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Brett Young: ‘I’m Blessed More Than What I Ever Thought’

Brett Young No. 1 songs success touring
Rick Diamond, Getty Images for ACM

Brett Young‘s first two singles, “Sleep Without You” and “In Case You Didn’t Know,” both went to the top of the charts. The latter is also certified platinum, for sales in excess of one million copies. It’s a success that many artists work years to achieve, leading some to believe that Young has found the “golden ticket,” so to speak, early in his career — but that’s not so, says the California native. Instead, Young says, his early hits have added more pressure to an already stressful career.

“I remember, the first No. 1, everybody went, ‘Does that take the pressure off now?’” Young recalled to The Boot and other reporters at a recent media event. “I’m like, ‘What are you talking about? No. Now I’m terrified because my expectations have been set, and I’m terrified that not every song will follow suit.’

“It’s even worse after the second one doing it, in the best way. The athlete in me now wants to win again next time,” Young adds. “It’s flattering and humbling that a song like this has had this much success. Coming in with a sappy ballad is always kind of risky, so the fact that people have connected with [“In Case You Didn’t Know”] the way that they have, and we have this kind of momentum going into the next single, is very exciting.”

Young got a permanent remembrance of the success of “Sleep Without You”: a tattoo in honor of the hit single. However, he doesn’t plan on getting more ink, at least anytime soon.

“I’m a ‘power of positive thinking’ guy … So I kind of want to put that into the universe, that there are going to be too many [No. 1 hits] to fit [on my arm], hopefully,” Young says. “But also, the first one is a special one … “Sleep Without You” was such a special song, because it was the one that I got introduced to the world with, and it did so well. I [got this tattoo] to commemorate the fact of 14 years of really hard work and believing in something can actually work out if you stick with it.”

Young has spent much of the past few months on the road with Lady Antebellum, serving as an opening act on their You Look Good World Tour. The constantly busy schedule and the daily grind of touring are teaching Young plenty about his own limits — but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I’ve learned that I’m not Superman. The athlete in me always thought that I was — wouldn’t have to turn down anything, wasn’t anything I couldn’t do, not too tired, all that stuff,” Young admits. “I absolutely get too tired, and I absolutely have things that I have to turn down.

“One thing I’ve learned about myself though is how much this means to me,” Young continues. “I’ve been at this for almost 12 years. There’s a handful of things that you’ll do in your life that feel like a pipe dream … You don’t even think about whether or not it will ever happen … You stay focused on today because you know that it’s very unlikely. And, so that’s always what it was for me.”

It wasn’t until Young was working as a bartender while also moonlighting as a singer that he realized that he was ready to pursue his passion for music more seriously. Since then, Young has found himself working harder than ever, but enjoying every minute of it.

“I was able to pay bills, so music was kind of something that I kept for myself. I knew that I loved it, but you never know how much until, A) you have some success and B) it pushes you past what you thought your breaking point was,” Young shares. “It would be really easy sometimes to go, ‘This is too much. I’m exhausted. This is too much.’ If I didn’t love it as much as I did, maybe I would get there. But you learn how much you love something when you get to that point. The way the fans come out, and the way that they care and love country music, reminds me how blessed I am to do this … I’m blessed more than what I ever thought.”

This fall, Young will headline his own Caliville Tour, which is scheduled to kick off on Oct. 14 in Charlottesville, Va. A list of all of his shows is available on his website.

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NEXT: Brett Young Aims for ‘Genuine and Honest and Relatable’ Music

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