Adam Young

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Adam Young
Adam Young performing as Owl City in 2009
Background information
Birth name Adam Randal Young
Also known as Owl City, Port Blue, Sky Sailing
Born (1986-07-05) July 5, 1986 (age 27)
Origin Owatonna, Minnesota
Genres Electropop, synthpop, indietronica
Occupations Producer, musician, singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, programming, keyboards
Years active 2007–present
Labels Universal Republic, Sky Harbor, Port Blue
Associated acts Owl City, Carly Rae Jepsen, Sky Sailing, Swimming With Dolphins, Windsor Airlift, Port Blue, Seagull Orchestra, Lights, Keehar

Adam Young (born July 5, 1986) is an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He is best known as the producer of his electronic music project Owl City. Young has also fronted several other musical projects, such as Sky Sailing and Port Blue. He is also co-founder of the bands Windsor Airlift and Swimming With Dolphins.


2002-07: Early career

Prior to 2007, Young created several side projects. In 2002, Young, with Anthony and Andy Johnson, formed a pop punk band named Windsor Airlift. The band released The Basement EP in April 2003 and subsequently began performing at several local shows. Over the next two years, Windsor Airlift would release two albums entitled Selections for a Fallen Soldier, containing music influenced by Unwed Sailor.

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.

2007-present: Owl City

Young began creating music in his parents' basement while suffering from insomnia.[1] 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[2] 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.[3]

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[4] 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.[citation needed]

Port Blue

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.[5]

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)[this quote needs a citation]
"..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".[6]

On June 1, 2011, Young announced via Twitter that he was working on a new Port Blue song.[7]

June 2012 Young uploaded three new Port Blue productions to his official Tumblr account.[citation needed]

On March 7, 2013, the unreleased Port Blue EP The Pacific was uploaded to the official Port Blue Soundcloud account— The Pacific is a five-track EP, produced back in 2004–2005.

Sky Sailing

Sky Sailing was started as Young's first solo project in 2007.[8] 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.[9]

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

Studio albums
  • 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,

He has also produced music for other artists, including:

Young has remixed several songs by different artists (usually subtitled "Adam Young Remix"), including:

Personal life

Young resides in his hometown, Owatonna, Minnesota, where he writes and programs all his music. He has mentioned he has Asperger's syndrome,[11] 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.[12] He identifies himself as a Christian, and writes about his faith on his blog and through his music.[13]

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 2012, and then, in its entirety, on October 1, 2013.[14] 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


  1. ^ Dubois, Genevieve (21 December 2012). "Exclusive: Owl City's Adam Young interview". SheKnows. Retrieved 28 March 2014. 
  2. ^ Sisario, Ben (November 20, 2009). "From Mom’s Basement to the Top of the Chart". The New York Times. Retrieved February 15, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Factbox: Most-downloaded iTunes songs". TVNZ. February 26, 2010. Retrieved February 15, 2011. 
  4. ^ James Montgomery (May 9, 2011). "Owl City Moves Out Of The Basement On All Things Bright And Beautiful". MTV. Retrieved May 11, 2011. 
  5. ^ [1]. interview. July 19, 2011
  6. ^ [2]. Interview. February 21, 2010.
  7. ^ Working on a new Port Blue song.. Twitter
  8. ^ Project Home-site; Sky Sailing online; retrieved March 2014.
  9. ^ "Sky Sailing offers free track download". Sky Harbor Entertainment. June 29, 2010. Retrieved February 15, 2011. 
  10. ^ Where'd You Go (Adam Young remix)
  11. ^ Fischer, Reed (September 10, 2010). "Q&A: Owl City's Adam Young on Collaborating With Shaquille O'Neal and (Unrelated) Not Soiling His Drawers". New Times Broward-Palm Beach. Village Voice Media. Retrieved August 13, 2012. "[Adam Young:] I'm from Minnesota, and I have Asperger's syndrome, so I have no idea what karaoke is." 
  12. ^ Randal, Adam. "Adam Randal Photography". Retrieved October 1, 2012. 
  13. ^ Owl City Blog; Owl City Blog; retrieved September 15, 2011.
  14. ^ "Flames Pond the movie on YouTube". Retrieved March 23, 2014. 

External links