FYIG Chats With Singer/Songwriter John Adams

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Tell us a little bit about yourself.
 
Hi, my name is John Adams. I’m a Singer/Songwriter based in South Wales.

How would you describe your musical style?
 
I’ve tried to combine the organic elements usually linked to a songwriter with some minimal electronic sounds to try and create something modern sounding that still keeps the vocals and the storytelling as the focal point. 
 
You funded your first release aptly titled “The Pavement Is My Stage” by busking on the streets. How did it feel to be able to make that dream a reality?
 
Even though I’m not that proud of my first album now it was an important first step. Starting off as a musician I had no idea how to get gigs or how to earn money as a musician so I started busking in my local city. I was blown away by the response and after a few weeks, I realized I could actually earn a living from doing so and started to venture a bit further afield. A year down the line I was able to fund my first body of work, I was receiving gig offers, picking up support slots, getting some local radio play and slowly building up a fan base online. This was solely down to the generosity of passers-by.

The album reached No.7 in the iTunes Singer/Songwriter charts in 2016 and you took a leap of faith and left your job as a Mathematics Teacher. How difficult was that decision to make?
 
I think this was the biggest challenge of all. I was raised with an education first policy and I was told “Get good grades and you’ll get a good job”. I’d trained for years to be in that position and I’d spent so much money on education but I just knew I had to pursue my musical dream before I slipped too deep into the 9 to 5 role. The small success of this release give me a glimpse that people were relating to the music I was making and maybe if it hadn’t received this reaction I would have never had the courage to resign. Maybe I’d still be teaching now.

You released your album “You Never Know Who’s Listening” in 2018. You went with a more organic sound with minimal electronic production which is different from most musicians these days. How important is it do you to have more of a raw, real sound to your music?
 
As I pointed out in an earlier question. I wasn’t proud of my first album. I hadn’t quite developed my own sound yet and it was a mixture of quite a few genres. In the 2 years between these releases I discovered the music I enjoyed creating the most contained heartfelt narratives and very little production to compete with the vocal. I started to produce music similar to the tracks I enjoyed listening to and instead of writing lyrics I thought would make a good song I began to write from the heart. I think this was the main reason why the songs resonated with people on a personal level and went on to be my most successful releases so far. 

You just released your new EP “No White Lies”. What can audiences expect from this set of songs?
 
If I was to use a cooking analogy “No White Lies” has all the same ingredients as my last album but you can tell I’ve finally got the right amounts of each. I’m still toying with an organic and electronic combination but the melodies are more cleverly constructed, the digital rhythms are stronger and the lyrics are more mature. In the past, I have taken a long time creating tracks and by the time of release they felt out of date and almost as if they were written by someone else. I guess it’s a bit like choosing an outfit or a style to wear in two years time. I’m sure we’ve all looked back at a picture and wondered what the hell we were wearing. It can be a bit like that! This EP was actually all written, recorded and released within 10 months so I’m pleased that these songs are a good representation of how I’m feeling at the moment and it makes the release and the pride I have in the body of work a bit more honest. 
 
Do you have any live shows coming up? What’s the experience like at one of those shows?
 
I’ve just finished a 16 date tour around the UK and we had the best time. my main aim on this tour was to keep the shows intimate. Even in the cities where I had a larger fanbase, I opted to do multiple small shows rather than a larger venue to keep it personal. When you’re on tour you sing the same songs every night and the only thing that makes the experience any different is the relationship you build with the audience in the short space of time you have together so I try to get them involved whenever I can. As the title of the EP “No White Lies” suggests I’ve tried to keep the music, the stories and the live show experience very honest and I hope people leave the show knowing a little more about the songs and who I am. I’m aware that a lot of my music can be quite emotional so I try to balance the tears with fun sing-alongs and humour. 

How does it feel to have such a strong following with over 6 million views on YouTube and 300,000 steady listeners each month on Spotify?
 
I’m blown away by just how many and how far my music has reached. I’m now able to do what I love full time and the amount of support is overwhelming. There have been so many people that have taken my dream as seriously as their own and there’s not a day goes by that I’m not appreciative to be in the position I am. I know how hard it is to arrange babysitters or travel to come to a show and how hard people need to work for the £10 they use to purchase my album so I’m beyond grateful for anyone that helps fund my music. I’m also unsigned so I don’t have a huge marketing budget but I can always rely on my fan base to share the new music and this year they pushed the new EP to number 2 in the songwriter charts. They’re the best! 

What advice would you have for aspiring singers/songwriters?
 
– Do it yourself, don’t wait for someone else to do it for you, someone will be more likely to help you if you’ve already demonstrated some drive and If no one ever helps it doesn’t matter because you’ve already done it yourself.
– If learning an instrument is going to take years then you’d best start now.
– Always make time to do the part of music that you enjoy the most.
 
What’s your life like outside of music?
 
What life outside of music? lol. I imagine when people get home from work they do something they enjoy. Fortunately for me, they happen to be the same thing. No! I do take short breaks from time to time. When I do so I love spending time with my family and friends, indulging far too much in tasty foods and I’m a huge movie fan. Increasingly all I’m getting at Christmases and Birthdays are vouchers for the cinema. 

Let the readers know where to find you online?
 
I’m on all the usual socials and the best hub to find all this information and my music is www.johnadamsmusic.co.uk