Bob Young – Member Profile
Guild member Robert Young (stage name Bob Young, also known as “the German version Johnny Cash”) like hundreds of other Guild members has demoed songs through the Guild and anticipates his first big commercial success one day. He writes in the styles of Gospel, Country & Pop.
In 2008, his entries Just a lock of hair and the Gospel song You didn’t have to die for me were semi-finalists in the UK Songwriting Contest, which led to an interview and radio play on UK Premier Radio for the programme Unsigned Talent.
Born and raised in Burton-on-Trent, Derbyshire into a musical family as one of three brothers who all mastered the guitar, inspired by their father, who played the organ by ear. As a boy, he sang in the school choir and local churches, something he still enjoys up to the present day. He discovered that he had a talent for composing lyrics and melodies. The brothers enjoyed performing songs together of The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel and songs like Venus by Shocking Blue. Bob still listens to an early cassette recording of theirs forty-odd years later.
Following his engineering university degree (computing), working life took him to Southern Germany, where he purchased a music studio and recorded a CD of his songs with friends. There, he met his wife, from whom he was sadly later to become divorced. Bob says, “this intense emotional experience led to my first real love song A glimmer of hope followed by I feel you near and started a new chapter of songwriting in my life”. That’s when he first joined GISC. Although there was no glimmer of hope that the marriage could be restored, today he maintains a good relationship with his ex-wife and his three children are doing well, which is important to him.
Teaming up with a fellow Guild member, he co-produced the limited edition album Circle round the sun with the Berlin band Souls in Exile to celebrate the 1999 eclipse of the sun. Bob then produced and demoed 6 of his own songs with the band in their Berlin recording studio. He performs on stage at local concerts and at breakfasts given for the poor.
His Christian roots soon diverted him from seeking pure commercial success as he became involved in voluntary prison work bringing his guitar and songs into high security prisons. “When the prisoners sang along, the whole neighbourhood could hear”, Bob explains. The hope and encouragement he imparted to the inmates earned him the nickname of “the german version of Johnny Cash”. Bob helps to organise free holidays for the children of prisoners, who otherwise would never get a holiday. He supervises the musical side of the entertainment and especially the campfire sing-alongs. In 2006 he wrote a book (in German) about his experiences, Jesus behind bars. The book is available free of charge.
Bob says, “A song is like a computer program. Both have structure, a purpose and many variables”. Still waiting for that big commercial success, he has generously used his talents in the meantime to bring happiness to many people.
“That is what music should be about”.