Adam Young (born July 5, 1986) is an American musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and the founder of the electronic project Owl City. He has also fronted several other musical projects, including Sky Sailing, Port Blue, and Swimming with Dolphins.
Young originally began creating music in his parents' basement while suffering from insomnia. Working alone, Young posted his fizzy electro-pop songs to MySpace and iTunes, selling about 2,000 tracks a week under the name Owl City. Young quickly developed a MySpace following and self-released an EP and a full-length album.
Owl City's first musical release, Of June, debuted on April 21, 2007. Despite being independently released, it still reached No. 15 on the US Dance/Electronic Albums chart. It has seven tracks, and one, "Hello Seattle", was re-released with Ocean Eyes.
His first full-length album, Maybe I'm Dreaming, was released on December 16, 2008, and reached No. 13 on the US Electronic Albums chart, also without the support of a record label. This album earned Young a substantial fanbase, and as a result he toured throughout the United States, with band members Austin Tofte on keys and backing vocals, Matthew Decker on drums, and occasionally Breanne Düren also on keys and backing vocals.
In 2009, Young signed a deal with the record company Universal Republic. Under this new label, he released his second full-length album Ocean Eyes and re-released his two previous albums. His hit single "Fireflies" sold 650,000 copies in its first week and was the iTunes Single of the Week. It later went on to reach 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 (lead vocals, guitar, keys, drums), Breanne Düren (backup vocals/keyboard), Matthew Decker (drums), Laura Musten (violin), and Hannah Schroeder (cello). A deluxe version of Ocean Eyes was released on January 26, 2010, containing the bonus tracks "Rugs From Me to You", "Strawberry Avalanche", and "Hot Air Balloon".
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.
On June 29, 2010, Young announced that he would be releasing his early recordings under the name Sky Sailing. He began making music under the moniker Sky Sailing around 2006. Sky Sailing's debut album, An Airplane Carried Me to Bed, was made available exclusively through iTunes on July 13, 2010.
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 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.
Young has provided vocals for different artists/producers and their projects, including:
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 also 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),
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.