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Empowering the Next Generation of Environmental Champions: An Exclusive Interview with Singer-Songwriter, AY Young


As part of the Climate Superstars Challenge, Samsung is proud to have AY Young, a United Nations Young Leader, serve as a champion of the program to empower kids across the country to become more stewards of our planet and more sustainable in their daily lives. AY travels tirelessly across the globe–blending his passion for music and sustainability to change the world.

As a singer-songwriter and sustainability advocate AY uses solar batteries to power his concerts, promote the Global Goals, and provide electricity to communities in need.

AY is also a member of Generation17, a partnership between Samsung and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), empowering young people around the world who are contributing to the Global Goals.

Check out the exclusive interview below with AY that discusses his passion for climate change and participation in Samsung’s Climate Superstars program.

Interview with Artist, AY Young, United Nations Young Leader
1. When did you become so passionate about climate change & why?

When I started the Battery Tour and visited communities around the U.S. that lacked access to reliable energy. It was eye-opening to see firsthand how many people around the world are living without this essential resource, and it made me realize how fortunate I was to have grown up with it. As I delved deeper into the issue of energy poverty, I learned about the devastating effects of climate change and how it disproportionately impacts marginalized communities. This knowledge propelled me to take action, and I became determined to do my part in the fight against climate change. Through my work with the Battery Tour and Project17, I’ve been able to use my platform to raise awareness and inspire others to take action. As a young leader for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) designated by the United Nations, I’m committed to using my voice and my music to promote sustainability and advocate for climate justice.

2. How did it all begin – your focus to blend your passion for climate change with your music? And what keeps you going?

My journey to blend my passion for climate change with my music began as an aspiring musician in Kansas City who was struggling to get gigs. I knew I needed an outlet for my music, and that led me to start exploring how to power these shows myself, and that’s when the idea for the Battery Tour was born. By collaborating with partners to create a solar box that stores solar energy and supplies 100% renewable energy, I was able to create a grassroots concert series that promotes sustainability and raises money to purchase portable, solar-powered boxes for communities that lack access to electricity.

3. What inspired you to get involved with Samsung’s Climate Superstars program?

I believe that music and storytelling have the power to engage and educate people in a way that traditional methods may not, and I saw this as a unique opportunity to use my skills to make a positive impact. Samsung is a company that I’ve always admired for their commitment to sustainability and innovation. When they approached me about their Climate Superstars program, I was immediately intrigued. Samsung’s commitment to sustainability, and the opportunity to use music and storytelling to effect positive change.


4. How do you use your music, and the electric battery tour to engage with young people on climate change and environmental issues?

During my performances, I use my music and storytelling to raise awareness about environmental issues and inspire the audience to take action. I also share information about the sustainable practices used in the Electric Battery Tour and how they can be applied in their daily lives. Through this approach, I hope to encourage everyone to become an outlet for change, whether it’s through their skills, talent, or business. By working together, we can create a powerful impact and inspire companies and corporations to take a more sustainable approach to their operations.

5. How has your work with Climate Superstars helped you reach a broader audience and amplify your message on climate change?

This program has been incredibly impactful, especially in working with youth. It’s inspiring to see how we can impact the next generation and motivate them to become climate champions. During my last concert, many students approached me asking how they could help fight climate change, and I shared with them a simple action everyone can take: recycling electronic devices.

6. As a UN Young Leader, how has that influenced your work?

As part of the 2020 cohort of the UN SDG Global Young Leaders program, I was recognized for my contributions in leading the way towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. I am also a proud SDG Champion, partnering with the UN Joint SDG Fund to raise funds to support the implementation of these goals. I am committed to promoting and advancing the UN’s vision of a sustainable future.

7. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced trying to communicate the urgency of climate change?

When I started the Battery Tour, I was ahead of the times. The music industry didn’t really understand what I was doing, and many people questioned why I was performing on a street corner instead of traditional venues. It’s also been difficult to fight the stigma that I must tour in fossil fuel-powered, grid-tied venues. However, I am passionate about the idea of powering concerts 100% with renewable energy, and I have performed over 900 times to prove it. My goal is to make reusable batteries cool again and get the world plugged into sustainability through music.

8. How do you keep your show solar-powered?

I store energy from solar panels into batteries, which are connected to an inverter that allows me to convert the energy from Direct Current to Alternating Current. This enables me to power all the equipment for the concert.

9. What’s next for you?

My new EP “GOALS” is up next, which will feature songs like “Be Prepared,” the world’s first-ever anthem for Scouts. I’m currently on the Battery Tour around the world and have three Project 17 launches scheduled, including a special set at Times Square in September of this year. Our goal is to launch Project 17 globally at COP28 alongside all our partners, sponsors, and artists involved in the project so far. We also plan to complete the music album and collaborate with more artists and producers.

10. What advice would you give the young students of the Eva Legard Center? And the next generation of climate change advocates?

Find your “why” because only you know what drives you, so once you find your passion, use it to power change. I believe that change comes from passion, but it’s crucial to put in the work. I also believe in the concept of 10,000 hours to master something, so use your passion to take positive actions toward climate action every day. Your actions, through exercising your passion, will power change.

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