In today’s world of radio ready music, there’s very little originality hitting the waves. Musicians are constantly under fire for borrowing or outright stealing melodies, and for the most part it goes unnoticed or unmentioned. However, in a recent lawsuit issued by singer/songwriter Allyson Nichole Burnett, it looks like Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City‘s Adam Young will have some explaining to do to the courts for their recent summer hit, Good Time. Check out more details after the jump. (more…)
Last year, Owl City was riding a huge wave of success, buoyed by a multi-album major label deal and collaborations with GRAMMY award“winning producers. It was hard to imagine that Adam Young’s star could rise any higher. Leave it to him to prove us wrong. Since we last spoke to the singer-songwriter, his electropop project has gotten even bigger. He recently teamed up with pop queen of the moment Carly Rae Jepsen to record “Good Time,” a chart“topping summer smash, and released his fourth studio album, The Midsummer Station in August. We caught up with Young to chat about the collaborative process with Jepsen, his love of Dutch DJs, and his literary inspirations.
OS: Good Time” was a huge hit this past summer. Did you go into the studio with that goal in mind, and how did the process of collaboration work?
AY: I definitely didn’t expect the reception the song has been getting. It is an honor when you see and hear such positive feedback. Carly was an absolute pleasure to work with. It turned out she was a fan of my music and our managers knew each other, so I asked her to be on the song, sent her the stems, and within a day she sent her parts back to me.
OS: Good Time has the lyric What’s up with this Prince song inside my head? Which song are you referring to? As a fellow Minnesotan, are you a Prince fan?
AY: “Purple Rain” and yes, massive fan. (more…)
Widely known for his breakthrough single, Fireflies, Owl City has mentioned the possibility of recording a “screamo rock” album in the future. The electronica act, whose real name is Adam Young, told BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat that he grew up wanting to do nothing else except that. I haven’t had a chance to do it, and do it right. Young is releasing his fourth album on Aug. 21 titled The Midsummer Station, featuring collaborations with Carly Rae Jepsen, Katy Perry/Kelly Clarkson producer Dr. Luke, and Rihanna/Ne-Yo co-writing team Stargate. Growing up I was really into the whole underground, obscure, artsy, heavy, screamo, chaotic, angry angst music. I love it. That was my thing “ that’s what I identified with.
Young expressed concern with whether or not his fans would take to the new project and the drastic change in style. I feel like I could do it right. Do it all myself and record it all and make it sound good. It’s tempting. It might go over the heads of my fans but it might open some new doors and that’s what it’s all about. Every now and again I need to put on one of my old records [that] make me feel that same thing. There’s a place for that.
There’s no word yet on whether the Owatonna, Minnesota multi-instrumentalist would pull a Snoop Lion and take on a fiercer animal name (though our vote is for ˜Pterodactyl Town). You can watch Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen’s video for Good Time below.
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Carly Rae Jepsen is in luck. It looks like she won’t have to ensure the continuation of her celebrity run after Call Me Maybe falls from its current summit by relying on the hoopla generated by her own Nipplegate”nude photos that ended up being someone else’s.
Thanks to a call from Adam Young, the one-man band behind Owl City, Jepsen is about to relight the fire under her rising star the old-fashioned way: with a new hit. “Good Time,” her duet with Owl City, just debuted at No. 18 on Billboard’s Hot 100, which means that her breakout No. 1 single won’t forever be alone on her hit list.
It’s pop symbiosis at its most effective: He saves her from that pop purgatory known as one-hit wonderdom, where he had been languishing since 2009, when the Owl City single “Fireflies” hit No. 1 on the Hot 100, and she helps get him out of it. Sure Katy Perry could have accomplished the same thing in the middle of a dead sleep, but that hardly would have been a meeting of near-equals.
Marie Hines is a purveyor of rosy piano melodies, a feminine counterpoint to songwriter Adam Young of Owl City. Both write songs steeped in hope and whimsy, viewing the world around them with a mix of wide-eyed wonder and sensitivity. Hines, however, steers her songs into chamber pop territory, mixing piano with violin, cello, guitar and drums. Worth The Fight is an orchestra of optimism, where Hines promises the listener that there are Bigger pictures to paint / More horizons to chase. In Wrapped Up In Love she switches gears for a sweet shuffle somewhere between Sara Bareilles and Natasha Bedingfield. Like Young, Hines also has a song called Fireflies. Hers blends the high twinkle of piano with the low croon of cello for a swooning, moonlit melody. Hines has plenty of horizons left to chase, and they’re sure to be just as lovely. Stick around for the joy ride.
For a multi-platinum artist currently in the middle of a massive world tour, Owl City had remarkably humble beginnings. Adam Young, the man behind the synth-pop phenomenon, began writing songs as Owl City during his off time as a Coca-Cola truck loader in Owatonna, Minnesota. After Universal Republic caught on to the growing speed of Young’s MySpace fan base, it reissued his first full-length album and offered him a multi-record deal. Four years later Young is still flying high, and this June he released his third full-length All Things Bright and Beautiful. We recently caught up with him to talk about the challenges of being a frontman, what it’s like to work with Jack Joseph Puig, and what advice he would give to unsigned artists.
OS: From Strawberry Avalanche to Hello Seattle, you’ve noted a lot of strange and interesting inspirations for songs in the past. What’s the inspiration behind this new batch of songs?
AY: Predominantly, my imagination. I enjoy writing songs purely from the imagination rather than pulling from my own personal experiences because the end result is so much more quirky and bizarre and dark. That’s always been way more interesting to me than writing about a lovestruck relationship or some specific personal scenario.
OS: Your song January 28, 1986 is a reference to the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster, but you weren’t born until a few months after it happened. Why did you write a song about the event?
AY: I grew up hearing about it and it was something very dear to my heart as a kid. I wanted to pay respect to the disaster and honor the lives that were lost.
OS: Unlike many artists, you produced and engineered your two major label releases by yourself. Why have you remained in charge of those aspects of your music?
AY: I feel like creative integrity is something I couldn’t live without. If some A&R guy was always around telling me to recut vocals and make them more “passionate” or something, I’d go insane. I like being my own boss because my vision for music has always been so defined.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I headed to Owl City‘s June 26th show at Boston’s House of Blues. After all, Adam Young’s electropop project is famous for earning a 1/10 from those notorious indie tastemakers over at Pitchfork for sounding too similar to The Postal Service. How good could his show be? Well, pretty damn good, actually, as a sea of poster-wielding fans in homemade tee shirts”a level of fandom formerly reserved for JoBros fanatics and Beliebers”will attest.
Seattle’s Unwed Sailor kicked off the evening with their triumphant instrumental rock. For those who haven’t yet heard from them, picture a more uplifting version of Minus the Bear, then subtract the vocals and add insistent cymbal crashes. The four-piece elicited cheers from a crowd who showed up to hear a fun and dance-y electropop outfit, which in itself is a testament to their skill. Unwed Sailor was followed by singer-songwriter Mat Kearney, whose name you probably know from catchy, television drama-ready hits like Undeniable and Nothing Left to Lose. Kearney drew heavily from his smash 2006 album Nothing Left to Lose as well as his 2009 follow-up City of Black and White, but closed out his set with Hey Mama, the foot-stomping, hand-clapping romp of a first single from his upcoming album Young Love.
And then, at ten minutes to 9:00, Owl City took the stage to shrieks and thunderous applause. Here was the moment of truth: Would an artist who’s famous for largely writing and recording his breakout album Ocean Eyes in his parents’ Minnesota basement, and is often described as reclusive and press shy be able to wow the audience? Everything I know about him led me to believe he’d pull a Ray LaMontagne and spend the set huddled in a corner of the stage, barely making eye contact with the audience. That all changed the moment Young stepped up to the mic and launched into The Real World, belting out his lyrics while practically attacking his guitar. This was no basement-dwelling hermit, but a rock star who was perfectly at home both playing for and chatting with the sizeable crowd.
Throughout the course of his set, Young told fans that they were kind, sweet, cozy and very huggable” all terms that could describe Owl City’s comfortable, radio-friendly pop. But that’s not to say Young’s set lacked vigor. He delivered pristine electropop gem after pristine electropop gem to the adoring crowd, and although it was one with a slightly younger mean age than those usually present at the House of Blues, even this jaded, wordly 20-year-old found herself smiling at the unbridled cheer his music inspired.
Perhaps most impressively, Young didn’t rely on the runaway success of hits like Hello Seattle or Fireflies to carry him through the evening. He made the ballsy decision to play the former only two songs into his set and unleash the latter with a half hour left to play, letting lesser-known tracks like “Umbrella Beach” and “The Bird and the Worm” stand on their own. The synth master even had a few tricks up his sleeve”during “Alligator Sky,” rapper Shawn Chrystopher makes an appearance via some sort of crazy, futuristic hologram projection thingy. I couldn’t tell you how it works, but it looked totally awesome.
Boston, I kind of have a crush on you, Young joked as he neared the end of his set, a feeling that 90% of the females in attendance (and probably some of the young men as well) certainly reciprocated. But after witnessing the levels of fun and joy Young’s music inspired, that adoration seems more than deserved. Those tweens in their homemade shirts are onto something.
Don’t miss Owl City when the All Things Bright And Beautiful Tour rolls through your town!