Chris Young is now considered a bona-fide country superstar, and the robust singer is set for a big weekend in Las Vegas at the 2018 ACM awards. Being on stage will surely feel bittersweet for Chris Young, because last October, he was among the performers on another Las Vegas stage, thrilling his fans before bullets rained down from that infamous Mandalay Bay window. Chris Young was thankful to be alive through that horrific night, but the deep-voiced crooner never forgets to offer his heart and heartfelt offerings beyond his songs to those in need.

Chris Young isn't the only Chris in contention for Male Vocalist of the Year for 2018, with Chris Stapleton being in the group alongside Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett, and Keith Urban. Still, this may be the year for Chris Young to take home the coveted honor, and being in that good company of composers and singers was no cinch. Young surprised Jan Crawford of “CBS This Morning” with an impromptu classical concert on April 13. He has a range and a repertoire that none of the other contenders in his category can touch, but he chooses to stay a country boy.

Instantly classic

Never mind a warm-up, Chris Young hardly needed a nanosecond to start singing an Italian aria to prove that he “can sing in a lot of different languages,” and then following up with some passionate Spanish salsa style in flawless performance.

“I listen to literally every style of music,” he confirms, “but country is my favorite.”

It's not just the imposing figure of the 6 foot 3” Young or his look in a cowboy hat. His deep, beckoning tones carry the perfect country twang, and that's no accident. Country Music was the family way for Young growing up. His grandfather, Richard Yates, was a founding member of the Louisiana Hayride, who took a long roster of country classics through their radio show run.

That influence was tremendous grounding for the aspiring country artist, but it also impeded his breakthrough at a time when “old school” singers were not the flavor of the day in the business.

Fortunes changed for Chris Young in 2006, when he was the winner of the Nashville Star competition, leaving with a record contract, but no guarantee of a lasting career.

His first three releases fell with a thud, and Young realized that even those who believe “can only believe for so long,” and that his label would release him if the fourth single didn't catch fire on the charts. Chris Young chose an optimistic “let's see what happens” attitude over despondence. “Gettin’ You Home” got major radio play and made Chris Young a name to know.

In 2009,”The Man I Want to Be” took the singer to the stratosphere and he was included on the soundtrack of the film “Country Strong,” fitting the direction of his career trajectory. Chris Young can look at recognition for ten #1 songs now, and being part of his industry’s most esteemed congregation.

A tiny cut almost took life away

Last summer, country guitar great and good friend, Vince Gil, playfully teased that Chris Young was a “big bastard” before also pointing to the big heart of the men sharing the stage. Supposedly, Gil was there just to recognize the platinum success of “Sober Saturday Night,” until the last presentation, which was to introduce Chris Young as an inductee into the Grand Ole Opry. The moment went, joking about not being paid for the session, to all the fundraising Chris Young had done for Texas flood victims in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Chris Young knows how life can turn in one tiny instant, and a tiny cut nearly took Chris Young’s life. A tiny cut on the singer’s leg that never got noticed led to Young being in septic shock on a tour flight.

He was rushed into surgery after signs of organ failure, and with time, came to full recovery. The vocalist knows that every moment matters and he has as many personal moments as he can with his fans. He also remembers to “tell the people you love that you love them, as much as you can.” He remembers making the call to his mother and his sister last fall, letting them know he was alive to love them and to live and sing another day.

This artist has discovered how to live in the moment, but also, how to ask “What else do I need to do?” so someone else can have a better day.