Country Star Chris Young Talks About His Old 'Day Job' Installing AC Units

Chris Young Day JobsChris Young erupted onto the country music scene in the last two years with four straight No. 1's. He writes his own songs, and croons them with the soulful, trembling timber of someone with a lot of scars and stories. You'd never know he's 26 years old.

But at 26, Young's old enough to have tried his hand at a couple of different trades. And as part of GAC's new series "Day Jobs," where country stars relive a day of their blue collar lives, Young went back to install AC units for his old boss, James.

"My job was to unscrew stuff, take it out, make sure it was all hooked up all-right," he told AOL Jobs. "A pretty straightforward job."

There was just one minor inconvenience. The job involved a lot of moving and lifting from the attic to the outside, and it was 110 degrees outdoors, 112 degrees in the house, and 120 degrees in the attic.

"We picked the hottest day of the whole year," he says.

But for Young, it was a nice break from his usual routine. "It was great to go out and do manual labor for a day." And doing that kind of work, he gets into a comfort zone. "I'm just really focused on the task."

Does he let out a tune while on the job?

"I'm not singing while I work," he chuckles. "Those guys would have laughed their butts off."

His temporary day job is certainly a change of pace, but it requires just as much work as his regular one. Young has been trying to make it as a musician since he was a little kid, and began writing his own songs in his teens. In high school, he started doing the club circuit, and by college he was playing more than 150 shows a year.

He took odd jobs in construction, and used the money to put out two independent records. But at some point, Young needed a steady cash flow.

"I needed a way to have income," he says. "I was doing shows for free, or even losing money driving to them, spending money on gas."

So his best friend's dad offered him a job installing AC units in his hometown of Murfreesboro, Tenn., a half-hour's drive from Nashville.

At one show in Texas, a fan told Young to audition for the "Nashville Star" TV show. He did, and he won, earning a record deal with RCA Records Nashville. Young signed it before his 21st birthday.

It was a swift rise, but Young hadn't magically made it when he signed that piece of paper. In fact, his first album didn't do so hot, and neither did the first release off his second album. At that point, doubts begin to simmer.

"Eight hotels, 15 planes, 20 stations a week. I was really worn down," he says, "thinking 'I hope this works.' "

But Young was in his early-20s, talented --and knew it -- and ambitious. After all, he had a record deal.

"The people on the top aren't on the top forever," he says. "Someone's going to pass them."

He wanted that someone to be him.

AOL Jobs Asks
Chris Young
5 Quick Questions

1. What was your first job? It was a typical one. I mowed the grass of my parents and a couple of my neighbors. I was terrible at it.

2. What inspires you? My love of music.

3. What is the most important trait needed to succeed? Drive. I really think that's it. Instead of going, "Damn I'm really down right now, it's not working" or just being stagnant, you've got to try to go forward in how you are. You've got to have the drive to keep improving and keep growing and keep creating. That's true in music, and that's true in everything.

4. What is your biggest challenge? The first couple years of my deal really. I went from my house gig in Texas. I made more money doing that than my record deal. We didn't really take off.

5. What is the best career advice you ever received?
Somebody told me to write my own music. If you create your own music, you can really say who you are. I didn't start until I was 14 or 15, but I'm really glad I got that little push towards being a songwriter. I want to be known as not only a singer but a songwriter too.

And the second release off the second album, "Gettin' You Home," became Young's first No. 1. Three more followed. The album was certified gold.

All that waiting, all that hard work, made the success, he says "almost a little bit sweeter."

Had he stumbled on some secret formula?

"You can look at structure all day long," he explains. "When you're a singer-songwriter you can think: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus. And yeah that's the most successful formula in country. But I just go with my gut. I prefer to keep it simple like that."

Young doesn't think his music these days is necessarily so much better. He isn't embarrassed by the early stuff, as a lot of artists are. But when he listens to tracks from his two self-funded albums, he does think to himself: "Whoooa, I've sure grown a little."

And on his new album, "Neon," he's switching it up too. Even the name sounds like it could be a compilation of Detroit techno. Maybe true, he says. "But if you listen to the actual title track, it's really the probably holy-crap, straight-ahead, definitely country song on the record."

Where did Young get all that country intensity, and all the perseverance to bring it to the world?

"It's the little things that you don't realize that shape who you are," he says. And installing AC units could definitely be one.

"The pride that James takes in the job," Young says, had a stirring effect on how he approached work. "He's really really proud of his job, puts a lot of effort into it, and is really great at what he does. There's always a parallel between music and everything else."

And it's always nice to go back and dip a toe in the past.

"I remembered how much i enjoyed the job," he says. "But obviously I enjoy my job right now way more."

Next: Trace Adkins Talks About His Old 'Day Job' As A Roughneck

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Instslling a/c units can be hard work for the most part its an easy job and pays well

October 10 2011 at 6:41 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Well, we all have to start from the bottom before we can make it to the top. And that goes with celebrities too. Lots of them did regular jobs like us (food serving, AC repair, construction, and etc.). Ya got to start somewhere first. It's called LIFE.

October 10 2011 at 4:20 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

jealpus of what??? LOL and how are these so called #1s making hin a star esp with only 4? HERE TODAY GONE TOMORROW like alot of them who are so much better than he is

October 10 2011 at 2:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did Blues Hammer open that show? Here's a Big Mac and a pair of Nikes.Thanks for supporting mediocrity.

October 10 2011 at 1:54 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Has anyone listened to this guy live?Thank God for pitch correcting and pro tools.

October 09 2011 at 10:33 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to camelot5263's comment

as a matter of fact he was in Mesa AZ at Toby Keith's I love this bar and grill and he was GREAT . since myself and my room mate were literally against the stage yeah we could tell how good he was !!

October 09 2011 at 11:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He's not a wanna be....he's there! This guy's got talent! Listen to his songs....

October 09 2011 at 10:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

will somebody give him a cookie please..................

October 09 2011 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
It's great day!!

Chris Young is very talented artist. The first time I herd him on Nshville Star, I knew he would win. There was none othere there that had the voice and the delivery Chris Young had! Sure there was some with some talent but the true talent that is needed in todays market Chris Young was the only one that possessed voice that would sell records. Being as young as Chris was at the time of winning, doubt is one of the things thats constantly haunts new artist. Am I good enough, will the record sell, can I handle the pressure? all of this comes into play when you are a new artist. Chris has handled it well.

The voive of Chris Young remiinds me of the Merle Haggard days when Merle toouched and it became gold. Chris Young is a home-town kind of guy that has worked hard to get where he is today and he will continue to grow! The voice alone will carry him in the record world.

Chris I would like to interview you for the MUSIC MAGAZINE

Keep up the great work!!

James Dean Fisher
Senior Editor, Music City, Nashville Music Magazine

October 09 2011 at 2:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to It's great day!!'s comment

lmao senior edittor and cant spell?? I think not

October 10 2011 at 2:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So you 'herd' him? Where to? And what is his 'voive'? Nevermind I think that is TMI. I will take your word for it it sounds like you know him very very well.

October 10 2011 at 3:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Young, who?...Metallica rocksssss!!!!!

October 09 2011 at 12:30 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

Chris Young is a talented artist I met him a few years ago after he won Nashville Star !! If you listen to country you will hear his songs ! I have all 3 of his CD's and I love each one of them

October 09 2011 at 11:50 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to RragDoll's comment

yeah and thata as far as he will go also

October 09 2011 at 2:34 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Darren's comment

Yeah well that's a lot farther than you will

October 09 2011 at 4:48 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down

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