An innovative, Minnesota-based multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and performer, Adam Young is best known as the mastermind behind the chart-topping electro-pop project Owl City — he has also recorded under the aliases Port Blue, Sky Sailing, and Insect Airport. Young launched the project in 2007 while living at his parents' home in Owatonna. Troubled by insomnia, he began spending his evenings in the household basement, where a computer and several instruments provided a diversion from his sleeping patterns. He eventually combined those diversions into a blend of electronica and emo-pop, using little more than his computer and various keyboards to record the material. Songs were uploaded to MySpace upon completion, and Young began attracting a surprising amount of attention on the networking site. Of particular note was "Hello Seattle," a fabricated ode to the Emerald City whose viral popularity earned Young a record contract with Universal Republic.
Ocean Eyes, his first album for the label, was released in 2009, coinciding with the launch of Owl City's first national tour. While on the road, Young watched as "Fireflies" became one of the year's most popular singles, eventually topping the charts in several countries (including the U.S.) and selling more than three million copies. Subsequent Owl City releases All Things Bright and Beautiful (2011), The Midsummer Station (2012), and Mobile Orchestra scaled similar heights, and in 2016 he began releasing, under his own name, an ambitious monthly series of instrumental scores based on historical events. ~ Andrew Leahey