Brett Young never planned on being a singer. The California native originally planned on being a professional baseball player, when an injury derailed those plans. But it was music that he kept gravitating towards, thanks to the early influence of singer Gavin DeGraw. But when doors seemed to keep shutting for Young, and he faced setback after setback, he might have chosen another career, if not for the advice DeGraw gave him that changed Young's entire life.
“It’s probably the same for everybody," acknowledged Young. "It’s a long grind and a lot of it is super thankless and you’re gonna be faced with a decision at some point, because it seems like you should probably go do something else because it hasn’t happened yet. I forget exactly how he worded it but Gavin said something to me years ago and it was something like, ‘If you can be happy doing anything besides music, then do anything besides music. But if that’s the only thing that’ll make you happy, then that’s your dream and don’t let anybody tell you how long it should take, or what it should look like.
"I think the hardest thing for me was – and it happened multiple times – when it feels like maybe it’s time to like, ‘All right, that was fun. I tried.’ And I have a ton of those moments and I think those were the hardest moments because you feel like you’re being selfish or irresponsible to keep pressing on, even though that was what you were supposed to do. And so, I think kind of reconciling that conflict has been the hardest thing for me. Thank God it worked out. I moved to Nashville to actually walk away from the artist side and focus on the writing side. I always say if you want to make God laugh tell Him your plans.”
All of Young's risks have clearly paid off, and then some. All four songs from Young's self-titled freshman album landed at the top of the charts, with "Here Tonight," the debut single from his sophomore Ticket to L.A. album already in the Top 20, and still climbing. But one of his favorite songs from his recent record is his collaboration with DeGraw.
"Anybody that’s followed my career to this point and read interviews, they’ve seen and heard that I have a huge admiration for Gavin DeGraw," Young said. "His first record and his career has had a lot to do with me wanting to pursue this as a career and do this for a living. We’ve been friends for years now, but this is the first time that I’ve gotten the opportunity to get into a room and write a song with him and it turned out to be one that was kind of the perfect collaboration to also have him sing on.
"And so there is a song on this record called 'Chapters' that I not only co-wrote with Gavin DeGraw and our friend Ross Copperman, but that we also got to feature Gavin playing and singing on," continued Young. "So it’s really special to me and I think it’s something a little different and really cool for the fans that might not only listen to country music but crossover and have been a fan of Gavin for a long time the way that I have.”
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Photo Credit: Getty images/Frazer Harrison