Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Dallas-born singer/songwriter Conner Youngblood is on the verge of something big
His acoustics spellbind with every strum.
At the ripe age of 23, Conner Youngblood has graduated from Yale, released two digital collections, and will play his second SXSW stint this week. Oh, and his music was featured on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy earlier this year. This young artist mixes pillowed acoustics and soothing scales similar to Bon Iver and Iron and Wine with a dash of electronic charm. He incorporates a number of instruments at any given time, including the banjo, guitar, charango (a stringed instrument he bought in Argentina), ukulele, piano, and drums.
“I took banjo lessons in high school, so it’s probably what I’m best at. I’ve been writing, playing and recording my music since high school, and tried to continue the process in college,” said Youngblood. “I had nothing else planned besides music when I graduated, so I decided to give it a full-time shot when I got out.”
Born and raised in Dallas, the soft spoken but sharp musician moved to Connecticut for college and never looked back. He decided to stray from a musical major at Yale, choosing American Studies with a focus on American Music History instead. After graduation he got an itch to move to a music-based city like New York City or Los Angeles but instead settled on Nashville due to an internship he had at an entertainment agency in 2011. Now his full-time job is focusing on his music and continuing to push himself.
“I have a ton of instruments. I buy new instruments without knowing how to play them and learn as I go,” said Youngblood. “If it doesn’t have noticeable frets, I’ll find the note I want and mark it with tape so I know where to go when recording.”
Since the beginning, his digital recordings, totaling 30-40 songs, have been free to download. He says he would rather his music be more accessible than make a profit and reduce the amount of potential listeners. He still records in Dallas and uses the same engineer he used in high school. His first releases, Sketches Pt.1 and Sketches Pt.2, came out last year.
The music supervisor from Grey’s Anatomy handpicked one of the more structured, piano-driven tracks from Sketches Pt.1, named “Australia,” to be featured on an episode for the current season. Youngblood says it was a simple one-day process: The music supervisor was tipped off from an entertainment manager who had spoken with Youngblood about representing him, but it never went anywhere. They asked if they could use the song and the deal was done shortly after.
“It was really cool. I watched the episode and had a few friends and family over to watch it with me,” Youngblood said.
Last year for his first SXSW show, he drove to Austin by himself and just hung around the city between sets. This year, he’s bringing a full band. He will also play the Firefly Music Festival this summer in Delaware, where he’ll be rubbing shoulders with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.