From Fireflies to butterflies! After releasing his megasmash "Fireflies" in 2009, Owl City's Adam Young attracted a lot of attention. And then Taylor Swift got wind of him and you know how that went. Well, she wrote a song about him – "Enchanted" on her 2010 disc, Speak Now – and he responded with his own cover of it on Valentine's Day. So what really went down between the music superstars – and what was that Jake Gyllenhaal thing all about? I recently sat down with Young to discuss his third album, All Things Bright And Beautiful (released yesterday) and find out about his famed flirtation.
US: Tell me how did you go about the writing process with the new album since the last record? How did this record come about?
AY: It was a tough one, truth be told. The last one certainly took everyone by surprise. When I holed up in the studio and sat down to write the next chapter, it was daunting because I knew I wanted it to sound slightly different than the last. I wanted it to have a few twists and turns and a few Rabbit Holes just to set it apart from the last record, but, I didn't want to lose anybody along the way, just that classic sophomore, scary syndrome. Looking back at what's in the can, I'm so excited about what did materialize.
US: How is it different than the last album?
AY: I put a lot of time into really getting to know my gear in the studio; I did a lot of research and studying about what the different controls do on different pieces of equipment that I've got… This new record is more resolved. It feels more finished than Ocean Eyes did; it's more dynamic in places, more polished, and bigger, overall.
US: Did you expect Fireflies to be as big as it was?
AY: I was surprised because to me, that song was really just one of the songs on the record. I was never like, this is the song guys. I never sat down with the label and said let's pay attention to this one. I just turned in the record and they played it back at the label and management company and they were excited about the record.
US: Is your cover of Taylor Swift's 'Enchanted' on the new album?
AY: It's not on the new record. That was such a fun thing to do. The plan was to surprise everybody and put that out for Valentine's Day. I had been planning it for a while. It's fun to see kids reactions. I never heard back from Taylor but I'm sure she's busy.
US: Do you think anything is going to ever happen between you two?
AY: I'm not sure. She's a great person, and I am so inspired by her music and the person herself, She is who her music makes her out to be. She's a superstar and I'm just this kid from a small town in the middle of nowhere, so I feel like that peasant in the midst of a princess and that whole classic story. But who knows? There's no telling.
US: Are you still single?
US: Were you surprised when the 'Enchanted' song came out and it was about you?
AY: Yeah I was! I bought her record at midnight when it came out and I was playing through it top to bottom. I love the classic adding up the letters in her lyrics. I got to that song and it added up to my name and I had to take a step back and decipher the code. We emailed back and forth for a while and she made some comment that I used the word 'Enchanted' and the word 'Wonderstruck' in an email and she said how she had never heard anyone really use that word before, so when that word was in the song, I was like this song has to be about me.
US: Did you also feel enchanted when you met her?
AY: Absolutely. I met her in New York and she came to one of my shows and after the show I was backstage in the green room and she was on her way up to meet me and that was the most nerve-racking few minutes of my life just waiting to meet Taylor Swift. When I met her she was glowing and I was too. It's hard to put into words, but I was definitely wonder-struck to meet her.
US: So if you guys were emailing, why do you think nothing ever happened?
AY: I don't know. I think I'm not the most romantic and eloquent guy in the world. She's just this endearing, wonderful girl and maybe I said something wrong, who knows. It went on for 3 or 4 months, something like that.
US: Were you shocked when she ended up with Jake Gyllenhaal?
AY: Not so much because we emailed back and forth just to say how you doing, nothing crazy serious. When I heard that it was cool. He's obviously a great guy, it's all good. Maybe I was a little heart broken but not too much.
US: Have you thought of emailing her again?
AY: I was hoping to work with her on this new record. I had this great song that I was dying to have her voice in so I tried to get it on there but she was in Europe or Australia somewhere, very busy which I totally get having been on this wild roller coaster myself for the past two years. I can't even imagine what she's up against so it didn't work out, but maybe the next record. It would be awesome to feature her on a song someday.
US: Do you have any other famous crushes in the meantime?
AY: Not really, she's only really been it. Something about her is just so innocent. In a way it is like a diamond in the rough. She's who she is and I love how she writes music to deal with life, to go about every bit of life's ins and outs, ups and downs, I love how she writes about those things that are so personal and you get to know her music and get to know her. I love how she blurs those two lines. She's very genuine. She's really only been it. I've really only had eyes for her in the industry.
US: What else can we expect coming up from you now that the album is finally here?
AY: The album comes out on June 14. Currently, the plan is touring. I've been off the road since last October so I'm getting the itch to get back out. Were on the road from June until December more or less so it'll be a long haul. Were doing a big loop of North America, Australia, Europe, the UK, and Asia. We'll see what happens with singles. I'm not expecting anything to happen in terms of the crazy success that was "Fireflies." At the end of the day if a song on the new record does half as well or a fourth as well I'll still be totally happy cause what was written about the next chapter as OWL City feels very right so regardless if everyone loves it and it does great then wonderful. If it bombs and no one likes it, I still feel good as an artist and I think that's what really matters most.
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