“Be you. Be an outlet. JUMP always” — AY Young
I recently had the immense privilege of meeting AY Young, one of 17 UN Youth Leaders selected to help spread the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He founded the Battery Tour — a concert that is powered by 100% renewable energy — one of the first artists to do this in the world. He is a singer, dancer, and performer with a passion for collaborating with diverse leaders to solve the climate crisis. He has performed over 800 concerts powered by renewable energy across the globe and entertained audiences in developing nations like Honduras & Haiti — each place providing clean energy for communities without electricity and learning about people from other cultures along the way.
Amy Powell: Is there one piece of advice that you wish your 9 year old self would give you today that would make an impact on your career?
AY Young: “JUMP”. It doesn’t matter what your “friends” think. The world thinks. Your family wants. Overall we only get one life and we should be on this earth doing what we love to do every day. Be you. Be an outlet. JUMP always
AP: Was there a time you messed up and felt like you’d failed? how did you bounce back?
AYY: I feel like i fail everyday. In relationships. In this 10 year journey to bring the world together. Dealing with people. I think I’ve learned the best way to bounce back, is to fail fast. The more I can fail fast. The more I can recover. Reflect. Pivot or refine. That has been what built the battery tour. 10 years ago I had no clue what I was doing, but I knew I needed to power a concert anywhere. I failed fast and now I’ve powered over 800+ concerts and used my music for impact bringing energy access to over 17+ countries. FAIL FAST.
AP: What is the most fun part of your job?
AYY: I can’t say I have the most fun with any one thing. I love all the parts of this beautiful journey. As I am the United Nations young leader for the USA there are so many moments. As I am an artist & founder of renewable energy powered tour there are fun parts and moments. As I attempt to make the worlds first global goals album and bring the biggest corps & artists together for impact there are fun parts. If I had to pick one thing I’d say inspiring the people (YOU) to pursue their passion through my story & music and then watching it turn into measurable Action.
AP: How did you learn to embrace risk-taking?
AYY:I kept taking risk. I live in the uncomfortable. I don’t take no or maybe for an answer. I put 10,000 hours into anything I do. I do my due diligence and no one outworks me. That's how I’ve embraced risk like its my best friend
AP: What is the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned and how has it proven invaluable?
AYY: One of the most important leadership lessons I’ve learned is how to look for a WIN/WIN. I’ve learned to stop and Listen. I’ve also learned to stay humble because anyone can be your mentor and you should always be a mentee. These concepts have made all of my relationships fruitful and mutually beneficial
AP: What / who is your greatest inspiration in life?
AYY: My dad and mom. Being a Eagle boy scout also so scouting. Oh and My mom homeschooled me. I watched my dad & mom changed my neighborhood and city for the better. Watching them create change (shutting down drug houses, establishing block captains, organizing cleanups, urban farming) has made me realize. My parents built my city block by block. Now I’m here to bring the world together city by city & country by country.
About AY Young
AY is a producer, singer, songwriter, entertainer, and entrepreneur. He first began writing poetry at 14, a reaction to the great disparity in Kansas City known as “the Troost divide” While touring the USA, AY learned that over 1 billion people lack access to electricity. So AY began powering concerts using renewable energy, raising awareness about sustainability, and fundraising to bring people electricity. Thus, the Battery Tour was born and has plugged in 17 countries to date.
AY landed on The X Factor TV show in 2012 and received four YES’. Inspired, AY hit the streets performing his original music, garnering a grassroots following and has played with artists Wiz Khalifa, SHAGGY, T-Pain, Flo-rida, Aaron Carter and others.