Exclusive: Chris Young Shares Behind-the-Scenes “Looking for You” Clip

Chris Young embarks on a new musical chapter with “Looking for You,” his hopeful and anthemic new single. The song follows the country star’s back-to-back No. 1 collaborations, “Famous Friends” featuring Kane Brown and “At the End of a Bar” with Mitchell Tenpenny, both featured on his eighth studio album Famous Friends.

Videos by American Songwriter

Young co-wrote the song – his first solo single in three years – with longtime collaborator Chris DeStefano alongside James McNair and Emily Weisband. The quartet met in May 2022 after Young had a scheduling conflict during the originally scheduled writing session.

“It was my fault,” Young tells American Songwriter about having to cancel the co-write. “I was like, ‘Crap, they’re never going to write with me again.’”

Fortunately, for Young, that wasn’t the case. “Looking for You” is the first taste of what’s to come from Young’s ninth studio album.

[RELATED: Corey Crowder Talks Songwriting at 30A Songwriters Festival]

The Tennessee native has been a mainstay on country radio for more than 15 years, amassing 13 No. 1 singles and more than five billion on-demand streams. In addition to writing his new single, Young also produced the track with DeStefano.

Below, American Songwriter chats with the singer about “Looking for You” and premieres a behind-the-scenes clip of the song’s action-packed music video.

American Songwriter: Tell us the story behind “Looking for You.” How did the song come together?

Chris Young: Obviously, me and [Chris] DeStefano have a wonderful working relationship. But me and [James] McNair and Emily Weisband had not been in the room together. We’ve met each other, but we hadn’t been in the room yet. So, we get there, and immediately all just start crushing the song. The release at the end of the chorus is 4 minor before it resolves. It was me and DeStefano playing around. He was playing jazz chords sitting there on the guitar. I was like, “Woah, woah, woah, go back, go back. What if we did that and I sing this over it?”

They already had the idea, the title for the song, before I even walked in the room. I was like, “That’s awesome. We’re definitely writing that.” It was one of those weird days where everybody had something that they brought to the table. It was so natural and so much fun. If you go listen to the very top of the record, that weird, sort of haunting high instrument is actually not an instrument. That is Emily singing and we pitch-shifted it up and then sort of caved it out to make it sound like she was singing in a bathroom. It made it really different for a signature lick of the song.

AS: The song highlights your jazz background. Did you grow up listening to jazz music?

CY: I studied jazz. Actually, I had a scholarship to go to Berklee for jazz, but I always wanted to do country. NARAS with the Grammys, they do a Grammy Jazz Choir every year and they select between six and eight kids out of everybody in the U.S. that auditions. You have to do a capella scales, and then turn in a couple of performances of yourself recorded singing a jazz standard or a jazz song of your choice and I got in. I was the only baritone that year. … We played the Apollo and did the CBS Morning Show and a whole bunch of stuff. It’s a really, really awesome program. I do have a love and respect for jazz. I just wanted to sing country.

AS: Tell us about your songwriting process.

CY: Normally, when I write, I’m the kind of person that every now and then I’ll sit and fixate on something for a while. But I normally write really quickly, because my ADD kicks in and I’m just moving along. Then we’ll edit a little bit here and there. We’ll figure out a melody and a title that we like, regardless of who I’m in the room with, and we move forward.

Now, again, it’s songwriting. There’s no hard and fast rules. I think that’s one of the things that I respect about other songwriters and people that create music so much is you’re operating in a void of, “What am I supposed to do next?” I’m going to figure it out. Even if you’ve written a billion songs, you might run into the one song that’s a different style or a different progression than you normally write to and you’re trying to marry the melody with it. There are so many different things that can happen to really create the final product. I find that for me, what works best is normally writing really fast.

AS: Is there a lyric in “Looking for You” that holds more meaning to you now than when you first wrote it?

CY: Not necessarily, but I’m a sucker for this, sometimes to my own detriment, but I love the turn of the very end of the chorus. Then it came around right out of the blue / And it turns out I was looking for you.

AS: The video for “Looking for You” is very suspenseful, and ends with no resolution. Is this part one of more videos to come? Will your next song tie up loose ends?

CY: I don’t know. I really feel like it’s a one-off. But obviously, it’s a little mysterious. It’s a mix of a bunch of action movie tropes, which sounds weird because it’s a love song, but it really is. We wanted to do something different with it, that wasn’t just the same old thing repeated. Not that there’s anything wrong with repeating the same old thing, because obviously, it worked before. But for me, I’ve done a lot of different love songs over the course of my career, so I wanted something different.

AS: Did you come in with the video treatment or did director Peter Zavadil?

CY: This 1,000% was him starting with that idea and then us editing a couple of things here and there. Even the day of, originally in the scene where I walk into the bathroom, and she walks up behind me. It had it written for me to turn around and kiss her. But I was like, “With a love song, I like leaving it ambiguous.” Because obviously, we wake up the next morning [together]. This isn’t necessarily a sexy video. This is different than “I’m Comin’ Over.” This is supposed to be its own thing and live in its own world. It’s that falling in love video. But also, we just overlaid it with a bunch of action.

AS: This video includes your car, which was featured in the “I’m Comin’ Over” video, right?

CY: Funnily enough, even though I just referenced that song, it is. It’s a Challenger. But it’s just been completely redone. It’s a matte black wrap on it so it looks like a different Challenger.

We were going down through it. I was like, “Well, you know, I’ve used my car in a video before but I had it wrapped and so it looks completely different.” It’s different rims, tires, color.

AS: Is there any other behind-the-scenes insight on “Looking for You” we should know about?

CY: We were really concerned when we started to shoot the video because [Zavadil] wanted it to be in the rain. For whatever reason, there was not one of the rain machines that they normally use [available]. But that day, it rained all day long. The day before I shot a different video, which I never do, and it didn’t rain at all. It worked out perfectly for what he wanted for the shots.

AS: Is “Looking for You” a good indication of what to expect from your next album?

CY: This is definitely indicative of what some of the album is going to sound like. Especially if you pair it with “All Dogs [Go to Heaven]” and listen to those two songs. I touch on more of a variety of topics on this record than I’ve done in the past.

There’s a song about my dad on there that I did that’s written by a bunch of great writers in town. I was like, “This is how I feel about my dad, I have to cut this.” “All Dogs Go to Heaven” is obviously talking about my dog. “Looking for You” is an up-tempo love song. There is a wedding song on there. There’s a party song, there’s a little bit of everything, which I was really happy with because sometimes you have trouble finding the right songs. I’m pretty excited about this record. I hope everybody ends up being as excited as I am. Especially “Looking for You.” I just feel like that song has got something about it that makes it really special.

Photo by Jeff Johnson / Monarch Publicity

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