Country music duo American Young have become fast favourites of the UK. Having made appearances in the UK regularly, American Young are set to return to the UK end of June/July and we couldn’t be more excited.
American Young released their highly praised self titled album last year which feature hit singles such as Love Is War and current single Eighteen.
I caught up with Jon and Kristy to discuss, music, songwriting and the UK.
Hi guys, how are you?
We couldn’t be better. We get to play music for a living!
What have you been up to lately?
Been touring around the US playing shows and have been writing new songs for the next record.
Can you introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about your background?
We are both from the Pacific Northwest. Jon is from Eugene OR, and I (Kristy) was born in Creston BC in Canada, and grew up in Sandpoint, ID. We met each other in Nashville and found magic performing music together.
How did American Young form and How would you describe American Young to someone who was unfamiliar with your music?
American Young was created shortly after Jon had wrote his first number one song for Lee Brice called “A Woman Like You”. I (Kristy) had been working on my own project and we had met at Jon’s number one party and one of our good friends said we (Jon & I) should get together and write sometime and that has evolved into American Young.
You are no strangers to the UK and are in fact returning to the UK for a tour in June/July. What keeps bringing you back over here and do you intend for us to be a regular stop in your tour diaries?
Of course! We love the UK. The fans are unbelievable. We are very fortunate to do what we get to do to meet amazing people all over the world. The people in the UK are amazing. They listen to the lyrics of every song. As long as the fans keep supporting us we will continue to tour in the UK.
You are both songwriters as well as singers. What usually comes first when writing a song, the melody or the lyrics?
Everyone has a different way to write songs. Sometimes it’s the melody and most of the time at least for us it’s the lyrics. You can find inspiration at any given moment and as songwriter you capture that moment.
What do you find easier, scheduled writing sessions or song ideas that come to you randomly? Do you find yourselves recording snippets or writing things down wherever you are, maybe in a supermarket if an idea comes to you?
We love it all. We typically have notes, lyrics, song titles in our phones that we’ve captured, or thought of and bring those into a writing session. We always find ourselves recording ideas into our phones at any given time. It could be 4am in the morning or it could be on a jog around the park.
You write and have written for other artists such as Rascal Flatts and Lee Brice. How do you decide to give a song to an other artist rather than cut it yourself?
Every day I write songs and hope that they get to be heard. Songs have a way of finding where they belong. Kristy and I listen to all the songs we write then decide if what one we would like to cut.
You released your debut album last year, which we all LOVE – could you describe the album to us and what it means to you
Thank you! We love that album. That was four years of Jon & I working together and finding out who we are together. Those songs represent our thoughts, feelings, and experiences. We are lucky to have the opportunity to work with amazing producers such as Lee Brice to bring it all together.
Tell me about your single Love Is War – it is so beautiful.
We actually didn’t write that song. Kristy had heard it at a pitch meeting and brought it in and we cut it. It’s actually written by our great friends Billy Montana, Jonathan Singleton and Kylie Sackley.
Tell us about the video for Love Is War – it is very cinematic and really quite beautiful. What was it like to shoot at as it seems to have an American Civil War Theme.
We had an amazing director Eric Welch who had this vision and brought it to us and we were all in. The way the video captures the true beauty of the lyrics and struggle of releationships. It’s unbelievable. We loved every moment of it.
Where was it filmed, were they personal family photos used and Kristy, where did you get your beautiful dress?
Awe Thank You!!! The video was shot about an hour east of Nashville. Unfortunately, the photos were not of my family. We had so many explosions that we went through a lot of photos. We had a friend make that dress for me. It’s unreal. I have it in my closet. It’s one of my favourites.
Tell me about he infectiously upbeat Point Of View? It’s quite comedic and so much fun to listen to, was it fun writing it?
We were at a writer retreat at Blackberry Farms, and the song wrote itself quickly. We just had to talk about each other and we have many more verses to that particular song. We had a great time writing it.
18 is your current single and you sing it with Lee Brice. What was it like to collaborate with Lee Brice on a song and how did the collaboration come to be? Seeing as you have written for him in previous years, are you friends?
We are all really good friends. Lee is our producer on the AY album. Lee and Jon are best friends and Jon produces Lee’s records. I’ve known Lee for years. We are on the same record label and have toured together and have written many songs. Lee is a big part of the AY sound. 18 was something that Jon and Lee had written together that was a great reflection of what it was like for them to be 18.
Has he ever mentioned a UK visit? If not, you should all come over together.
Yes, he’s well aware of UK and what great country music fans are there. We would love to tour with Lee in the UK…
Would you want to be eighteen again? And what were you like at 18? Were you making music?
We were both making music at 18 and loved being 18. It’s always great to reflect those years and to write a song about it. Sometimes when we are on the road we act like we are 18. We are musicians and love to have fun!
So tell me about Soldiers Wife. Is it an emotional one to perform live?
Hannah Blaylock, Billy Montana and Jon wrote the song. It’s an unbelievable song. We love to perform it. It’s a story that really hasn’t been told from the side of the people that are left at home.
How important is music to you as performers, writers and fans? Do you believe music is a healer and that it can bring people together even under the most awful circumstances?
Music is definitely a healer. Music is our purpose and hopefully we can bring people with our music. We saw what happened in Manchester and we send our thoughts and prayers to the victims of the families.
What would you say is the best thing that each of you bring to American Young? It could be musically or personality wise.
Jon is one of the best song writers and producers I’ve ever worked with. He’s intelligent, witty, and just fun to be around.
Kristy is an entertainer and a voice of an angel. She plays one of the most difficult instruments on earth by ear and has an unbelievable talent in creating music.
Thank you so much for doing this interview and we look forward to welcoming you back soon.
AY by American Young