On the heels of Chris Young’s fourth consecutive No. 1 single, “Tomorrow,” a tune that unforgettably dripped with sexuality and regret, the singer-songwriter returns with a lighter, buoyant tune, “You.”
Co-writing it with Luke Laird (“Last Name,” “So Small,” “Temporary Home” ), their collaborative effort is currently featured on Young’s newest album, Neon. He says it’s one of his favorite tracks on the album.
“To me, this song is one that if you’ve heard it the first time, you’re humming it,” he smiled. “I hope it gets stuck in people’s heads when they hear it.”
For the lighthearted music video, Young worked with video director Chris Hicky, who also supervised his “The Man I Want to Be” video. In fact, they even chose the same location to bring the song to life — Watertown, Tenn. The black-and-white video, interspersed with flares of color, tells the story of a hunky gas station attendant, of course played by Young, and his admiring lady friends who find reasons to seek his assistance.
The smiling singer recently sat down with CMT.com to talk about the “fun and groovy” tune and chat about his music video premiering as part of CMT’s fifth Big New Music Weekend that kicked off Friday (Oct. 14) and runs throughout the weekend.
As part of Big New Music Weekend, “You” is featured alongside eight other new and exclusive videos including the Zac Brown Band’s “Keep Me in Mind,” Luke Bryan’s “If You Ain’t Here to Party,” Tony Bennett and Faith Hill’s “The Way You Look Tonight,” Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup,” Justin Moore’s “Bait a Hook,” Kevin Fowler’s “That Girl” and CMT’s Next Big Thing artist Casey James’ “Let’s Don’t Call It a Night.”
“First time I’ve ever been a part of a Big New Music Weekend,” Young said grinning throughout the interview. “It’s nice. I’m excited. I’m going to make my band watch my video,” he laughed.
CMT: You worked with video director Chris Hicky for “You.” He also directed your “The Man I Want to Be” video. What’s it like working with him?
Young: The funny thing is the amount of parallels between the last time I worked with him and this video. Since we did that video, everything we’ve put out has gone No. 1 and then we’ve got this new song. We shot the videos in the exact same spot. It’s in Watertown, Tenn., and there’s a lot of videos shot out there, but we actually used the same building that we shot in front of at the beginning of “The Man I Want to Be” for this whole video. It’s really cool because they don’t look alike. If you watch the video, you’re not going to go, “Oh, that looks just like the other one.” So it’s cool how they used props and everything to change it around. Obviously, I love the way he shoots. One of the things he’s so great about is he knows when he has a shot. He’s not one of those guys going, “I think we got it, but let’s do two more [takes] just to be safe.” Once he sees it and he knows he’s got it, he moves on.
“You” has a really laid-back and cool vibe about it. What were you trying to capture when you went to shoot the video?
Obviously, this is a happy song. I mean, we’re not trying to do anything as serious as we did when we did “Tomorrow,” so it’s, in a way, kind of the antithesis of that — whereas that last one was so serious and so dramatic. This one’s kind of fun, and I think part of the look that he really achieved with this video is it’s the first time we ever shot in black and white and then being able to kind of infuse a little bit of color where we did all the cars are in color and the accessories on the girls are in the color of their car. We thought about that in advance and decided to do that, and I love how it turned out. It’s gonna look a lot different when somebody sees it. They’re gonna know what it is. They’re not gonna go, “Oh, what video is this?” They’re gonna immediately know. That’s something else we wanted to do. I wanted to make it stand out.
How long did it take you to shoot it?
We shot everything in one day. It actually wasn’t one of those days where we went until 1 in the morning because everything is shot during the day. We started shooting really early. It was the first video I’ve ever gotten to bring my bus in for, so I rode to Watertown on my bus the night before, slept on the bus and they woke me up at like 8 in the morning. I had all my stuff there, watched a little Sports Center, had some coffee and went out and shot the video.
Sounds like a pretty good day.
It was, actually. Videos to me are not the thing I’m most comfortable with. I love doing them, but it’s such a long day, and you get tired. Or if you don’t eat throughout the day, you get worn down or maybe you’re just doing the same shot over and over and over before you finally get it. This one was a lot of fun because it was so easy. It was so smooth.
You wrote “You” with co-writer Luke Laird. Was this the first time you both had written together? Tell me about the song-writing process.
This is the only song we’ve ever written together. It was really good, actually. It was really comfortable. This is one of the few songs I’ve ever written where we didn’t have a hook. We just kind of started from the beginning with a little melody and started writing, and we’re like, “Hopefully, this will turn into something.” And it did. It really kind of wrote itself. It was so great writing this with him. We’ve obviously set up stuff since then, and we’re going to get together and write some more. The first time you write with somebody and it not only makes it on the record, but it’s the second single, it’s not too bad.