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Exclusive: Behind the scenes look at Chris Young's 'Aw Naw' video

He also dishes on his upcoming album, and why he’s keeping one eye on Brad Paisley

By Phyllis Stark
Special to MSN Music

With a string of No. 1 hits to his credit, Chris Young is no stranger to the process of shooting music videos, but the recently completed clip for his latest hit, "Aw Naw," was the country star's first-ever night shoot.

Reuniting with director Chris Hicky, who has lensed several of Young's previous videos, they worked from 5 p.m. until 6 a.m., shooting at several locations in East Nashville. Says Young of the overnight timing, the song is "really different from anything that I've put out as a single before, so we wanted the video to have just a little bit more of a dangerous feel to it." Check out MSN Music's exclusive, behind the scenes preview above.

The video, which Young says has a "party vibe," was largely shot in an abandoned building, which the video crew dressed up to look like a nightclub.

"It's actually random concrete floors and concrete walls, and we put a pool table in there," says Young. "Lit correctly, it looks awesome, like it's somewhere you'd want to hang out, and it totally was not. It was just this empty building in the middle of nowhere."

The video follows Young and his band from a convenience store, where they're making a late night junk food run and run into some women, to a party they follow the girls to, and where they end up performing.

"Aw Naw" is the first single from Young's fourth album, "A.M." due out Sept. 17. The title is taken from one of the tracks on the 11-song set, of which Young co-wrote six. He chose "A.M." as the title because it "really fit the tone and the vibe of this album perfectly."

Despite his significant songwriting credentials, Young says he surprised himself by choosing more outside songs for this project then he has on past records.

"I just ended up finding so many things in town," he says of the songs he chose to record from other Nashville writers. "I really do believe best song wins, so there's a lot of stuff on this record . . . that I did not write that I'm just in love with. When you hear a song like that and you know it's something you'd want to say, and you're sitting there going 'Damn, I wish I'd written that,' it's just usually a good idea to just go ahead and cut that."

Young says the album also has much more up-tempo material then his previous sets. "That was not only a product of the way I was writing," he explains, "but it was a very conscious decision to do that because we play a lot of tempo in my show. My show live is a lot of fun, and I really wanted to translate that into a record. I wanted people to hear that and feel that if they've never seen me live."

The singer thinks the album also reflects his growth as a performer, as a songwriter, and as a person since he first hit the charts in 2006. "Over the years, who I am as a person has solidified," he says. "I've got a really good idea of who I am as a musician, what I want my sound to be, and what I feel like I can kind of play with a little bit from album to album. You always want to walk that fine line of giving people something familiar that they know is you and your sound, but always changing something up. If you give people the same thing every record, they'll get bored with it."

Young is currently on the road with Brad Paisley's "Beat This Summer Tour," which runs through August, but last Sunday he took a break from the road to sign autographs at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville. Scheduled to sign for three hours, he ended up staying with his fans all day.

Back on the road, he's delighted with how the tour is shaping up.

"He's great to be on tour with," Young says of Paisley. "He just really makes it feel relaxed and easy out here." One other plus, he says, is that Paisley draws "lots of people every night that you can really convert and make your fans, so it's a great opportunity."

Still, he's keeping one eye on Paisley, who's notorious for pulling pranks on his touring partners. "I'm not going to lie, I'm not letting Brad on my bus," Young says with a laugh. "He doesn't need any more ammunition. You know he's got more money than you. You know he's got more people working for him than you do, so I'm just going to let him have those advantages."

Veteran entertainment journalist Phyllis Stark has been reporting extensively on the music industry for two decades. As a freelance writer, her work appears regularly in numerous publications and sites. She previously was Nashville bureau chief at Billboard magazine.
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