Adam Young (born July 5, 1986) is an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Young began his musical career by creating small musical projects which he promoted on PureVolume or MySpace. In 2002, Young, with Anthony and Andy Johnson, co-founded the band Windsor Airlift, which has released five studio albums to date.
Young's electronic music project Owl City, created in 2007, has enjoyed significant popularity throughout its history. Posting songs to MySpace and iTunes, Young sold 2,000 tracks per week. Young, under Owl City, independently released Of June in 2007 and Maybe I'm Dreaming in 2008. In 2009, Young gained mainstream popularity after signing a deal with the record company Universal Republic and releasing the quadruple-platinum song "Fireflies", from the album Ocean Eyes.
Young has also fronted several other musical projects, such as Sky Sailing and Port Blue. He is also co-founder of Swimming With Dolphins.
2002-07: Early career:
In late 2002, Adam Young, with his childhood friends Anthony and Andy Johnson, founded the punk-pop band, Windsor Airlift. The band released The Basement EP in April 2003 and subsequently began performing at several local shows. Over the next several years, the band released multiple albums and extended plays as well as changed their genre from punk-pop to math rock, and ultimately to ambient post-rock which they are most known for. Though he is still technically in the band, Young ultimately became inactive in the group's life after the 2009 success of Owl City's Ocean Eyes.
In addition to Windsor Airlift, Young also created several smaller minor projects that included genres like experimental music. Most of these smaller projects were promoted on PureVolume or MySpace. Most of these projects were either solo endeavors or were done with Andy and Anthony Johnson.
In 2004, Young released a one-song electronic screamo project entitled Novel.
In 2005, Adam Young released a three-song project entitled Aquarium. Like Novel, the project's genre was electronic screamo.
In 2005, Adam Young was drummer in a heavy scremo band called Isle. Fellow touring member and friend Michael DeMars (Windsor Airlift) was also in the band.
Charlton Heston and the Blast Beats
In 2005, Adam Young, Andy Johnson, and Anthony Johnson created a three-song project entitled Charlton Heston and the Blast Beats. The project's sound was humorous as it was a merging of a recording of Charlton Heston yelling (from the original Planet of the Apes film) with the band while pounding on a drum set.
Young created many other projects in 2005 including American Jesus, Apes With Guns, Beat Master Deluxe, Blue Dallas, Half Nelson Flying Corkscrew Clothesline, Join The Dark Side, You Knob (a Star Wars inspired project), Slam Dance, Slingshot Powerbomb, Spinning Skull Smash, The Wellington Giggle-Bomb Experience, Tombstone Piledriver, and Understory.
Among the genres of the projects, many were garage rock and instrumental. A few projects were experimental, funk, comedic, and variations of screamo.
2007-present: Owl City:
Young began creating music in his parents' basement while suffering from insomnia. Working alone, Young created a new project in 2007 under the name Owl City. Posting his songs to MySpace and iTunes, Young sold about 2,000 tracks a week and quickly developed a MySpace following.
Young's first musical release under Owl City, Of June, debuted on April 21, 2007. The extended play reached No. 15 on the US Dance/Electronic Albums chart. It has seven tracks, and one, "Hello Seattle", was re-released with Ocean Eyes.
Young's first full-length album, Maybe I'm Dreaming, was released on December 16, 2008, and reached No. 13 on the US Electronic Albums chart.
In 2009, Young signed a deal with the record company Universal Republic. Under this new label, Young released his second full-length album Ocean Eyes and re-released his two previous albums. A single on the album, "Fireflies", sold 650,000 copies in its first week and was the iTunes Single of the Week. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Ocean Eyes reached the top ten in the US album charts and topped the US rock and electronic charts. In February 2010, iTunes released their list of highest-selling songs since 2003 with "Fireflies" listed at No. 24.
After the success of Ocean Eyes, Young began touring internationally. The touring band consisted of Young, Breanne Düren, Matthew Decker, Laura Musten, and Hannah Schroeder. A deluxe version of Ocean Eyes was released on January 26, 2010.
Young released his third album, All Things Bright and Beautiful, on June 14, 2011. The album reached No. 1 on the iTunes Top 10 Electronic Albums in both the US and Canada and received an average of 4.5 stars from customers. The album includes three singles, "Deer in the Headlights", "Alligator Sky", and "Galaxies". The album has a track only available in Japan and the UK, "Shy Violet".
Young stated on his blog in January 2012 that his next album would have the artists JR Rotem, Dr. Luke, Stargate, Brian Kennedy and Emily Wright on board for writing and producing. On May 15, 2012, Owl City released a four-song EP entitled Shooting Star, and later announced that the new album would drop on August 14, which was later changed to August 21. In late May, Young made a four-quadrant revealing cover art event, revealing each of the four squares when 5,000, 10,000, 15,000, and finally 20,000 people share on Facebook or Twitter. On May 29, 2012, the official cover art was revealed. Originally referenced on Twitter as #OCTMS, the OC part being Owl City, TMS was announced as The Midsummer Station. The first single off the album was "Good Time" (featuring Carly Rae Jepsen), the second being "Shooting Star". "Good Time" was released on June 26 on iTunes, and posted to Owl City's SoundCloud account on June 22.
Port Blue is Young's one-man project used for his experimental instrumental, ambient and post-rock productions. Under this name Young has released one album, The Airship (2007), and one EP, The Albatross (2008). Besides Owl City, Port Blue is Young's main project.
A great deal of his most successful Port Blue material still remain officially unreleased. Among these is the album How I Became a Sailor, which includes the popular tracks "Seagulls", "Setting Sail", "On Marlin Isle" and "Asleep in the Yacht". Furthermore, the unreleased 2006 Port Blue album Arctic that holds tracks such as "Snow Fox on Glacier Coast", "Glider" and "Deep Iceberg". The 2004/05-produced EP The Pacific--includes prominent tracks "Base Jumping", "Pond Skater" and "Blue Marlin"--remains unreleased.
Commenting on the Port Blue project, Young said:
'Port Blue' is music that can be heard playing in elevators, hotel lobbies, airports, museums and restaurants inside my head. It is the soundtrack to my dreams. If I wrote music for movies, this is what my film scores would sound like. Much of the aesthetic of Port Blue is not what lies in the recordings but rather what is extracted from them...Dreamscapes. No vocals.
In my opinion, there is a huge lack of imaginative, unconventional music being created by artists today and what little there is, goes widely unappreciated by the masses. 'Port Blue' is my attempt at re-creating the music I want to hear and the emotions I want to feel.
I hope you enjoy my art as much as I enjoyed creating it. If by chance you ever feel as though you've come to know these songs, please consider yourself a friend because in a manner of speaking, you know me. This music is my heart and soul. This is who I am. (Adam R. Young, 2006)
I write a lot of ambient music in a solo project by the name of Port Blue which is largely inspired by bands like Unwed Sailor, Boards of Canada and Hammock. I love the idea of creating wordless abstract music without telling a listener specifically what to think or how to feel. It feels limitless because you can go anywhere, do anything or be anyone in your mind. You can let your imagination go and there's no telling where it might take you. I find my escape in instrumental soundscapes and I definitely plan on writing and releasing more records under Port Blue. It's very dreamy stuff.
On June 1, 2011, Young announced via Twitter that he was working on a new Port Blue song.
June 2012 Young uploaded three new Port Blue productions to his official Tumblr account.
On March 7, 2013, the unreleased Port Blue EP The Pacific was uploaded to the official Port Blue Soundcloud account--soundcloud.com/portbluemusic. The Pacific is a five-track EP, produced back in 2004-2005.
Sky Sailing was started as Young's first solo project in 2007. It is largely acoustic synthpop, recorded on piano, drum kit, and acoustic guitar. One album was released by the project, An Airplane Carried Me to Bed (on the Universal Republic Records label) on July 13, 2010. The album features some of the early recordings of Adam Young, before he toured as Owl City. It was made available exclusively through iTunes.
Young described the collection of songs on his website:
I've kept these recordings secret for a long time and they've never seen the light of day until now. Long before Owl City was ever a spark of a flame, a lot of blue-collared working days were spent absentmindedly daydreaming about what would ultimately become this collection of songs. From the perfectionist musician's perspective, a song is never truly 'finished' but rather 'abandoned' and thus, after a lot of inspiration and reckless experimentation, I emerged from the basement with an 11 song record which I affectionately entitled, An Airplane Carried Me To Bed." - Adam Young
Sky Sailing releases:
An Airplane Carried Me to Bed (2010),
Flowers of the Field - Single (2010),
Collaborations and other work:
Young has provided vocals for different artists/producers and their projects,
Chicane, Giants - "Middledistancerunner" (2010),
Armin van Buuren, Mirage - "Youtopia" (2010),
He Is We, Skip to the Good Part - "All About Us" (2011),
tobyMac, Christmas in Diverse City - "The First Noel" (2011),
Paul van Dyk, Evolution - "Eternity" (2012),
Schiller, Sonne - "Alive" (2012),
Carly Rae Jepsen, Kiss - "Good Time" (2012),
Relient K, Collapsible Lung - "That's My Jam" (2013),
Orjan Nilsen, No Saint Out of Me - "In the Air" (2013),
He has also produced music for other artists, including:
Relient K, Forget and Not Slow Down (Amazon exclusive) - "Terminals" (2009),
Young has remixed several songs by different artists (usually subtitled "Adam Young Remix"), including:
Lights, non-album release - "Saviour" (2010),
Something Corporate, Played in Space: The Best of Something Corporate - "I Woke Up in a Car" (2010),
Breanne Düren, non-album release - "Daydreams (Owl City Remix)" (2011),
Switchfoot, Vice Re-Verses - "Blinding Light" (2012),
Fort Minor, non-album release - "Where'd You Go" (2012),
Carly Rae Jepsen & Owl City, Good Times (Remixes) EP - "Good Time" (2012),
Young resides in his hometown, Owatonna, Minnesota, where he writes and programs all his music. He has mentioned he has Asperger's syndrome, and he has often referred to himself as being deeply shy and socially introverted. Young has said that he enjoys photography and considers himself to be an amateur photographer. He identifies himself as a Christian, and writes about his faith on his blog and through his music.
In high school, Adam Young's favorite movie was Heavyweights. His song "Gimme Burgers" from his 2005 side-project Can You Smell What The Rock Is Cooking?, is a tribute to the film. Snippets of the movie are also played in the background of multiple songs by El Uno Clarence, The One Clarence, another one of Young's side projects (2006-2007).
The Adventures of Flames Pond:
Through 2001-2003, Adam Young, and his childhood friends Andy and Anthony Johnson, created an amateur homemade movie entitled The Adventures of Flames Pond (the title being an obvious pun and reference to James Bond). The movie was filmed in pieces over a period of a few years. The Adventures of Flames Pond was then released in segments on Windsor Airlift's official YouTube channel throughout late 2011 and 2012, and then, in its entirety, on October 1, 2013(due to the sucess of Windsor Airlift's kickstarter for their album Music). Besides the actual movie, two small videos entitled "Flames Pond's Theme Song" and "The Fuzzy Guy's Theme Song" were released as well. The movie has gained a cult following from many Adam Young fans, as it takes a look at his youth.
Flames Pond - Adam Young,
The Fuzzy Guy - Tony Johnson,
Henchmen - Tony Johnson,
Kid #1 - Phil Hammitt,
Kid #2 - Andy Johnson