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Chris Young and Scholastic Kid Reporter Aaron Broder.
This page: Chris Young talked to Scholastic Kid Reporter Aaron Broder about his Nashville Star experience. (Photo: Courtesy of Aaron Broder)
Home page: Nashville Star winner Chris Young plays his guitar.

(Photo: Courtesy of RCA)

The New Nashville Star
By Aaron Broder
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

May 12, 2006—Nashville Star is an American Idol-type TV show with a twist—it's all about country music. This season's top three finalists—Chris Young, Casey Rivers, and Nicole Jamrose—recently performed at a concert in Nashville to celebrate the end of the city's Country Music Marathon. I had the chance to interview the winner of Nashville Star, Chris Young, who is now getting ready to record his own album. Here is what he had to say:

Scholastic News Online: When you performed at the Country Music Marathon last year, did you ever think you would do it again?
Chris Young: Yes. I had [performed here] for about three years. I enjoy the marathon because my sister is a runner, and did the half-marathon the first year I played the marathon route. I'm hoping that I'm able to play the marathon many more times.

SN Online: What was it like performing at the final concert instead of along the route?
Chris Young: There were a lot more people in one place. On the route, you are trying to encourage the runners, and at the final concert, it's like the runners are encouraging you. Playing to that many people at one time is a huge rush anyway, but the runners who were in the crowd were very appreciative. It gives you a great feeling to be part of something like that.

SN Online: What was it like being on Nashville Star?
Chris Young: While it was a lot of fun, you experience every emotion over the course of the show. You are happy to be performing, sad when your friends leave the show, excited to see the crowd respond, and nervous that your performance won't be what you are hoping. The staff and producers were all very positive, and I made some lifelong friends. I would encourage anyone to audition.

SN Online: What does it feel like to have won Nashville Star?
Chris Young: Multiply Christmas morning by a million.

SN Online: How did you get interested in Nashville Star?
Chris Young: I knew of Buddy Jewell (a former contestant) from seeing him perform at a local Mexican restaurant in Nashville. When he was on the show the first season, I watched the show, voted, cheered, and made signs like everybody else. From there, I watched the show each year. I didn't audition until this year because I felt I wasn't ready, [but] I have encouraged friends to audition every year.

SN Online: Did you think you would make it this far?
Chris Young: No, I even felt like Casey Rivers would win on the final night of the show. However, I am really glad that I won...and proud to be the new Nashville Star.

SN Online: What are your plans for the future?
Chris Young: Right now we are in the studio working on the first single, and the CD that will be released in the fall. I'll be touring with the Nashville Star Tour this summer, and I'll be at the CMA [Country Music Association] Music Festival in June. I love [the festival] because it allows you to spend time with your fans, and those are the same fans that helped me realize my dream of a major recording contract by voting for me on Nashville Star.

SN Online: How long have you been playing music?
Chris Young: I started singing when I was 9 and learned to play a little guitar when I was 14, when I wrote my first song. Since then, it has just escalated each year. I started doing shows [at bookstores] when I was a senior in high school, which really helped my guitar playing because it's just you, a guitar, and a room full of people.

SN Online: What advice do you have for kids who want to play music?
Chris Young: Take advantage of the opportunities offered at your school and in your hometown. I was in local musical theater shows, and in a performing group called "Kids from the 'Boro," sponsored by Murfreesboro (my hometown in Tennessee) Parks & Recreation. I was in my school choirs [and] sang at church in the choir. Eventually I auditioned for the NARAS [National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences] Grammy Choir, the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, and other things. All of these opportunities allowed me to get experience, they didn't cost anything, and each one gave me more training.

As I talked to Chris Young, he and I hit on a subject we both liked—reading.

"That's really what got me into songwriting, and doing what I do today," he said. "I read nonstop, and eventually I started writing poetry, and that evolved into songwriting."


Kid Reporter: Aaron Broder
Scholastic Kid Reporter Aaron Broder has written about everything from the latest in books and movies, to short-track speed demons at the Olympic Games in Torino, Italy. Check out his profile to learn more.

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