Country music singer Brett Young has captured the hearts of music fans everywhere through his honest lyrics about his life as a husband and a dad to two young daughters, Presley and Rowan.
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The 40-year-old has a string of hits including Lady – which inspired Brett's debut children's book, Love You, Little Lady – and his current single, You Didn't, all of which have cemented his status as a master over matters of the heart and seen him score seven consecutive number one hit songs and multi-platinum sales.
WATCH: Brett Young's wife Taylor stars in his new music video, You Didn't
Ahead of his performance at C2C Festival this weekend, where he will play the mainstage at gigs in London, Glasgow, and Dublin, and fresh from announcing his UK tour this November, Brett spoke to HELLO! Online in an exclusive interview about why his wife, Taylor Mills, is his only leading lady, being a family man, and his welcome into Nashville.
Read what he had to say below...
You use your music to share personal details about your life. Is it important for you to be honest with your lyrics when it comes to writing new material?
"Yes, it is, that is absolutely paramount for me. I think the most important thing that you have to do as an artist, and even a songwriter if you want people to be invested, if you want them to care and be interested in every new project and song that you put out, then you have to be transparent and authentic.
"There's no way to go in and write about things that you haven't lived, or you don't understand and be authentic.
Brett has amassed a huge following thanks to his personal lyrics and music
"I always say that part of our job is to continually pull the curtain back a little bit more for people to get a glimpse into who we are and what our lives are like because we're asking every day for them to develop a genuine connection and stay invested in us.
"So, I think that honesty and authenticity is the number one most important thing when you set out to do anything in an entertainment field."
Is that why you've been open about how you and your wife, Taylor took a break from each other before you got married? To show not all relationships are as perfect as you may see on social media.
"Yeah, absolutely. I think one of the biggest misconceptions I had before I found success in this industry, is that life is entirely different and separate from everybody else's life and it's glamorous and it's exciting all the time and it isn't hard, and everybody's rich and the whole thing.
"The reality is, is that it's just another job. We have the same difficulties in life and relationships that everybody does and if you haven't seen the curtain pulled back, you don't know that the expectation is completely different from reality.
Brett and his wife Taylor Mills
"So, I think when you're asking people, 'Come on this journey with me', you can't then lie to them about what your journey is like – it's the opposite. You have to show them all the ways that it's exactly what they go through every day."
Taylor stars in your music video for You Didn't. Do you find you distract each other when you work together?
"It's a very different experience, in a good way. Neither of us are actors so we're kind of making it up as we go and having fun with it.
"When we got back together, it was right before I filmed the Mercy music video, and that video is the last time I acted opposite a leading lady that's not my wife. Everything about it just felt wrong – I'm not an actor that can justify that, I'm a musician, so that part felt wrong. But also, it just wasn't right, it wasn't [Taylor].
Brett and Taylor married in 2018
"That was a decision I made after Mercy, that I was not going to act opposite another woman ever again. So that being such a clear-cut decision, it was obvious that we were going to put Taylor in [You Didn't] and it made it so much more fun and so easy.
"Every time you see her smiling, I can pretty much guarantee that I was doing something stupid or making a funny face to get her to smile on camera. And that's just a comfort level and chemistry that you only have with someone that you're in love with. It was fun, we had a blast."
Your daughter, Presley Elizabeth, has also starred in one of your music videos, Lady. Are you worried about exposing your children to the public?
"Everybody has a different line. There's a line I won't cross in terms of respecting my children's privacy. I understand celebrities that want to keep their children's existence completely private, I get it. We're a little bit more generous with that because of what I said before.
"We're asking people to invest in me as not just an artist but as a person and the biggest part of my reality right now is my family. I'm going to write about it, I'm going to talk about it and I'm going to share it whenever I feel like it's relevant to my song and my career, and the projects we're putting out.
Brett and Taylor share two daughters
"Our goal is always to make sure that when they're 15 years old they're not coming to us going, 'Why would you ever put that out?' We don't ever want to do that to them, but I think it's ok to take your platform and brag about your family. It's ok to be proud of your family and your children.
How do you juggle being a husband and a dad while touring?
"It's kind of a mixed bag. If I ever figure out how to perfectly juggle that I'll let you know. I think juggle is the right word, it's always a moving target. [Taylor and I] kind of mix and match it. Before our second daughter [Rowan Marie] was born, the plan was to bring the baby out all the time. And then covid hit and we had only brought the baby out like two weekends, and then everything shut down.
"But she's only nearly seven months old so she's not quite ready yet. The bus is cramped, she's just moved into a crib but on the bus, she'd be sleeping in a bedside bassinet and there's not really room for that. I think we're probably like four months away from really attempting the road with the whole family and we're good with that.
Brett and Taylor try to not spend too much time apart
"Every once in a while, if my wife and I haven't seen each other enough we'll get a babysitter for the weekend or even for a night and she'll come out and then fly home. We're making it up as we go.
"I think [being away at C2C] will be our first real taste of what the rest of this year will look like and it will force our hand to put a program in place to bring them out when we can and not spend too much time apart – but we're just faking it all the time."
Will C2C be your first international gig since COVID-19 hit?
"Yeah. We were [in Europe] in 2020. We had done two venue shows in Amsterdam and Berlin and then we played a club show in Stockholm, and we were 45 minutes before our Oslo show when they passed the no gatherings above 50 people rule so the promoter had to send everyone home – that was two days before we were supposed to play the arenas we're coming over to play.
You must be really excited to go back to the UK and Ireland? Especially now covid restrictions have been lifted.
"I'm so excited! Country music fans over there are crazy in the best way. We have so much fun, and more importantly, there's nothing that makes me feel worse than having to cancel shows on people. So, it feels like we're coming through and fulfilling our promise that we would come back so that feels even better."
Brett is heading on a UK tour in November
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
"Not really. I will almost always make sure that I have a whiskey before I go on stage and that's pretty much it. I periodically take breaks from alcohol for health purposes, it's a good idea to do it sometimes. But if I'm on a break and I have a show, I'm probably still going to have a shot before I go on stage. "
You grew up in California before moving to Nashville. Were you embraced by the country music community, or did you feel like an outsider?
"The culture is very different. Everybody treats the scene in Los Angeles like they're all competing for one available space. But Nashville felt like everybody was trying to help each other achieve the same goal, so it felt more like a family almost immediately – they're gracious, encouraging, and an inviting crowd and I felt that from the very beginning."
Brett had a promising baseball career before an injury turned him towards music
Before you found success, was there a time you felt like giving up?
"Approaching my 30th birthday, I had a lot of very close friends and family start saying, 'Ok, is it about time? You went to college but you're bartending and you're playing in restaurants at night, you're almost 30, what's the deal?'
"I said to them, 'You know what guys if I don't make it by the time I'm 30 I'll hang it up'. And then I turned 30 and they all came at me like, 'well aren't you going to hang it up?' and I said, 'No, I'm not. This is what I'm supposed to do'.
"So, to answer your question. The only time that thought was ever put in my head was by other people. When I injured myself in baseball and I started pursuing music, I knew that the baseball injury was for a reason – it was because I was supposed to [make music]. So had it not been brought to my attention by people in my life, I never would have considered [giving up]."
Brett will perform at C2C in London, Glasgow and Dublin
Alongside your music, you also have a clothing line, a music festival and you've written a children's book. Is there anything else you're working on?
"You know, a lot of it is random ideas that wake me up in the middle of the night, so right now, no. I don't have my next venture planned out but if tomorrow I wake up and I find out that my favorite restaurant in Southern California closed and needs to be reopened, you might hear about that.
"When I get excited about stuff, the same way I do with song ideas, it's hard for me to let go, I'm like a dog with a bone. I'm not going to stop having ideas – if it's not a song idea it might turn into a restaurant, I don't know, we'll have to see."
How was the feedback from your children's book, Love You, Little Lady? Do you think you'll do a follow-up?
"My wife just told me the other day, the same reason I know that I have to write a follow-up to Lady because we had a second daughter, my wife is like, 'We need to do the follow-up book too because [Rowan] isn't in the first book.
Brett is hoping to do a follow-up book to include his second daughter
" I don't know what it looks like. We had a lot of fan requests from people with young children who have boys to do one that's geared towards boys – the problem with that is we had another daughter.
"We want to do one that includes the whole family. We've been thinking of ideas, and we have a great relationship with Harper Collins who published the book. So, it's possible and it was a really fun experience for us, so if we come up with the idea to do it the right way, it's very possible."
Brett's latest single, You Didn't, from his collection Weekends Look A Little Different These Days, is out now. His UK tour kicks off on November 11th until November 16th. Tickets are on sale Thursday 17th March at 9 a.m. from Live Nation.
You can also catch highlights from Country to Country on Saturday 12th March 3-6pm, Sunday 13th March 7-9pm and Thursday 17th March 9-10pm on Radio 2 and BBC Sounds.
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