Owl City in 2009
|Origin||Owatonna, Minnesota, United States|
|Genres||Alternative rock, emo, electronica, synthpop|
|Associated acts||Lights, Swimming with Dolphins, Breanne Duren, Relient K|
Owl City is an American synthpop musical project by Adam Young. Young started out making music in his parents' basement in Owatonna, Minnesota, later developing a following through his MySpace profile before being signed to Universal Republic.
Young's influences are disco and European electronic music. After two independent albums, Owl City gained mainstream popularity from the 2009 major label debut album Ocean Eyes, which spawned the hit single "Fireflies".
Owl City was started by Adam Young in his parents' basement while he worked at a Coca-Cola warehouse, turning to music as a result of his insomnia. Young received much attention for songs he had uploaded to MySpace, the "viral popularity" of which would later result in his signing to Universal Republic. In 2007, Owl City released an EP titled Of June, followed by the 2008 release of the album Maybe I'm Dreaming. Of June reached #20 on the Billboard Electronic Albums chart, and Maybe I'm Dreaming peaked on the same chart at #16.
Owl City's third album Ocean Eyes was released on iTunes July 14, 2009, with the physical release following on July 28, 2009. The album debuted at #27 on the Billboard 200. Owl City has released four singles, "Hello Seattle", "Hot Air Balloon", "Strawberry Avalanche", and "Fireflies". "Fireflies" topped the US and Canadian charts and became the most-downloaded song on iTunes in the US. Ocean Eyes reached the top ten on the US album charts and topped the US electronic charts and also reached Amazon MP3's top 10 most downloaded album list. By December 2009, it was certified Gold in the United States. On 24 January 2010, Owl City reached the number 1 spot in the UK Top 40 Singles chart with "Fireflies".
Young is joined by Breanne Düren on several tracks; the most noted being "The Saltwater Room." Owl City's live band consists of: Breanne Duren (background vocals/keyboards), Matthew Decker (drums), Laura Musten (violin), and Hannah Schroeder (cello). He will likely collaborate with Lights in early 2010 on his new tour in the US, Asia, Australia and Europe.
Relient K vocalist Matt Thiessen has toured and collaborated with Owl City on several tracks including in the hit single "Fireflies", where Matt can be heard as the backup vocals. Young also produced Relient K's song "Terminals". Thiessen stated that it is very likely that he and Young will produce a side project called Goodbye Dubai in the future.
"Fireflies" was released as a free download on the iPod/iPhone game Tap Tap Revenge 3 by Tapulous. Prior to the July 14, 2009 internet release of Ocean Eyes, and the "Fireflies" single, Steve Hoover was hired as a director for a music video for "Fireflies". The video had an exclusive premiere on MySpace, but was leaked onto the video viewing websites, YouTube and Dailymotion hours earlier. "Fireflies" became a big sleeper hit, topping the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States for the week ending November 7, 2009.
On Monday, December 7, 2009 Owl City was shortlisted as one of the 15 acts for the BBC Sound of 2010.
Owl City has been stated to play within the musical genres of electronica, synthpop, emo and alternative. Young has stated that he is inspired by disco and European electronic music and also lists Self, Imogen Heap, Relient K, Boards of Canada and Armin van Buuren as influential artists.
Adam Young suggested in a 2009 interview with The New York Times that Owl City is perhaps the "next chapter" after The Postal Service:
[The Postal Service] released a record in 2003, and that was it. There was really nothing to compare it to until some one else came along and wrote the next chapter. Maybe that's this record. Maybe that's this band.—Adam Young, The New York Times, From Mom’s Basement to the Top of the Chart
Adam is also the lead of four other projects, Port Blue, Windsor Airlift, Insect Airport, and Seagull Orchestra, each of which are based around a specific genre, such as ambient sounds and oceanic music. The majority of these projects consist of songs entirely constructed from the sounds produced by a synthesizer, and do not include accompanying lyrics. These four side-projects are not as popular as Owl City, Adam's main project, but have a small fan-base of around 500.
Owl City is an American pop music project by Adam Young.