DC-based singer/songwriter Young Summer (born Bobbie Allen) can’t tell you her childhood address. That is to say, she’s moved so many times she can’t possibly pin it down to one neat set of numbers. Even in the midst of the pushes and pulls of such a transient lifestyle, however, Allen never failed to find solace in one thing that has remained constant: music.
Coming of age to the sounds of Karen Carpenter’s smooth alto washing over her, Allen was at once awestruck and captivated by her favorite artists. When she discovered Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall on cassette as a child, she played it until the tape finally snapped in her Fisher Price tape recorder.
“Music has become a safe harbor or the ‘home’ I’ve never had, because it doesn’t change,” she explains. “You can hit track 5 on ‘Under The Table And Dreaming’ and it will always be ‘Typical Situation’ and it will always be comforting.”
Wrapping herself in that comfort, Allen found her own voice at a remarkably young age. Following in the footsteps of her mom, who Allen says was always singing, the young songstress went throughout her days singing, and thankfully one of her preschool teachers encouraged her parents to let her do just that.
It’s that voice, mastered by years of spontaneous practice, which defines Young Summer and brought the project to fruition. Though Allen herself had to come face-to-face with her own debilitating stage fright (she signed herself up for a festival and just got over it), she has grown into the talent American Songwriter says “sounds like Heaven.”
After landing a spot opening for Nashville singer/songwriter Trent Dabbs in her hometown of Washington, D.C., Allen found herself with considerable time backstage with Dabbs while waiting on fellow performer Andrew Belle to arrive from a delayed flight. For the budding songwriter, it was a dream realized. Conversation gave way to a quick friendship, and Allen not only opened but also provided backing vocals that night after volunteering for the job.
The musicians exchanged email addresses with hopes of working together again, and Dabbs followed through on his word by inviting Allen to come to Nashville in August of 2011. Jeremy Bose was added to the mix and together they helped mold Bobbie Allen’s sound: a fresh, savvy pop incarnation known as Young Summer…
“I'd never had a writing session with anyone before, I had always written alone, and suddenly I’m having one with this amazing songwriter,” says Allen.
With only a single EP, Ready or Not, to her name, Allen had good reason for her initial shock. Yet it wasn’t long before her impeccable vocal talent naturally became the linchpin of each track.
“As soon as I heard Bobbie's voice, it struck a chord in me that I couldn't ignore,” says Dabbs. “I immediately knew that with the proper production and songwriting collaboration, she would catch a fire with listeners.”
Both Bose and Dabbs certainly own the impressive credentials needed to bolster Allen’s talents. From his musical outlets like Sugar & The Hi Lows to his solo work, Dabbs’ songs have been featured in numerous places, like his recent smash single “Undermine” from the hit show Nashville. Bose has written and produced for numerous artists like Joy Williams (The Civil Wars).
Young Summer presents a new side of artistry for Allen. “It's extremely honest music,” she explains. “It really is no-holds-barred in its honesty. It feels that way when you hear it because that concept is very deliberate. That's the thread that brings all of the songs together and makes them related. It all comes from a very sincere and honest place.”