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Owl City
Owl City Live-7878.jpg
Origin Owatonna, Minnesota
Label(s) Universal Republic
Genre(s) Snythpop, Electronica, Alternative rock
Years active 2007 - present
Associated acts 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 U.S. Billboard Hot 100 #1 hit single,UK #1 hit single and AUS #1 hit single "Fireflies".


Early years (2007–08)

Owl City was started by Adam Young in his parents' basement while he worked at a Coca-Cola warehouse,[1][2] turning to music as a result of his insomnia.[3] 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.[3][4] 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.[5]

Owl City's first two records were released while Young was unsigned. In early 2009, music industry website "Crazed Hits" leaked that Owl City signed with the major label Universal Republic.[6]

Ocean Eyes (2009)

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".[7] "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 Breanna Duren 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.[8][9]

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.[10]

"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,[11] 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.[12]

Owl City is featured on Soundtrack 90210 with a song entitled "Sunburn", which was released on October 13, 2009.[13] Owl City has toured with The Scene Aesthetic and Brooke Waggoner.

On Monday, December 7, 2009 Owl City was shortlisted as one of the 15 acts for the BBC Sound of 2010.

Owl City is currently touring with Lights and Deas Vail.

Influences and contemporaries

Owl City has been stated to play within the musical genres of electronica, synthpop, emo and alternative.[14][14] Young has stated that he is inspired by disco and European electronic music[15] and also lists Self, Imogen Heap, Relient K, Boards of Canada and Armin van Buuren as influential artists.[citation needed]

Owl City has been compared to The Postal Service, with a number of publications going as far as accusing Owl City of "ripping off" the Postal Service.[1][16][17][18][19][20][21] Adam Young, while admitting to being a fan of the Postal Service and acknowledging some influence, has dismissed the comparisons.[22]

Other projects

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.


Studio Albums


  • Of June (2007)
  • Shooting Star (2012)
  • Ultraviolet (2014)


  • Hot Air Balloon (2009)
  • Strawberry Avalanche (2009)
  • Fireflies (2009)
  • Vanilla Twilight (2010)
  • To The Sky (2010)
  • Peppermint Winter (2010)
  • Good Time (with Carly Rae Jepsen) (2012)


by RedellaLGTYAG (YouTube)

Of June EP (4/21/2007)

1. Swimming In Miami
2. Captains and Cruise Ships
3. Designer Skyline
4. Panda Bear
5. The Airway
6. Fuzzy Blue Lights
7. Hello Seattle

Maybe I'm Dreaming (4/21/2008)

1. On The Wing
2. Rainbow Veins
3. Super Honeymoon
4. Ths Saltwater Room
5. Early Birdie
6. Air Traffic
7. The Technicolor Phase
8. Sky Driver
9. Dear Vienna
10. I'll Meet You There
11. This Is The Future
12. West Coast Friendship

Ocean Eyes (7/14/2009)

1. Cave In
2. The Bird and The Worm
3. Hello Seattle
4. Umbrella Beach
5. The Saltwater Room
6. Dental Care
7. Meteor Shower
8. On The WIng
9. Fireflies*
10. The Tip of The Iceberg
11. Vanilla Twilight*
12. Tidal Wave

Ocean Eyes Deluxe Edition (1/26/2010)

(Every track in Ocean Eyes AND)
13. Hot Air Baloon*
14. Butterfly Wings
15. Rugs From Me to You
16. Sunburn
17. Hello Seattle (Remix)
18. If My Heart Was a House
19. Strawberry Avalanche*

All Things Bright and Beautiful (6/14/2011)

1. The Real World
2. Deer In The Headlights
3. Angels
4. Dreams Don't Turn to Dust
5. Honey and the Bee
6. Kamikaze
7. January 28 1986
8. Galaxies
9. Hospital Flowers
10. Aligator Sky (Featuring Shawn Chrystopher)
11. Yauht Club
12. Plant Life

Shooting Star EP (5/15/2012)

1. Shooting Star
2. Gold
3. Dementia (Featuring Mark Hoppus)
4. Take It All Away

The Midsummer Station (8/21/2012)

1. Dreams and Disasters
2. Shooting Star
3. Gold
4. Dementia
5. I'm Coming After You
6. Speed of Love
7. Good Time*
8. Embers
9. Silhouette
10. Metropolis
11. Take It All Away
*Released as a single ahead of time.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Riemenschneider, Chris. "Whooo's Owl City?", 2009-02-17. Retrieved on 2009-11-26. 
  2. Sisario, Ben. "Adam Young, aka Owl City, Finds Pop Success", New York Times, 20 November 2009. Retrieved on 24 December 2009. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Frenette, Brad (2009-07-28). "Band of the Day: Owl City". The National Post. Archived from the original on 2010-01-13. Retrieved 2010-01-13. 
  4. Leahey, Andrew. "Owl City - Biography". Allmusic. Archived from the original on 2010-01-13. Retrieved 2010-01-13. 
  5. "Owl City > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-27. 
  6. Wilhelm, Alex (2009-02-07). "Owl City signs to Universal Republic". Crazed Hits. Retrieved 2009-11-27. 
  7. "Free Download Owl City's new track: "Hot Air Balloon"". 
  8. "Winter 2010 US Announced, plus debuts in Asia, Australia and Europe", 2009-10-12. 
  9. "Winter 2010 Tour Pre-sale Has Begun!", 2009-10-16. 
  10. "Interviews". Indie Vision Music. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 
  11. "Info On MySpace premier of Fireflies Music Video off of an Owl City Fan Website". 
  12. Pietroluongo, Sylvio. "Owl City's "Fireflies" Lands at No. 1 on Hot 100",, 2009-10-29. Retrieved on 2009-10-29. 
  13. "Sunburn". Retrieved 2010-01-06. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Leahey, Andrew. "Owl City > Overview". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2009-11-05. "He eventually combined those diversions into a blend of electronica and emo-pop, ..." 
  15. Fitzmaurice, Larry (2008-06-01). "Hot New Band: Owl City". Spin. Retrieved 2009-11-27. 
  16. Westhoff, Ben. "Owl City: The Latest In A Long Line Of Rip-Offs", 2009-10-28. Retrieved on 2009-11-26. 
  17. "Owl City Pretty Much Admit Ripping Off Postal Service". Stereogum. 2009-11-05. Retrieved 2009-11-26. 
  18. Pastorek, Whitney (2009-10-29). "Owl City hits No. 1 so the Postal Service don't have to". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-11-26. 
  19. Smallman, Isaiah. "Owl City provides an easy listen, but what else?", 2009-11-12. Retrieved on 2009-11-26. 
  20. Cohen, Ian (2009-11-05). "Track Reviews: Owl City - "Fireflies"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2009-11-26. 
  21. Firecloud, Johnny (2009-11-23). "The 6 Most Shameless Rip-Off Bands In Rock". Crave Online. Retrieved 2009-11-26. 
  22. Stanislawski, Ethan (2009-11-22). "Owl City's Adam Young: We're Not Ripping Off Postal Service, We're Just Drawn That Way". Prefix Magazine. Retrieved 2009-11-26. 

External links