With the New Year came a new Chris Young.
“I’ve been cooking my own food a lot more,” Young, 37, tells PEOPLE about the secrets behind her nearly 50-pound weight loss, a transformation that’s been going on since early last fall. “I wasn’t taking the time to [cook for myself]. I’m also training a bit more.”
But what hasn’t changed is that velvety voice of hers that has been heard throughout her country music career on a string of No. 1 hits, including “The Man I Want to Be” and “I’m Comin’ Over.” “.
And now, with the New Year, comes new music from Young, including “All Dogs Go to Heaven,” a sentimental ode to man’s best friend and the bond Young says he envisions lasting much longer than a lifetime.
“We can’t have our pets forever,” Young says of the song she co-wrote with Corey Crowder and Cale Dodds. “But hopefully eventually we’ll get them forever. I think it applies to the love one has for any animal, but especially, I think of Porter. That’s my friend.”
Speaking of his 5-year-old German Shepherd that Young received as a Christmas present from his sister when the dog was “the size of a baked potato,” the “Famous Friends” hitmaker says his bond with Porter was instant from the beginning.
“Before his eyes were even open, I was able to pick him up and hold him,” Young recalls. “It’s probably one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. I loved having it. And I know I’m going to lose it at some point, but you just want to hold on to it forever, you know?”
Young breaks the silence with a light laugh.
“He’s going to tear one of my cruciate ligaments at some point as big as he is and as fast as I can run around the house,” the Tennessee native continues. “But other than that, we get along very well.”
Of course, there’s always been something of a fascination about Young and who he’s “getting along with” in his personal life. In fact, Young says that sometimes all it takes is an innocent image posted on her Instagram account to get fans upset over a potential new love interest.
“I’m very private and no one really knows what’s going on in my private life outside of my family and friends,” Young admits. “Sometimes all the people speculating make me laugh.”
However, her new romantic single “Looking for You” speaks to that undeniable feeling when you finally find the person you’ve always been looking for.
“I could easily say, ‘Oh, this song is about so-and-so,'” Young chimes in. “Some people like to do that.”
But instead, the Grand Ole Opry member says he’d rather keep his personal life private and let the music speak for itself.
“This song is really about the idea of you meeting someone you didn’t expect and being surprised that you’re in love,” Young continues of the song she wrote with James McNair, Emily Weisband and longtime collaborator Chris DeStefano. .
“Whether you’re one of those people who thinks you’re going to stay single forever, or you’re looking for the wrong person or whatever, this song basically says, ‘I wasn’t looking for anyone. To be single. And then shit, I found the one. person who is the love of my life.