For most artists, following up a debut album is a serious creative challenge. But when that debut happens to be a meteor of breakout country success like Brett Young’s, the stakes get even higher.
“Going into this project, I was terrified,” Young admits about Ticket to L.A., his second album for BMLG Records. “A lot has happened, the first record has been really good to me and I’m really, really proud of it. But just having a new batch of songs – it’s like breathing new life.”
After nearly a decade of under-the-radar work, Young made his PLATINUM-certified entrance in 2016 with the restless romance of his #1 hit, “Sleep Without You,” then proceeded to own the top of the charts with three more singles from his self-titled PLATINUM-album debut. The tender “In Case You Didn’t Know” spent two weeks at #1, selling over 3 million copies and becoming the second-most purchased/streamed country song of 2017, followed by the three-week #1 “Like I Loved You” and the heart-rending “Mercy” – another pair of PLATINUM-certified smashes.
Co-writing each of those career-defining hits himself, Young’s emotionally fluent brand of country soul didn’t exist elsewhere in the genre, and fans connected with it deeply. But it was all born from a painful time in the Southern Californian’s life – one he’s since emerged from.
“I think the first album was a really good way for me to introduce myself,” Young explains. “It was extremely honest and vulnerable, but me and my girl were broken up, and I was new to Nashville and hadn’t built a friend base yet, so that made it easy for me to go a little bit somber.”
With his hotly anticipated sophomore album, Ticket to L.A., Young once again embraces his gift for vulnerable honesty – but this time in a much different capacity. That girl from the first album is now his wife, and Nashville has become the easy-going crooner’s second home. So rather than double down on brokenhearted balladry, he’s inviting fans to explore a brighter chapter, as he turns up the heat on his mellow SoCal-meets-Music-City style.
“There’s a lot of Southern California’s DNA all over the record,” Young says. “It’s very light – intentionally – and sonically it’s very upbeat. That doesn’t exist as much on the first album, so I wanted to showcase a bit more versatility this time around. We’re still doing the same thing, it’s just coming from a completely different moment in my life.”
Sticking with same studio team behind his extraordinary debut – producer Dann Huff, executive producer Jimmy Harnen and engineer/mixer Justin Niebank – Young doesn’t reinvent his sound so much as build off what was uniquely him to begin with. The tempos on Ticket to L.A. are indeed quicker – but the heart behind each track remains front and center. The sonics are more vibrant – still sophisticated but emboldened with a pinch of R&B playfulness. And the themes have shifted away heartbroken, sliding easily toward a sense of romantic serenity.
Over 13 new tracks – 10 of which Young co-wrote with hit makers like Shane McAnally, Hillary Lindsey, Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley and more – the star brings fans ever deeper into his world, basking in the transformative power of love.
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