Adam Randal Young is an American musician and singer-songwriter who is the only constant member of the electronica project called Owl City. He first came to prominence with the release of the six-time platinum single ‘Fireflies’ in 2009. A native of Iowa, Adam relocated to Minnesota with his family when he was still a child. After graduating from high school, he started working at a Coca-Cola shipping warehouse. During this period, he began composing melodies in his head and later set up a recording studio in his parents’ basement. Soon enough, Young was recording songs and uploading them on his Myspace account. Following the success of ‘Fireflies’, Young went on to release several albums under Owl City. He is also attached to several other music projects, including Sky Sailing, Port Blue, and Swimming with Dolphins. For ‘Wreck-It Ralph’, the 2012 animated film in which his music had been used, Young won the 2013 Annie Award for Music in an Animated Feature Production and the 2013 ASCAP Film and Television Music Award for Top Box Office Films.
Adam Young had severe insomnia when he was employed at the Coca-Cola shipping warehouse and spent the nights composing songs. With his music being available on Myspace, he soon began to attract followers. In September 2007, Owl City released their first extended play ‘Of June’. Their first studio album was put out about a year later, in March 2008; it was titled ‘Maybe I’m Dreaming’.
Young was gradually becoming a viral phenomenon through his music on Myspace and it caught the attention of Universal Republic presidents Avery and Monte Lipman. They signed Young and paired him up with Steve Bursky of Foundations Artist Management. Young’s contract with Universal Republic was finalised in February 2009.
While the record label initially wanted Young to work with major music producers, they gave up on the idea after Bursky suggested that they should let Young do whatever he was doing, as it had been working. Owl City’s second album, ‘Ocean Eyes’, was released on iTunes on July 14, 2009, followed up by its physical release on 28 July. ‘Fireflies’, which was the debut single from the album, reached the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained there for two consecutive weeks.
In the ensuing years, Owl City put out four more studio albums: ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ (June 2011), ‘The Midsummer Station’ (August 2012), ‘Mobile Orchestra’ (July 2015), and ‘Cinematic’ (June 2018). The current roster of the group comprises Breanne Düren (keyboards and backup vocals) Jasper Nephew (guitar), Rob Morgan (bass guitar and music producer), Gabriel Hagan (drums), and Young. One of the past members of the group is Daniel Jorgensen, who, in 2017, pleaded guilty to lewdness with a child and was sentenced to two years’ probation in Minneapolis.
In 2012, Owl City released the single ‘Good Time’ as the lead single from their fourth studio album ‘The Midsummer Station’. A collaborative effort with the Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen, ‘Good Time’ achieved global success, with platinum certifications from both the RIAA and the ARIA. The song garnered the project the VEVO Certified Award for 100,000,000 Views and the Billboard Japan Music Awards for Hot Top Airplay of the Year and the Digital & Airplay Overseas of the Year. Their music has been used in many animated films, including ‘Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole’ (2010), ‘The Croods’ (2013) and ‘The Smurfs 2’ (2013).
Young released one album titled ‘An Airplane Carried Me to Bed’ under his first solo project, Sky Sailing. Created in 2007, it was not released until 2010. Under his side-project Port Blue, Young released ‘The Airship’ (2007), ‘The Albatross EP’ (2008), and ‘The Pacific EP’ (2013). He also co-founded the electronica group Swimming with Dolphins with Austin Tofte in 2008. The band put out an EP titled ‘Ambient Blue’ in 2008 and a studio album titled ‘Water Colours’ in 2011. Besides these, Young has been involved in several other music projects over the course of his career, including Insect Airport, Keehar, The Grizzly, Windsor Airlift, Aquarium, Dolphin Park, Apes with Guns, and The Atlantic.
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Adam Young was born on July 5, 1986, in Ottumwa, Iowa, to Randal and Joan Young. He is their only child. The family later moved to Owatonna, Minnesota, where Adam was raised. He studied at Owatonna Senior High School and after graduation, was hired at a Coca-Cola shipping warehouse. While working, he used to compose melodies in his head. He set up a studio in his parents’ basement and used it to record his songs and put them up on his Myspace account.
A devout Christian, Young once said that his faith is the only thing more important to him than music. He is a self-confessed introvert and has voiced his belief that he has the symptoms of Asperger syndrome, despite never having been diagnosed with it.
Young is dating a photographer named Abbey Olmsted, who has a considerable presence on Instagram.