MOUNT UNION - Several years ago, Adam Young was just a quiet, small-town guy writing music in his parents' basement.
Then Young's musical career skyrocketed to international acclaim in 2009 with his album "Ocean Eyes" and the song "Fireflies."
Better known as Owl City, Young grew up in a small town of about 25,000 in Minnesota, his mother a teacher and father a mechanic, according to a press release about his latest album, "All Things Bright And Beautiful."
Adam Young, the introverted midwestern musician who is Owl City, will perform at the 2011 Creation Festival.
Before "Fireflies," he was attending community college and working dead-end jobs such as loading trucks in a warehouse, the release states.
He began creating melodies and beats on his laptop as a way to combat insomnia and eventually self-released an EP and an album, both of which reached the Top 20 on Billboard's Electronic Albums chart, the release states.
This week, Young is headed back to small-town America to perform among the featured artists at the 2011 Creation Festival in Mount Union. He is scheduled to perform Saturday evening, right before TobyMac gives the closing concert for the festival.
Owl City's new tour opened earlier this month with the release of his new album, where Young continues to unfold his imagination into whimsical melodies that capture the radiance of God's creation.
Recognized both in secular and Christian music realms, Young has been eager to share his faith in Christ through his music.
"Music is something that I can't imagine living without, and though it means more to me than the world itself, there is something that weighs significantly heavier on the scale of all things valuable and important in my life, that being my relationship with Jesus Christ," Young said in a press release about his new album. "Creating art has been my dream since elementary school. It's the only thing I'm good at and looking back on the years, I am left breathless, completely and utterly bereft of speech at how the Lord has chosen to use music in my life and what I do as Owl City."
On Thursday, he answered a few questions about his faith, small-town life and new career in an email interview with The Sentinel.
What has it been like adjusting to your new career? Are there things you miss about small-town life? Ironically, I've begun to have a bit of an intense dislike for big cities, and by extension, I've fallen in love with small towns even more than I did before I started touring. LA and NYC make me feel incredibly uncomfortable, and I usually can't wait to escape. However, I do inevitably get the itch to hit the road if I've been home for a handful of weeks or months and the same goes for the end of a long tour. As long as I've got variety of both lives, I'm a happy camper. I love being incredibly anti-social at home, but I love traveling on tour so it works out nicely.
How do you keep your faith strong while working in a secular entertainment world? Who/what has influenced your faith the most? It's all about surrounding myself with the right people. I truly believe the temptations would be impossible to say no to if it weren't for the family of people that tour with me. I'm an only child so they're truly the brothers and sisters I've never had.
What was the main thing that really triggered your success in the music world? Your song "Fireflies" was credited with that, but how did you really go from recording songs in your parents' basement to becoming an internationally known recording artist? Do you have any advice for young, small-town musicians who are passionate about using their talents for Jesus? I'm honestly not really sure what happened between recording music in my basement and playing at Madison Square Garden. It all happened in a whirlwind and I'm still trying to figure out what happened. All I know to do is drop to my knees every day in praise to the Lord Jesus for allowing me to do what I love most in life. Music is the ONE thing I've ever been good so needless to say, the past two years has been a dream come true and I've got nothing but thanks to God. As far as advice, I might suggest just staying true to who you are an artist, ensuring that you're writing music from the heart and not for iTunes or Billboard or whatever is trendy. Make the kind of music you truly feel called to create.
How does it feel to be one of the headline artists at Creation, the largest Christian music festival in the U.S.? It's an incredible honor! I'm absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to play at such a legendary Christian festival. Very excited and really looking forward to it!