Chris Young received the most ACM Awards nominations this year, with seven. The Tennessee native’s nominations included Album of the Year, both as artist and producer, for Famous Friends, Single of the Year and Music Event of the Year, both as artist and producer for the record’s title track, and Video of the Year, sharing the last three categories with his duet partner, Kane Brown.
Young is still absorbing the good news, which marks a new career milestone for him.
“It’s always awesome to have a nomination, period, because there have been plenty of years in my career where there wasn’t one,” Young tells Billboard. “So I’m excited anytime there is a nomination, and especially what happened this year. I’ve never been the most-nominated artist at an awards show, and especially not one the caliber of the ACMs.”
Young didn’t waste any time celebrating with his friends and “Famous Friends” collaborators when the exciting news was announced.
“There are so many awesome pieces to this and so many people I get to call,” Young recounts. “That part of makes it feel more real. It’s such a personal song about the people who make you who you are, who don’t always get the recognition. Having the song with a friend like [Kane] and now getting to hype it up with these nominations, it feels really damn good.”
The nominations meant Young had to — happily — take time away from working in the studio to share the good news with others.
“It was just absolutely craziness with these nominations,” Young says. “It’s been a pretty wild day. We called Kane, we called [‘Famous Friends’] co-writer Cary Barlowe. It’s been a nonstop day on my phone, but totally worth it and totally blown away on my end.”
Young also got to share the good news with his parents, who for once got to hear it first from him.
“For me, normally my family hears about nominations and things before me,” Young admits. “This year, my dad had some major, though planned, dental surgery and [my mom] has been taking care of him. When I called them this morning, I was checking on him but I said, ‘Hey, have you heard yet?’ and they hadn’t. So for once, I got to tell them. I got to drop the surprise on them and especially with being the most-nominated, that felt really cool to be able to surprise both of them that way.”
Young’s Famous Friends record was released in August, but the 36-year-old hints there might be more music coming from him soon.
“I may or may not have been in the studio working on stuff to be a big addition to that record, maybe?” Young teases. “I don’t want to say too much or be too vague, but that was why I was with my buddy Crowder this morning. We were working on a new song and I was like, ‘You know how I’m going to celebrate this? We’re going to do some stuff in the studio.’”
Young has been nominated for an ACM Award 11 times, but has yet to walk away with a trophy — a record he hopes changes later this year.
“I’ve never won an ACM Award so I have no idea what I would do, but we’ll make it work,” Young says. “Rest assured, I 1,000 percent understand today is about being nominated. I’m not minimizing that by talking about what-ifs, but I absolutely want to win one.”
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Monarch Publicity / Jeff Johnson