The Creative Life in Our Cities: A Conversation with Bob Young

We have many talented artists and creatives living and working in our Farmington/Farmington Hills community and our weekly interview series, sponsored by City Life Realty, will introduce you to some of them.

Today we feature author and musician Bob Young.

When did you first get started in the arts?

I wrote my first song at the age of 12. Since then I’m probably approaching 2000 songs, but I don’t keep count. Poetry began during my college years and a few years ago I published a collection of about 200 poems. I’ve continued writing whatever The Muse inspires.

Did you receive formal training in music?

I minored in Music Theory & Composition in college, and literature, poetry, and art appreciation classes were also helpful. I’ve also been a voracious reader since I was a child, so I’ve intrinsically picked up how to do it from the variety of authors I’ve read.

Who has been a mentor to you along the way?
Dr. Sandy Matthes was my music theory mentor in college; when I asked her why she took an interest in me compared to the other “Music Majors”, she responded, “Because I know you’re going to actually use it!” Since then I’ve met a number of people in town who have been helpful in various ways, but perhaps the most prominent is Jill Jack.

Are you a member of any local or regional arts groups?
Songwriters Anonymous at Trinity House Theatre in Livonia. I’m also on the board of Trinity House Theatre. With the publication of my recent book That’s What It’s All About, I’m looking for appropriate groups to connect with as well.

Keep at it. Some things you create are “just for you and your growth”. Some are for specific people. And sometimes it can be universal and benefit the world.

Can you describe something you’ve created that is particularly meaningful to you?
That’s What It’s All About was released on 2/5/2019 and is a culmination of my experience, philosophical changes, and unique inspiration.

I’m also recording an album of original material (my 16th, I think) later this month with local A-list musicians that is packed with meaning for me.

Has your work appeared in any city programs or events, such as the Public Art Program at City Hall or Art on the Grand?
I’ve performed at Rhythmz in Riley Park a number of times and one year I booked bands and ran sound for the entire Art on the Grand weekend over at the Masonic Lodge.

Can you share a favorite quote about art or life?
“Love wins.”

What advice or suggestions do you have for younger artists?
Keep at it. Some things you create are “just for you and your growth”. Some are for specific people. And sometimes it can be universal and benefit the world.

Don’t judge too early – just get it all out there, then begin to craft it where necessary to make it the best it can be.

What do you think is missing from the arts community in Farmington/Hills?
There’s an arts community in Farmington/Hills? Then I guess what’s missing is ME.

Why is celebrating and promoting art healthy for a local community?
I refer to Robin Williams’ speech in The Dead Poet’s Society:

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race, and the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

Are you an artist or creative living in Farmington/Hills? We’d like to feature you and your work here, too. Download our questionnaire and return it to

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