For the last several years, Adam Young has operated out of the basement of a house on a quiet, residential street in the tiny Midwestern town of Owatonna, Minnesota (pop. 25,000). There in his windowless underground bunker, which he has dubbed Sky Harbor Studios, the 32-year-old singer,
songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist has built something of an empire, one that encompasses his work with his platinum-selling electro-pop alter ego Owl City, as well as composing songs for several major animated feature films; writing, producing, and engineering tracks for a wide variety of artists; and creating sound design for technology giant Apple.
The film, production, and sound design work have all sprung from the reputation and success Young has earned with Owl City, which he launched in 2007. His Owl City debut LP, Ocean Eyes, topped the Billboard Rock, Alternative, and Dance/Electronic charts and was certified platinum in the U.S., launching both an online savvy and radio-friendly career that the New York Times called “a textbook illustration of how the music business needs new and old forms of media to make an artist a star.” Its eye-popping ubiquity made Owl City an international phenomenon able to perform sold-out headlining shows in the U.S., Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. Young followed up Ocean Eyes with two subsequent Top 10 albums and a double platinum selling single that hit No. 1 in Canada, New Zealand, and South Korea and went Top 10 in the U.S., the U.K., and Japan.
Young’s winning melodies and ability to write songs that emotionally connect with millions of listeners soon caught the attention of music supervisors and film directors. In 2010, director Zack Snyder (Watchmen & 300) asked Young to write the theme song for his animated film Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (“To The Sky”). In 2012, Young was asked to write an original composition for Disney Animation’s Oscar-winning film Wreck-It Ralph (“When Can I See You Again?”). In 2013, Young’s songs turned up in Dreamworks Animation’s The Croods (“Shine Your Way”) and Veggietales (“Light of Christmas”), as well as Sony Pictures’ Smurfs 2 (“Live It Up”). He has served as a writer, producer, engineer, mixer, and vocalist on several of these songs.
Young has also turned his multiple talents toward working with other artists, including writing and singing on tracks by music DJs, Armin Van Buuren and Paul Van Dyk, as well as British dance artist Chicane. He has also shown his versatility by performing various duties for artists spanning multiple genres, including rock (John Mayer, Dispatch, Switchfoot, Jars of Clay, Something Corporate, Relient K), indie-pop (He Is We, Lights, Breanne Düren), and hip-hop (Outasight). Young’s full discography can be found here