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PopWrapped | Music

American Young Chat Inspiration, "Imagine" and Musical Influences

Rebecca Haslam | PopWrapped Author

Rebecca Haslam

Updated 03/8/2016 8:33am
American Young Chat Inspiration,
Media Courtesy of AmericanYoung (Facebook)

Already familiar with the music scene they're now embarking on their own journey into, American Young, AKA Kristy O and Jon Stone look set to make 2016 the year the world sits up and duly takes notice of what they have to offer.

Having already appeared on the hit TV series Nashville and with Kristy's past experience as founding member and fiddle player in the band Bomshel, the duo are about to hit the road with UK country singer Sasha McVeigh and Loveless Effect later this month on a European tour.

Ahead of their upcoming performances which will see them play in London, France, Germany and Italy, Kristy and Jon kindly agreed to this interview to chat favourite songs, ultimate ambitions and the many joys that come from what they do.

PW: Please introduce yourselves.

Kristy O: We are Kristy O and Jon Stone and together, we make up American Young.

PW: How would you describe your music?

KO: Modern, classic, romantic, regal dynamic music with integrity.

PW: Who were your biggest musical influences growing up and have they changed as you've gotten older?

Jon Stone: Everything from the Beatles to Metallica to Vivaldi to classic country.

KO: Hands down I would say and mine started with Mozart, graduated to Garth and then most recently Taylor Swift.

PW: How do those influences impact what you do as a band?

KO: We both love great music. That's what we're after.  Always.  We would die for great. We are very unified on our vision. We both get very bored with shallow very quickly.

PW: Is there any band you would say you're most similar to?

JS: No.

PW: To what extent do you think the likes of Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood have boosted people's interest and love for country music?

KO: They are powerhouse women. Strong men everywhere supported them and they carry a message that touches every woman at her core. Country music is about heart. Those ladies beat with it.

PW: When did you first realize that you wanted to make music a career? Was there any particular record you listened to or concert you saw that made you think 'Yeah, I want to do that!'?

JS: I heard a Led Zeppelin record when I was 11, got my first guitar at 12 and really dug the likes of Black Sabbath and Van Halen. All that music is directly influenced by neo-classical and that's what I was raised on.

KO: I went to an Alison Krauss concert. Game over. I can't imagine doing anything else and never would.

PW: Did you ever have any other career ambitions or has it always been music?

KO: I wanted to go to the Olympics as a kid in either horse jumping or ski racing. I like to move fast and ride wild things so this feels like home to me.

JS: I wanted to be a pro skater, pro pool player, biologist, treasure hunter, astronaut - this is my backup plan!

PW: Kristy, how did your time in Bomshel prepare you for this new adventure you're on? "19 and Crazy" is a cracking tune…

KO: Thank you! It taught me to own a stage in heels while playing the fiddle upside down. I definitely enjoyed that circus. It was the greatest teeth cutting experience as far as an entertainer goes. I had to go back and dig a lot deeper into my purpose as an artist other than just to make people dance and sell beer.

PW: You've both appeared on Nashville. What was that experience like? 

KO: Amazing.

PW: Any favourite memories?

KO: Chip Eston starring in the #americanyoung movie.

PW: Tell me about your debut single "Love Is War".

KO: It made me dance the first time I heard it and it made me cry the last time we sang it.

JS: It was very obvious that that song was made for us.

PW: Is there a story behind the song?

KO: It reached a very deep place when I first heard it and begged to be brought to life. Our friends wrote it and they nailed it.

PW: How easy or hard do you find the song-writing process? Does it depend on the subject matter?

KO: It’s very easy for me. I would say Jon too. You know your purpose in life when it feels like breathing. We’re all about writing something that is unique and meaningful that touches the listener but more important, the writer.

PW: If you could have written any song, by any artist, living or dead, which would it be and why?

JS: There isn't one. The songs I write can only be and are only destined to be written by me, they are MY biography. If I don't write them they won't get written.

KO: I would say “Imagine” – John Lennon. "Imagine there's no heaven.  It's easy if you try.  No hell below us.  Above us only sky. Imagine all the people living for today. Imagine there's no countries.  It isn't hard to do.” It’s just a beautiful, inspiring song and I can’t help but be moved by it every-time I hear it.

PW: Are there plans for an EP or album in the pipeline?

JS: We’ve just finished it so yes. It’ll be on the way soon - patience is a virtue.

PW: Of the shows you've played so far, could you choose the most memorable?

JS: We played one a couple of Sundays ago. It was the first time we played to a packed house in Nashville that knew all our music.

PW: You're due to head out on a huge tour with Sasha McVeigh and Loveless Effect this month - excited?

KO: Yes.  We are product of the combination of the people we love and the places we have visited and the food we eat.  Diversity of travel is why we love, love, love what we do.

PW: Of all the dates you're to play, are there any in particular you're really excited about?

KO: London and Italy.  It's in my heart and Jon’s blood.

PW: Are there any plans for you to head out on your own tour across Europe any-time soon?

KO: Next year. We are doing an early release in the UK and European markets and then coming back to the US to set up the launch for this album.  But our early adopters have always been across the globe with his band.  We felt it on our first single.

PW: Social media is huge today, but what are your thoughts on it and would you agree bands and artists need to be socially interactive in order to get ahead and build a fan-base?

JS: Absolutely. Today is a different generation from yesterday.  Facebook friends are absolutely the driving force of the industry. It's the first place we go to see what people think of our brand new songs. It shows who a person is on a personal level. In today's world, people know what they want, when they want it and where they can get it. I am one of those people who sits on Facebook and talks to my mom. I get all my music there and most of my new ideas. Or YouTube. That's today's world. Music has this insane ability to call into reality whoever needs to hear it. It puts a focus and a vision on your emotions by putting words to music. Music is the voice of God in the wind. So when it whispers ... it's fun to watch who shows up.

PW: What can people expect from an American Young performance?

KO: Hopefully a revelation of self. We are here to teach the world to sing. And conflict and communicate love in a healthy way. We are all the same. We are all one and we are all here to serve each other.

PW: What else does 2016 have in store for you?

JS: Plans to meet a zillion new people and give love every day.

PW: Finally then, what's your ultimate ambition? At what point would you be able to say "we've done everything we wanted to"?

JS: We want to move this world on a massive scale and encourage everyone to feel from the heart.

KO: And of course twelve Grammy's wouldn't hurt!

For more information on American Young, visit their website, give their page a like on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter and Instagram. Their music is available on itunes.  

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