Growing up in Murfreesboro, Tenn., just south of Nashville, he acted and sang in local musical productions of West Side Story, Evita, Footloose and Les Miserables.
He even was in a production of The Nutcracker.
“Obviously, I think it’s a lot different going from something like that to doing a music video,” Young said earlier this week in a call.
“And actually, doing the videos is among the least favorite things I do,” he added. “It takes all day to film them, and yet they’re only 3½ minutes long. You do want to make them believable, though, so people have something visual to enjoy along with the audio.”
As a young actor, Young also landed cameo parts in Reba McEntire’s music video of her hit single I’ll Be and Buddy Jewel’s video of Southern Comfort. He also was in a regional commercial for Toyota trucks.
Apparently, music fans love what they are seeing and hearing because the number of “hits,” or individual views, as recorded by youtube.com is astonishing.
The music video of his recording You had 2.6 million hits as of earlier this week; Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress), 3.7 million; Voices, 4 million; The Man I Want To Be, 6.7 million; and Tomorrow, 10.8 million.
Fans can hear him sing those hits in person when Young returns to the Augusta area for a show at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at the Lady Antebellum Pavilion at Evans Towne Center Park, part of the Columbia County Championship Festival.
Tickets are $25 advance or $35 at the gate. Visit columbiacounty
championshipfestival.com or call (877) 987-6487.
Opening for Young will be Nashville singer and songwriter Brent Cobb, who grew up in Ellaville, Ga., near Columbus.
Cobb’s songwriting success has included Luke Bryan’s recording Tailgate Blues, David Nail’s Grandpa’s Farm, Kellie Pickler’s Rockaway and the Eli Young Band’s Go Outside and Dance.
Many of America’s country music fans first came to know Young when he won the fourth season of the USA network’s music competition show Nashville Star in 2006.
Young said, for the record, that it was not Park Scott or Keith Swann who urged him to try out for Nashville Star, as reported on such online sites as Wikipedia, but a Nashville music personality named Billy Block (visit billyblock.com).
Young’s win earned him an RCA Records contract and resulted in his first major label album, which was self-titled and was produced by Buddy Cannon. His second and third albums, The Man I Want To Be and Neon, were produced by James Stroud, who also has been producing a new CD that Young plans to have out this year.
Before signing to RCA, Young, like most starting-out entertainers, made a couple of independent albums. He financed them doing odd jobs, including construction work for his father, Michael Harris.
Young was 10 when Harris married Young’s mother, Becky. His affection for Harris, whom he regards as his real father, was summed up in the song He’s My Dad, which is on Young’s independent album I Wish I Was Lying.
Part of the lyrics go: “He makes his living with his hands; a tried and true blue collar man. He only wears a tie when he’s at church cuz he don’t like to get dressed up. But he does it out of love. He puts me, my mom and sister first. He’s more than my stepdad, He’s my Dad.”
It’s ironic that Young’s return to the Augusta area next week will be in Evans. Young’s current single release I Can Take It From There was co-authored by Young and Ben Hayslip, who grew up in Evans, and Georgian Rhett Akins, who spent several summers
visiting with Hayslip in Evans.
“I’ve known them both for a long time,” Young said. “Both are super talented and some of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet.”
Young’s career is super hot.
He opened on Jason Aldean’s My Kinda Party Tour and Miranda Lambert’s On Fire tour last year before headlining his own tour during the winter. He joins Brad Paisley’s Beat This Summer tour in May with more than 25 shows set.
“I just came back from Europe,” Young said. “We did Ireland and the UK. We had a gap and came back home and then went to Australia.
“It was my first trip to Europe, and I really enjoyed it. I met a lot of good people and enjoyed the sights. That definitely is a new market for me.”
SMITHSONIAN EXHIBIT A HIT: Lewis Smith, the director of the McDuffie Museum in Thomson, reports that the Smithsonian Museum on Main Street exhibit New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music was a big hit with 185 people attending the opening party on March 29.
The museum at 121 Main St. is showing the exhibit through May 11. Learn more at mcduffiemuseum.com or call (706) 595-9923.
In connection with the exhibit, the Chatham County Line bluegrass band from Raleigh, N.C., will perform a free concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at the Belle Meade Country Club, 2660 Twin Pine Road, in Thomson.
Call (706) 595-1553 for details.