Oddly enough, the studio doubles as a salmon factory, which according to Young is “really nice and smells like smoked salmon, but not strong.”

“The cabin you would think ‘Oh a salmon factory, eww,’ but it wasn’t! We went on a tour of the salmon factory and it was amazingly clean (according to The Balik Farm Web site, the factory produces some of the world’s best smoked salmon).”

Picturesque views, extraordinary cleanliness and water at near perfection, being in Switzerland was especially exciting for Young and the group because they were able to do what they love; living out their passion for music and immersing themselves in that passion around the clock.

“We’d just wake up, go record, and make music. We were really blessed to have that,” she says.

Her vocal and musical abilities are obviously enjoyable to many, or else the success she has had would be non-existent. She describes her style as clear, soulful jazz, which is full of a mixture of influences. Inclusive of her gospel roots and love for R&B, Young has a mixture of inspirations that all play a part in her musical makeup.

“I feel like I have some jazz vocabulary, like phrasing and that sort of thing, but I would say my voice is probably taken more from soul music,” she states. “It’s important to me to get the meaning of the song, the words are really important. I’d like to think [my voice] is soulful; I like to think that it has some agility when I’m singing.”

Februaries, which she anticipates to come out by September 2012, is reflective of her mixture of jazz and soul, and other sounds thrown in there for good measure. Though this is not Young’s first time releasing music, it marks a significant point in her career. With the album having all original music, this adds a vulnerability element to the mix, introducing Young as a creative talent beyond her voice.

“It’s different from anything I have recorded or been on, because this is my first all original album,” she explains. “Because Chicago is such a working town and you have to be versatile, I’ve put out stuff that has been straight jazz, I’ve been on funk albums, and so, this is the first thing that is actually me.”

The album was sound engineered by Alexandre Bolle of The Balik Farm music studio and is currently being mixed by Grammy award-winning producer Craig Bauer of Hinge Studios in Chicago. Young describes Februaries as less complicated and jazzy, but not like modern jazz, with groove and R&B influences, along with some folk aspects to it. She says she even plays a little baritone ukulele on a few tracks.

“Some of the songs I wrote a while ago, before I was even studying jazz. Those are more folky or indie,” she says, describing the tracks on the album and her writing progression. “Then there are songs where you can just tell I am more informed after having been in school, which doesn’t necessarily make it better. Sometimes what I wrote, when I didn’t know what I was writing, was freer.”

Particularly insightful and emotional, there is a song on Februaries that is a reminder to those listening that tomorrow is not promised. According to Young’s song, this thing called life happens once, which exemplifies the importance of saying and showing how you feel before it is thought to be too late. And in the spirit of spreading the message present in her newly recorded track, she has pronounced it as the one she prefers.

“This tune, it’s probably not going to be everybody’s favorite song, but it’s mine right now. It’s just me and the ukulele, with a lot of backups on it,” Young says. “I wrote the song because there was this great salsa bass player named Richie Pillot. He had been having health problems and passed away. There was a memorial gig on the Tuesday that he would have been [at Cafe Bolero where he played].”

Pillot was the founder and music director of the Chicago based Afro-Cuban jazz group, Havana. Young says that it was not usually crowded when Pillot would play at Bolero during the week. In fact, most of the people in attendance came because he was older and had been on the scene for a while. The night of the memorial gig, Young remembers it being the most crowded she had ever seen it there. The room was packed and the gathering of people was lively. Even though she was not close to Pillot, there was still an emotional human connection that captivated her and the audience members as they remembered the musician.

“All of these really heavy hitting Cuban salsa and Puerto Rican salsa players had come to play. And I was really moved by it because I thought, ‘Richie would have loved this,’ and also because it was really sad to think that, whatever you believe in, he’s physically not there to see that,” she says. “Why did they wait? Why do people wait? I never saw as many people there when he was there. So, I went home and was super emotional and wrote this song.”

According to the young starlet, her involvement in music is bound to be a lifelong journey in some way, shape, or form. Her most recent attestation of this can be showcased by her desire to give back and lend knowledge to a younger generation, who aspire to be America’s next artists and musicians, through her involvement with the Chicago non-profit program After School Matters, which is something she says she would like to do more of down the road. The program provides local teens with productive activities to participate in outside of school areas that they are interested in enhancing their own skills at. After School Matters offers paid apprenticeships in a variety of fields, such as the arts and technology, with quality instructors at no cost to students.

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