Brett Young has a tattoo on his left bicep that reads "Caliville" in cursive script. It's a nod to both the singer-songwriter's California upbringing and the music he's making now in Nashville. Young, who scored his first Number One song with "Sleep Without You," releases his self-titled debut album on February 10th.
"There is a lot of California in my ... sound, and a ton of it is the laid-back nature of Southern Californians and the beach. But it's a melting pot for music," Young tells Rolling Stone Country, offering that he was raised on "oldies," Motown and R&B before he began listening to country music. "My first concert was Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey."
Young, who cites Gavin DeGraw as one of his chief influences, co-wrote 11 of the 12 songs on his new album, including "Sleep Without You" and the new single "In Case You Didn't Know." The latter is Valentine's Day appropriate, despite never including the words "I love you" in its lyrics.
"We were hoping we could write everybody's love song," says Young. "It was our goal not to be cheesy, so maybe the idea of putting 'I love you' in anywhere would have felt too cheesy."
Young is gearing up for a busy spring and summer on the road. He'll joins tours by Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum and Lee Brice and Justin Moore. He made his NBC Today show debut this week, performing "Sleep Without You."