Last updated: July 17. 2013 1:22PM - 518 Views

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Rachel Dove-Baldwin

Staff Writer

PIKEVILLE, Ky. - After several years of pounding the pavement, pitching his songs and singing for his supper in bars and honky-tonks across the U.S, country music star Chris Young has made it to the big stage, and the second stop on his “Neon Lights” tour will be tomorrow night at the East Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville, Ky.

In an exclusive interview with the Williamson Daily News, the young artist who has already became a crowd favorite, said that he is very excited about traveling to Pikeville and hopes that everyone comes out to attend the performance. Opening up for Young will be artists Thomas Rhett and JoAnne Smith, with the first act scheduled to take the stage at 7 p.m.

Accomplishments that have been achieved thus far in Young’s career include having 5 consecutive number 1 singles on country radio including mega-hits, “The Man I Want to Be”, “Tomorrow”, “Voices”, “You” and “Neon”. His new single “I Can Take it From Here” was written by the artist, with assistance from Rhett Atkins and Ben Hayslip. Young’s highly acclaimed third album, NEON, debuted at number 4 on the “Billboard Top 200” chart, with sales advancing on a half-million copies. Seven of the 10 songs on the album were written or co-wrote by Young.

Young has made recent national television appearances on The Ellen Degeneres Show, The Talk, Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the Fox & Friends Summer Concert, and on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, in addition to awards show performances on the American Country Music Awards and the Country Music Awards.

Prior to headlining his own tour that kicked off last night in Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium, Young spent much of his last year out on the road, performing on Jason Aldean and Miranda Lambert’s “My Kinda Party” tour.

Young was nominated in the prestigious Male Vocalist and Single Record of the Year categories at this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards”, for his single “Tomorrow” this year. He walked away with the Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Single of the Year awards at the American Country Awards in 2011, and was also nominated for New Artist of the Year. He received his first Grammy Award nomination in 2011, as he was recognized for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his number 1 smash, “Getting’ You Home”. The song was Young’s first chart-topper and also became his first RIAA-certified Digital Single. The hit “The Man I Want to Be” is certified GOLD and produced three back-to-back #1 singles with the track making a 3 week run at the top.

When an artist looks back on his or her own career, there are always moments he or she can point to where there was a shift to another level. Those defining moments tend to be easy to spot with the benefit of hindsight but more difficult to see without the passage of time. Chris Young has a sense that something is definitely happening.

“I really do believe in timing,” said Young. “Everybody has a different point in their career when things start to come together and click, when it’s your time.”

With the release of his third studio album, NEON, Young leaves no doubt in anyone’s mind that now – is his time.

While all the sales numbers, accolades and awards are certainly appreciated, what Young loves most about this time in his life is that he can make a living doing what he loves most.

“Music is why I’m here and it’s something I can’t live without,” Young remarked during his interview. “This is what I was born to do.”

That thrill of entertaining too hold of Young at an early age, and he says his first moments on stage involved acting in school plays, but it wasn’t long before he realized that he wanted to showcase a different talent in the spotlight.

“I love to sing,” said Young. “I was the kid in high school who lived and breathed music every moment of every day.”

Totally focused on making his passion a career, Young was playing 150 dates a year by the time he went off to college to major in music. While dead serious about the subject of his educational studies, he soon felt the need to get a different kind of higher education.

“I did all the things all parents hate to hear their child plans to do,” said Young with a laugh. “I dropped out of college and started making music full-time. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that music is what drives me and I did what I had to do to succeed.”

The honky-tonk school of hard knocks, including a PhD level class fronting a 7 member band on a run through Texas, along with countless hours honing his craft at writers nights in Nashville eventually paid off as Young was signed to a record deal with RCA.

When asked to name his favorite song that he personally wrote before recording, Young laughed and stated “Man…that’s like asking a parent to pick their favorite child!”

Young told the Daily News that while in the process of writing “Tomorrow”, he knew that this song would be a hit.

“Every hair on my head was standing up,” said Young. “It just flowed…I knew that I had a heck of a song. So if I had to choose, this would be the one.”

Young invites everyone to come out and spend tomorrow evening being entertained by him and those headlining his tour.

“I’ve heard some awesome reports about my fans in eastern Ky. and Southern WV, and I trust that I won’t let them down,” concluded the artist. “We’re going to give Pikeville something to talk about!”

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster or at the box office of the Expo Center.

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