My name is Astrid Young. As a singer, I’ve shared stages and studios with a mind-blowing roster of musical legends. I wrote a bestselling book, made a short film, and played or sang on a ton of records. I also became a wine professional (sommelier) along the way, but that’s another story. I grew up in Toronto with a writer for a father, and a mother who endeavoured to educate me musically as early as possible. I could read music probably before I could read words, so it stands to reason this would be my direction in life.
Orchestras dominated my early years, but rock and roll took over around about my senior year in high school. I put down the oboe and bought my first electric guitar: a 1966 Gibson SG Special. It was a game changer for sure. Next came Los Angeles, which was my home for the next twenty some years. I was in a hair band in the 1980’s called Sacred Child. We charted in ten countries, and made it to number sixteen on the ‘Hard Report’ (an east coast radio tipsheet of the time) in 1987. The years that followed took me many places, both literally and figuratively. I played all over the world, sang or played on some gold and platinum selling albums, and accomplished a lot of songwriting, recording, and even got into writing screenplays for feature films. One of my proudest rock and roll moments came when I found out that a record that I had sang on (Neil Young’s Harvest Moon) had been ‘officially’ taken into space and listened to on the space shuttle, and had been to the international space station! What a rare and unique honor!
I am so grateful for the career that I have had. But I am always of the mind that the best is yet to come.
Fast forward to now. I’m about to release my fourth solo record. It’s called ‘One Night at Giant Rock’. I’ve been working on this record since 2005, and I have not released an album since my acoustic record ‘Matinee’ in 2003. There were many roadblocks getting there, beginning with a devastating personal loss, and the arduous process of dealing with that, but my biggest obstacle in bringing ‘One Night’ to fruition was that my hearing is so damaged from all the years of loud guitars that I can no longer hear subtle differences in the studio. Some notes were even non existent – a very scary place to be for any musician. So I took it slowly. Song by song. What emerged were stories from the soul. Songs about searching, remembering, forgetting, bloodletting … it appears that my lifelong musical quest has been to discover the karmic meaning in all my relationships. Not just love relationships – because every connection you make, they are all part of the bigger picture, each of them individually a plot twist unto themselves. ‘One Night at Giant Rock’ is all about that journey.
In keeping with that philosophy, providence and the fates stepped in, in the form of one Victor DeLorenzo – you may know him from his group the Violent Femmes (I am a super-fan!). We decided we ought to do some work together, and to make a long story short, the result was truly magic. You see, Victor took over the role of producer, and for the first time in my life I was able to completely let go the ‘death grip’ I had on my own music and let somebody else be my ears. Victor, together with the rest of the amazing people who contributed to ‘One Night’ took my songs, my vision, and drove it into the sun. The experience was transcendental. When alchemy actually works, it’s impossible to deny.
I play acoustic guitar, bass, and I sing. Sometimes I play piano or keyboards, and the occasional flute. On drums is my musical collaborator and producer Victor DeLorenzo:; on guitar we have Joe Gore and Eric McFadden, both of whom played extensively on the record. Depending on where we are in the world, during our tour we may have appearances from one or the other of them., or maybe both! Many of our live shows will also feature Ray Farrugia (of Lee Harvey Osmond/Junkhouse) on drums as well as Victor. Two drummers? Sure why not!
I have always thought of this record as my magnum opus, the sum total of all my musical experiences, my masterpiece. So when you listen to ‘One Night,’ take the journey with me. Take that journey from start to finish and ride that winding sand road through the desert, out near Joshua Tree, which is the landscape of my muse. The giant rock itself is the nexus of it all. Each song is a mini-vacation in itself, and you may or may not recognize some of my main influences: Black Sabbath, early David Bowie, Pink Floyd and Kate Bush ... and maybe just a little Judas Priest, AC/DC (Bon Scott era) and Deep Purple (Ian Gillan era).
Touring for the release of One Night at Giant Rock is currently in progress. Keep an eye on www.astridyoung.net for updated show schedules and information.