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It’s up to him: Mountain Brook teen begins a highly promising career in electronic music

Landon Friedman, a rising senior at Mountain Brook High School, enjoys music and has what he calls a “passion” for computers and coding.

Not only that, but Friedman — only 17 years old — has already combined these interests and begun what promises to be a successful career.

Under the name “Pixellay,” Friedman is working regularly as a DJ, songwriter and electronic music producer.

“Making music to me is really fun,” Friedman — a pianist and percussionist — told Village Living recently. “It is also kind of a puzzle or equation. It is all about figuring out what instruments or pieces go together and sound good together.”

Working in such styles as electronic dance music (EDM), electronic pop and house, Friedman has racked up some impressive accomplishments.

He’s twice been featured on Birmingham Mountain Radio.

Veteran British musician Stephen Jones, known as Babybird, invited Friedman to collaborate on an album of remixes.

One of Friedman’s songs, “Decoder,” was used in the soundtrack for an episode of the Apple TV+ hit show “Ted Lasso.”

And some music writers are taking note.

“Pixellay is able to create music through his two loves, music and technology,” said liveinlimbo.com. “He does it so well and so effortlessly that he makes it look easy. He’s elevating the genre. He is absolutely an artist to keep an eye on.”

Now a hometown audience can enjoy Friedman’s music live, when he performs as part of the second annual Euphonious Festival, to be held at the Birmingham Zoo from June 17-19.

Friedman sees the festival as a great chance to hone his performance skills.

“Euphonious will be really exciting because its definitely something I would like to do, and I want to DJ more events and festivals,” he said.

And while he’s still sorting out college and career plans, Friedman said he definitely wants to pursue a music career.

“That would be the ultimate goal,” he said.

Friedman was introduced to music by his father, Gregory Friedman, who was a radio DJ at a campus station while in school at William and Mary.

When he was about 5 years old, Friedman began taking piano lessons, and he started playing percussion in the sixth or seventh grade while attending Crestline Elementary.

He also began to learn about electronic music.

At age 15, Friedman released his first EDM single as Pixellay.

Gregory Friedman introduced his son to Babybird’s music and suggested he send one of his Babybird remixes to Jones.

Friedman did so — a track called “Youngest We’ll Ever Be” — but was fully prepared to not hear anything back.

However, he received an email from Jones, who was very impressed with the remix.

“When Pixellay wrote to me out of the blue to ask if he could remix some Babybird songs, I quivered, as many people, who offer such requests, well, they are usually not good,” Jones said.

However, “Pixellay is a bloody genius,” he said.

Jones also emailed Friedman and asked him to work on a album of Babybird remixes.

“I was blown away that he not only took the time to respond but also was so thoughtful and encouraging,” Friedman said.

Over the next 18 months, Pixellay sent Jones 12 additional tracks..

When the 13-song album, “Pixellated: the Babybird Remixes,” was complete, Jones posted it on Bandcamp.

In February, Friedman released “Pixellated” on several digital platforms.

The use of Friedman’s song “Decoder” for “Ted Lasso” was a big moment for the young artist.

It was an “incredible feeling,” Friedman said.

The track was featured in the seventh episode of the show’s first season.

The episode, “Make Rebecca Great Again,” deals in part with efforts by the title character, played by Jason Sudekis, to cope with his divorce.

“While watching the show, I was thrilled to find out that the song was played during a pivotal moment in Ted’s journey and the season overall,” Friedman told patch.com.

Friedman continues to write new songs.

One of his recent songs is “Back to You,” a bass-heavy track which fuses R&B, hip hop and EDM and was released in April.

“It’s the first song I have made with a neo-soul and R&B feel to it, which I am pretty excited about,” Friedman said.

“I have a wide range of genres I fit into,” he said.

He seeks to impact his listeners in a positive way emotionally.

“With the melodies I create and the instruments I choose. I want to go for more of a emotional feeling,” Friedman said.

He said he wants to create an “emotional and happy” vibe.

Friedman will share the Euphonious Festival bill on opening night, June 17, with the Pat McGee Band and veteran rockers Better Than Ezra.

“It’s obvious he’s quite talented,” said Bradley Metrock, the founder of the event.

He’s also “homegrown talent, and people like to see up-and-coming folks from this area,” Metrock said.

Friedman has served as a DJ a few times before, including a TEDx event, but Euphonius will be another chance to hone his skills.

“I just really like being able to share the music with the crowd and to be able to see if they are liking it and see how I can improve in DJing it and selecting songs and working ion that,” he said. “Just the whole atmosphere of playing live is really fun.”

Friedman will graduate from MBHS in 2023, and he is still looking at colleges.

“I would go either for music or computer science, because I still have a big passion for coding,” he said.

However, he said music is “the main thing” he wants to do.

Friedman said he’s grateful for the way his career has gone.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have had amazing opportunities early in my music career, like the collaboration with Stephen Jones, which has helped me reach new audiences,” he said.

And he nurtures big, exciting dreams for the future.

“My hope is that my music and remixes resonate with a wide audience and that one day in the not-too-distant future I will have an opportunity to headline international EDM festivals,” he said.

Friedman seems to have a future in music, Metrock said.

In fact, “Landon already has a present in the music industry, much less a future,” he said.

He cited the attention Friedman’s earned already in the entertainment world and the “great music” he is releasing.

“It’s all up to him,” Metrock said.

Friedman is “absolutely a star in the making,” Jones said.

For more about Friedman’s music, go to pixellay.com.




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