Denise Young

Bio

Denise Young - Pianist, Songwriter & Composer

Denise Young

Denise Ann Young is an independent artist, composer, producer, arranger, and music publisher through her record label Dancing Horses Music. She currently lives in Southern California where she is working on her 4th studio album scheduled to be released in 2019.

Denise grew up in the suburbs just outside St. Louis, Missouri. Playing by ear at age 4 and beginning formal lessons at age five, she started composing original music in her early teens. Denise holds a Bachelor of Science in Music Therapy (a double major in music and psychology), and a Master of Arts in Psychology.

She composes original piano-centered instrumental music that combines a contemporary style with arrangements that often include bass, cello, violin, vocalizations, percussion, acoustic and classical guitar, English horn, clarinet, and other wind instruments. Her musical influences include, Hans Zimmer, Rachel Portman, John Williams, Michael Nymann, Chopin, Mozart, and Beethoven.

Her musical accomplishments include three studio albums of original music and original scores for three short films shown at the LA Short Film Festival. Her music has earned two nominations for Best Piano Album by Zone Music Reporter, and one nomination for Best New Age album by Just Plain Folks. On the Zone Music Reporter top 100 radio airplay chart, her album Something You Dream Of… charted at number two, and her album Passionata charted at number three.

Her passion, some say her calling, is composing music that connects with people and helps them emotionally. For her university graduating project, and at the request of the University’s program director, Denise started the first music therapy program for a division of the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

After graduating and completing her internship, Denise worked as a music therapist in Los Angeles California. She soon found herself specializing in treating autistic and special-needs children from diverse economic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds.

Some of the parents worked in the music and film industry. At this time, she also began teaching piano to children during her off hours that included two children and the wife of a well-known celebrity.

For a girl who grew up in Missouri riding a quarter horse gelding named Bombay, it was a dream adventure to find herself working as a music therapist in Los Angeles, driving along streets with names like Mulholland drive and Coldwater Canyon with her guitar and keyboard in the passenger seat of her red two-seater sports car on her way to see clients.

Growing up in Missouri, Denise took to the piano naturally. She recalls: “As a child I couldn’t wait to get home from school and play the piano. When I was eight, I remember being so inspired by hearing Hey Jude on the radio that I learned to play it by ear that afternoon and played it for my mom as soon as she came home from work”. 

While attending Catholic school, her eight-grade classmates would often encourage her to play the classroom piano whenever the nuns would leave the room. On one such occasion she remembers the nun returning unexpectedly soon and catching them in the middle of her little concert.

The room fell silent as they all thought she was in trouble. The nun broke the silence by asking Denise if she would like to play the piano at their upcoming eight-grade graduation ceremony. She recalls: “when I said “yes” my classmates cheered” she pauses, then says “…that school and the nuns were such a positive experience for me”.

Denise was introduced to the piano at an early age by her father who is an accomplished jazz and swing pianist and songwriter. In her early teens she often accompanied him on gigs, played duets with him, and performed solo pieces in between his sets.

Denise has recently started writing children’s books in between composing, producing, and managing the many hats she wears as an independent artist. And although she is no longer a practicing music therapist, her passion continues to be focused on composing music that connects with people emotionally.