[AltWire Interview] E.N Young

E.N Young, born Ian Allan Young, is a roots musician born and raised on the USA/Mexico border in San Diego, California. E.N started playing piano at age 6, which was the beginning of his musical life. E.N has been performing music since the age of 15, and has made a name for himself since 2010. On October 7, 2017 he was in Orlando, FL as part of the lineup for the annual Reggae On The Block music festival. E.N took the time to chat with us on Altwire about his latest album, “Call On Me,” his upcoming tour, and life.

[AltWire/Omayra Lopez]: I first wanted to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me today. For our readers who haven’t heard of you, can you tell us about yourself?  

[E.N Young]: My name is E.N Young, I was born and raised in San Diego, California and I produce and perform reggae music to spread consciousness, spirituality and a positive message to the world.

[AW]: What was the writing process like for “Call on Me” album? How did you decide which songs went on the album, and which ones didn’t?  

[E.N]: So far in my career, I put out everything that I’ve created. Every little idea that I’ve had, I’ve put out. I feel like that’s a different way of going about it. I don’t have a big collection of music I’ve been sitting on and choosing the right tracks. I was creating tracks just for the album. On the “Call On Me” Album, I came up with the song “Call On Me” and then after that,  I wanted to base an album around that song, so I created tracks with that in mind; with different energies and different consciousness within each song.

[AW]: You have produced and written songs for other artists on the reggae scene. What advice would you give up and coming artists and why? 

[E.N]: I would tell them to grind and grind with intent. Do work but know what you have to give, what message you have and come to the people musically and spiritually with intent. I feel that if you have intent and know what you want to give to the world and you really manifest and strive forward in that direction, anything is possible. Grind, start from the ground up and build.

[AW]: What was the best advice someone gave you that stood out to you when you started? 

[E.N]: The best advice was through Jamaican reggae music that had a spiritual conscious message, that message has been with me every step of the way. Living consciously and spiritually. That’s what reggae music from Jamaica has taught me, especially early on. That message has stayed with me the entire time. I’m grateful for that message because it crafted my path.

[AW]: With the reggae scene always changing and evolving, what are the things you like and don’t like about it? 

[E.N]: There’s good and bad with the progression of reggae music. On a positive note, I love how reggae has been in the mainstream and certain elements of it in pop music, even the spiritual foundations you see in Rihanna and pop stars, with reggae music at times. I like that because it’s pushing the energy forward. I like how it’s blown up to a level where Rebelution is performing in amphitheaters and there’s a lot of successful tours all around, that’s very inspiring and I’m grateful.

What I don’t like about it is that sometimes in the 3rd and 4th generations in the US, the foundations of Jamaica get lost. There’s bands that have like a song called “Yes I” and they don’t connect to the spiritual foundation of the music, like party energy and that exists within reggae too you know? Because we gotta be strong and live up all the time but I wish that all involved with reggae music just understand where this music came from, and that this music had a spiritual foundation. There’s a lot of groups that do know that like for instance Rebelution, who I brought up. You see spiritually and positive energy within their music and they get that from the origins of reggae music and that’s really good you know? And I wish for all up and coming generations in the future to understand where this music comes from. It’s a blessed music and it’s why it’s gone so far.

[AW]: What aspects of the industry do you feel have hurt or helped your career? 

[E.N]: I feel the aspects of the industry that have pushed me forward is the independent entrepreneurship of the new internet and media world. I see that as a benefit. I would stand in front of all the shows I’ve ever played in the last 5 years and hand out 500 CDs at a time and hand out samplers all across the US everywhere I go. I think a lot of the connection was possible because of all I learned through the internet and all the connections we’ve all had with the internet. It can be a positive thing or a negative thing. I feel like I’ve taken a lot of positivity from it. I’ve taken my career into my own hands since my first album in 2010. These are all the positives, I don’t know what’s hurt my career I don’t think anything has hurt my career.

[AW]: What do you miss from home the most during your tour? 

[E.N]: I miss my family the most. I just had a baby, he’s 3 months old, I think about him and my wife the most. My extended family, my parents. Going out on the road is a difficult thing because you have to leave people but it has its reward because you get to connect with people and you get to better the world. I’m grateful to go out and have the opportunity to that. There is difficult parts of it and leaving my loved ones is one of them.

[AW]: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not recording or performing onstage?

[E.N]: I love to backpack. I love to go to Sierra Nevada mountains with everything I have to live in my back for 5-10 days. It’s an incredible feeling to be to be 10’000 feet and  above, above tree lines where there’s snow at certain points but it’s summertime. It’s incredible. I get to do a few trips a year, I feel alive up there, it’s definitely grounding. It adds balance to my life. I also live in Imperial Beach and I love to go to the beach and enjoy my city, and lot of music.

[AW]: You live a vegan lifestyle. For how long have you been a vegan and what inspired this change? 

[E.N]: I’ve been full vegan for 5 years but it was a long process. My mom was a vegetarian when I was 11 years old. I really remember that. It was a big pivotal moment in my life where I understood the consciousness of not ingesting animal products. I also got a heavy influence from Rastafari and from reggae music and all the culture over there and they would eat Ital and that was really a flag in my life. It was a spiritual thing. It involves your diet. Those were strong influences from me at a young age. But being in culture like everyone does it’s hard to make a change. Everything we know is opposite of that. We grew up eating dairy and meat products. At first most people say “I don’t know how I would do this, I don’t even know what I would eat.” In reality it’s a really easy thing, I call myself a vegan ninja now but it’s an incredible thing, I love it! Anywhere I go I can find vegan options. I find it a challenge. It opens a lot of doors to energy and things. Even just trying to order at restaurant, asking people for help and things. It increases energy. It’s been a long process, I was just eating ital for a while where I was eating just fish for a long time and I saw a bunch of documentaries and I didn’t understand that information before but now I understand that the biggest polluters in the world are cows and dairy farms and the way animals are treated and the way we’ve mass produced animals for so long that at this point evolution has taken place and it actually hurts us, it causes disease.

Every society says that carcinogens causes disease. That would be meat, dairy and all that intake, so there’s direct relation to animal products and disease. When I understood this from the documentary “Forks Over Knives” it opened my eyes to this information and I started doing more and more research. I realized that these were facts and people have been overlooking this because of our culture and the way we’ve always lived. I think at one point we needed to eat animals to survive because we didn’t know when we were gonna get the next big source of protein and source of food but at this point with the technology we have and 8 billion people in the world, we don’t need to eat  animal products anymore and it’s a secondary source, the foundation is vegetables, fruits, plant based foods are the source of all nutrients that heal us. I started getting into different healers like Dr. Sebi and other healers that really preach an alkaline vegan diets to heal and it just changed all my way of thinking and changed my life. Now I would consider myself a vegan activist but I’m really challenged because if I put anything about this on the internet I get so much negativity in return that it’s a battle within my soul to spread this but I spread this on such a constant basis and I’m passionate to be an activist and my wife is vegan too and we’re raising our son vegan, and he’s been breastfeeding for 3 months and he’s in the 98th percentile for weight and height and he’s a huge vegan baby. I feel so grateful for that. I will continue with that vegan plant based message for the rest of my life.

[AW]: Before we close, is there a message you’d like to send to our readers and your fans?

[E.N]: Spirituality in general is hard to show people and it’s hard to show a tangible proof that it exists but I feel very connected and that everything in life is meant to be from the foundation source of life which is the Universe or God or whatever you want to call it there’s a source of energy that we’re all from, all plants, all life, all planets, have come back to one source and I feel that source guides us in a way and challenges us to do good or evil. I’d tell people to strive towards the  positivity and know that we’re guided, and look for the signs, and really tap into the spiritual realm because that’s where we can get answers and tap into a whole ‘nother part of existence really. It all really boils down to good over evil. Just being positive and being grateful for what you have. With that you can manifest whatever you want. If you have ideas in your head and you want them to happen, if you truly think about them in a positive light day in day out all the time and you strive for them, it can happen easily. I’m living my dream right now and that’s a small example. Manifestation is real and it comes from a spiritual foundation of positivity. A secret that no one knows, a simple idea that can be said in different ways. Staying positive and really creating your own life. It’s all creation, a blank canvas, we can do what we want. We might have hard times but stay positive and move towards the light. There’s light waiting. Be grateful and do what you wanna do, you can do it.

[AW]: Thank you so much, E.N for taking your time to chat with us, it’s been a pleasure. 

[E.N]: I’m grateful to be here.

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About the author

Omayra Lopez

Omayra is a Florida girl, mother of three, and visual artist sharing all things art, fun and the beautiful things in life. She firmly believes that one creates their own reality and applies that to her own life by marching to the beat of a different drum, using her camera as a tool for that purpose. Omayra is a jack of all trades and masters them all. When she's not behind of the camera, she's in front of it. Her experience as a model, helped her develop her eye as a photographer.
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