What 30 Means to Chris Young

"I Wouldn't Change Anything," He Says

Chris Young turned 30 last month. But on the very last day of his 20s — on June 11 — Young got one of the best gifts a guy could ask for: the news that his Neon album had been certified gold.

Young was in Chicago on Saturday (July 11) to perform at the Windy City Smokeout festival, and when we had a chance to catch up, he told me all about how he celebrated the end of his 20s and the beginning of his 30s.

“I turned 30 on June 12. And the day before my birthday, when I was still 29, I found out that my Neon album had gone gold. That makes it my second gold,” he told me. “And so the fact that I have two of those hanging on the wall in my house is such a cool milestone for me as an artist.”

How do you top that? What could he possibly have done on his actual birthday?

“That was the day that we turned in the new album,” Young said. And that new album, due out later this year, is the first one that Young co-produced. So that feeling of accomplishment was the perfect way to celebrate heading into his 30s.

Young’s been at this country music thing for a while. From his gig at the El Chico Mexican restaurant on Murfreesboro Pike in Nashville (where he told me he played for four hours a night for $100 plus tips and free food) to Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, to Nashville Star, to two gold records and a long list of hit songs, Young said he’s grateful for all those steps along the way.

“When all’s said and done, everything happens for a reason. Everything I’ve done has led me to where I am now,” Young said, “so I wouldn’t change anything.”

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