He didn’t get any singles off the first record, but his second album, 2009’s “The Man I Want to Be,” started to see some radio time, Young said.
“I’ve kind of had a weird path and more of a really slow climb, which is awesome for me,” Young said. “I love it.”
He knew it was his time, though, with album No. 3: 2011’s “Neon.”
It contains his most successful single yet, “Tomorrow,” a song Young calls one of his favorites — definitely the most important of his career.
Young is the principle writer for “Tomorrow,” as well as seven of the 10 tracks on “Neon.” He said growing up in Nashville, it was easy to find “really, really great people to write with.”
“It’s different for everybody; everybody has their own groups of people that they like to write with,” Young said. “For me, I’ve kind of just shaped it over the years.”
He’s adopted new writing styles since his first album, and when he writes a song, most of the time he starts in an unusual spot: the title.
“It’s really an open process to me and something I love doing,” Young said.
In conversation, you can tell Young is a “good ol’ boy” and well-connected on the tight-knit country stage. He made a cameo appearance on ABC’s “Nashville” with Brantley Gilbert — “We just got to be ourselves,” Young said — and soaked in a little fresh talent from a Music Row mainstay.
Young used to go see Blake Shelton, who’s just nine years older than the “You” singer, in Nashville “before he actually broke.”
“Yeah, man, when I was a kid I used to watch all the time,” Young recounted from a few conversations with Shelton. “He thinks that’s real funny when I say that.”
But there’s one artist in particular Young would like to add to his songwriting circle: Brad Paisley. And, luckily, Young’s heading out on tour with the “Camouflage” singer this summer.
“I may try and corner him while we’re out on that tour,” Young said.
Young will perform at the Coliseum in a free Carolina Productions appearance this weekend, and if he has a little free time, he might be able to reconnect with some old South Carolina friends.
“I’m really good friends with — this is going to sound really random — a lot of the law enforcement in South Carolina,” Young said.
He did a concert for them awhile back and got his first police escort.
“But it was to their show, so,” Young said.
Looking sharp in a black cowboy hat and boots, Young flashes a blinding smile. It’s not hard to see why he received the honor of
“Sexy Man of the Week” from People magazine in November.
His beauty secrets are quite simple — a laughable matter for Young.
“Stay up late and wake up at noon.”