When Chris Young debuted his extremely emotional new song, “Drowning,” at the Grand Ole Opry in early June 2019, he couldn’t help but break down midway through the performance.
“I thought I was okay at the end of the first chorus, but by verse two, I knew I was in trouble,” Young recalled to People. “I tried my best to pull myself together, but I just couldn’t. And then the audience all stood up and started applauding, and that was it. I couldn’t finish the song.”
“Drowning” will appear on Young’s upcoming album, Raised on Country. The project’s full details have yet to be announced, and Young doesn’t even have a release date because “releasing anything right now is a little bit different” due to the pandemic. But the country star has been teasing collaborations with Lauren Alaina, Kane Brown, and Brad Paisley.
A Song Coming From A Heavy Place
Written by Chris Young with frequent collaborators Corey Crowder and Josh Hoge, “Drowning” is a song that deals with the grief that comes from losing someone important in your life.
In a press release, Young explained that when he wrote the song with Crowder and Hoge, they were each thinking of “someone that we lost way too soon.” And for Young, that was a best friend named Adam, who died in a car accident a few years ago. Young found himself thinking about his longtime friend, and the lyrics literally started falling out of his broken heart.
“So, I’m gonna pull out pictures, ones with you in ’em. Laugh and cry a little while reminiscing. By myself, I can’t help that all I think about is how you were taken way too soon. It ain’t the same here without you. I gotta say, missing you comes in waves. And tonight I’m drowning,” the song goes.
Since the beginning of his career, Adam had been by Young’s side, even in 2006 while filming the reality television show. “Adam used to drive over and sit with me in the parking lot of Nashville Star,” Young recalled of Adam, whom he met after high school.
“We had everyone convinced that we were brothers,” he laughingly said. “We got to know each other’s families really well.”
But Adam left too soon. Ever since then, the country star had not spoken or written music about Adam’s death until “Drowning.”
“The song is still very open-ended because we wanted to make sure that it was a song that really anyone could relate to,” Young said. “But yes, it’s definitely my way to pay tribute to Adam.”
Even though the song came from such a heavy place, it’s in no way a burden. Young has been surprised and pleased by the number of people who have approached him with their personal stories. The song peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
Young said Adam’s family also reached out after they heard the song, and that, “They loved it, and they appreciated me honoring his memory with this song. And yeah, that makes me feel great.”
But when it comes to Adam, he hopes he is listening.
“I think he would be proud of it,” the singer said. “I did hear from his family — they loved it, and they appreciated me honoring his memory with this song. And yeah, that makes me feel great.”
You can listen to the heart wrenching “Drowning” in the video below.