OFFSTAGE: Chris Young’s Songs Start With a Hook

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

The first song Chris Young ever wrote was called “She’s the One.” You probably never heard it because it’s from 1999. Young was only 14 when he wrote it. But last week, he told me all about it and the inspiration behind it. “It was that George Jones style, where you think it’s about a girl. But by the time you get to the end, you realize it’s really about a car,” he said. “I wrote it before I could even drive, because when you’re 14, that’s all you want to do is to be able to drive. That’s all that was on my mind.” It sounds like a great tune, but Young said looking back on it, it was awful. But he has obviously honed his songwriting craft since. Young co-wrote seven of the songs on his current album Neon, two of which were No. 1 singles. So how does he start the songwriting process now that he’s making a living at it? “Usually, I like to work off a hook. So more than 50 percent of the time, I’m a lyric guy first,” Young said.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.