Owl City is the stage name of electronic pop musician Adam Young. He brings the quirky, sweet songs from his debut album "Ocean Eyes" to the Paramount on April 1.
Hello Seattle. Hello Owl City.
Adam Young — the 23-year-old Minnesotan behind the electronic pop outfit Owl City — brings his catchy track “Hello Seattle” to the city that inspired it April 1 at The Paramount.
Looking for tickets? It’s already sold out, along with more than half of the other dates on his current world tour.
It’s no stretch to say Young has had one of those years any kid making late-night music on his computer in his parents’ basement dreams about. His first record-label-supported album, “Ocean Eyes,” debuted at No. 27 on the Billboard charts. By December it was certified Gold in the U.S. The single “Fireflies” topped out the Billboard charts twice and has been charting for 30 weeks. It’s been downloaded millions of times.
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“It’s still a really foreign feeling to me. The idea that something I created is known by others? It’s a very overwhelming emotion,” Young typed in an e-mail sent from his tour leg in Australia.
And that’s not lip service. Until this past year Young was living with his folks, working at a Coca-Cola warehouse in Owatonna, Minn., and recording insomnia-fueled tracks he would upload to MySpace.
There he found his audience. When he first posted tracks on the social-networking site and on iTunes, he sold roughly 2,000 tracks in a week. Not too shabby for a purely grass-roots effort.
Soon he collected more than 400,000 MySpace fans and a record deal with Universal Republic. His progression from Web unknown to relative stardom is the aspiration of scores of musicians on MySpace hoping the right person will click “play” on one of their songs.
There’s no denying Owl City sounds a lot like The Postal Service (the side project of Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard), something pretty much every review of the album has dinged Young for. You hear the similarities in everything from Young’s lonely-boy vocals to peppy, whimsical beats that pay direct homage to Jimmy Tamborello’s eloquent work on The Postal Service’s 2003 album “Give Up.” (For the record, Young says the similarities are purely coincidental).
But originality be damned. “Ocean Eyes” is sweet, simple and satisfying. Its light, skittery melodies loop around quirky-coffee-shop lyrics like “To ten thousand fireflies/I’m weird ’cause I hate goodbyes/I got misty eyes as they said farewell.” You imagine sketchbook doodles, cute barista crushes, rainy weekends. In a sense: Seattle.
“Seattle always seemed like the other side of the world to me. I remember staring out the window during class in high school imagining what it was like,” Young said. “The irony of the track is that it’s a love song to a place I’d never visited.”
Joanna Horowitz: firstname.lastname@example.org