OWATONNA — It’s been three years since Owl City struck No. 1 with “Fireflies” and Adam Young listened to thousands of screaming fans at the Xcel Energy Center sing his hit song back to him.
On Dec. 6, 2009, just two weeks after “Fireflies” spent its second week at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100 chart, Young, who started Owl City in 2007, played the hit song at the KDWB Jingle Ball in front of more than 14,000 fans. During the song, the crowd screamed the words. Also performing that night were Jay Sean, Boys Like Girls, Colbie Caillat, Jordin Sparks, 3OH!3, Pitbull and a young Canadian kid named Justin Bieber.
Three years and three top-10 albums later, Owl City returns to the Xcel Energy Center to play the 2012 KDWB Jingle Ball, which takes place at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Joining Owl City on the bill are Cher Lloyd, Ellie Goulding, OneRepublic, PSY and Ed Sheeran.
“The 2009 Jingle Ball was one of my biggest shows,” Young wrote in an e-mail before performing in Los Angeles on Monday night. “I’m so excited to be coming back and playing for my home.”
In 2009, Owl City was an up-and-coming act playing small intimate shows. Now, Owl City has played concerts across the globe, and Young tours with a full band.
“Things have certainly gotten a lot busier, but I can’t complain,” he said. “I’m lucky enough to be able to keep touring and doing what I love.”
Along with playing his home state this week, Owl City is also releasing a new single. “Shooting Star,” from the album "The Midsummer Station," will land on the radio this week. Owl City has already shot a video for “Shooting Star,” with the hope that the song will be the second top-10 single from "The Midsummer Station." This summer, “Good Time,” was Owl City’s second top-10 single.
The video is the third Owl City has shot this year, following the “Good Time” video and the “When Can I See You Again?” video. Young, known to be very shy, said he enjoys his time in front of the camera.
“I enjoy the process of making my songs into a visual experience,” he said. “I think music videos are a great opportunity to showcase artistic interpretations of my lyrics.”
After the Jingle Ball, Young will get some time off before prepping for another tour. After three years of performing in smaller venues as a headliner, Owl City will play massive arenas as part of the Maroon 5 tour. The tour, which includes Neon Trees, plays the Xcel Energy Center on March 4, 2013. Young said he signed up to open for Maroon 5 because it allowed him to revisit all of the towns he performed at in 2012 as a headliner.
While headlining shows, Owl City would play more than 20 songs from its independent and Universal Republic-distributed albums. While touring with Maroon 5, Owl City will have to cut the set list in half. For a songwriter like Young, it will be difficult to pick favorites.
“I try to strike a balance between playing the best show for the fans and the songs I’m most excited to perform live,” he said.