A Q&A with Composer, Songwriter, and Producer Lindsay Young

  1. Lindsay, I am very curious about how you got started in music.  What is your musical background, and does it play into your career? 

    I was pretty much indoctrinated into music as a kid. Everyone in my family is a musician, so music really seeped into every aspect of our lives. We were given piano lessons from my mom, we sang in choirs, played in school bands (I played oboe/clarinet), and were a part of every musical production put on by our high school. We also used to be heavily involved in the music department at our church, which took up Sundays, Wednesdays, and all holidays. It was truly non-stop, but I loved every second.

    I put my whole identity in music. It was the only thing I ever felt competent or confident about. So when I was deciding what to study in college and whether or not I was going to continue down this road with music, I didn’t even deliberate. My family majored in music and I followed suit. Many things have played a part in choosing this specific path of songwriting and composing, but it’s because of my upbringing that I never stopped dreaming about a career in music.

  2. In addition to composing, you are also an accomplished singer/songwriter and producer.  What is your process like for each of these art forms?  Do you find working in these mediums similar, or different?

    It’s definitely an interesting crossover because as a songwriter/producer I’m used to my tracks needing to be succinct and catchy. I’m constantly trying to make them sound “radio-ready” by changing the beat or melody every four to eight bars, adding ear candy, and swapping my vocal effects between the verse and chorus. All in a matter of two minutes and thirty seconds.

    So far what I’ve realized as a composer is it’s more about the long game (in my humble opinion). It’s about longer stretches and letting the melody unfold and develop. It’s about using themes and variations. It’s more about serving the storyline of a specific character or plot. I love that about composing.

    I think what combines my love for the two are the ways in which they can both get to the heart of what it means to be human. They both have the power to invoke healing and change in people. Songs have carried me through some really challenging times in my life. So have films. And I hope to provide that for someone someday in both forms.

  3. I love your voice!  The harmonies in your songs (especially “Hot Summer”) are so beautiful.  Is voice your main instrument?  Do you play other instruments as well?

    Thank you so much! I’ve always been enamored by the voice and the ethereal quality harmonies bring. I love how personal and intimate it is, and how a group of really great harmonies moves my soul in a way no other instrument does (shout out to Imogen Heap). I went to college with piano as my main instrument and used to write songs primarily on that. But I have since started composing more with my voice and I’m really enjoying the different ideas that arise out of its process. I have to control myself with the harmonies, though. I can get out of hand real quick if I don’t slap the microphone out of my face and say, “No. Enough.”

  4. What sort of projects do you work on most frequently?  What sort of projects do you want to be working on?

    Currently I’ve been working on writing songs for licensing opportunities and ads. I’ve scored a couple of short films this year, and I would love to continue doing more of that. My goal is to eventually write for a TV series or feature-length film within the drama/comedy or psychological thriller genre. I also love everything A24 and it would be a dream come true to compose for one of their projects.

  5. What is your favorite part of the music making process?  Do you find your process is consistent, or does it change over time?

    My favorite part is definitely the part of the process where I get to come up with a million different ideas and vomit creatively onto a blank session. The point where the possibilities are endless and you don’t have to start fine-tuning or cutting anything. However, I also really enjoy when everything is finally in place and you have a general idea of what needs to happen in order to finish the project. That’s when the work you’ve been putting in starts to take form and become more of a reality. And it’s always cool to see what it started as and what it ends up being.

    I think my process slowly changes as I make little tweaks. I need to keep things interesting but I also want to stay consistent. Sometimes the changes happen because I get bored of the way I’ve been doing things and I need to get myself out of a creative rut. Other times it’s because I’ve learned something new or found a way to be more productive or work more efficiently.

  6. You live in L.A.!  What do you like about living in L.A., and how do you think living in L.A. impacts your career?

    Yes! There’s so much I love about living here. There’s always something happening in Los Angeles. You want to see a comedy show on a Wednesday night? You can go see some of the best comics right outside your doorstep. You want to go listen to music? There are amazing musicians and bands in less than a five mile radius. You want to try Indian, Ethiopian, Thai, etc. food? L.A. has it, and it’s authentic and some of the best in the world. I also love how the city buzzes with creativity. That I can meet fellow musicians and composers and share the experience of navigating the industry together. Los Angeles is big but the community is surprisingly close-knit.

    I think living in L.A. has given me a lot of opportunities that living elsewhere might not have. Not to say that people who don’t live here won’t or can’t have opportunities as well, but it’s what works best for me. I’m able to go to more events, meet and connect with more people, and get somewhere on a moment’s notice. Can’t say it doesn’t help!

  7. Do you have any recent or current projects that you are excited about?  Are you able to share with us?

    Recently I had a song I wrote and produced called “Woman’s What I’m Made Of” that was chosen to be a part of ESPN’s fifty-year anniversary of Title IX (a law that allows women equal opportunity to play sports). I’ve also scored for a few different short films this year that are currently being submitted for film festivals, so I’m excited to see where that leads!

    Check out our AWFC profile page for Lindsay Young

    Interview by Connor Cook

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