Where are you from?
I am from a small town called Comber in Northern Ireland. Its a few miles outside Belfast. It’s a small town, but we are famous for a few things. Thomas Andrews who designed the Titanic was born here, and also we are known worldwide for our Comber potatoes.
How long have you been playing your respective instrument(s)?
I got my first guitar when I was 14. I’m 30 now… So that’s a bit scary!
What genre of music do you consider your work to be?
I describe my style as “indie folk/punk” I am acoustic guitar led, but with drums, bass and piano, and with the speed and attitude of punk music. I hope it is quite original and makes me fun to watch live.
What are your influences?
Growing up in the 90’s indie britpop boom of Oasis, Roses, Verve etc, then transitioning into punk and pop punk in my teens, bands like Blink 182, Rancid, MxPx etc. These were the bands of my rebellious teenage years. In recent years, artists like Frank Turner, Newton Faulkner, Amy Macdonald, solo artists, and all these fantastic bands and styles have helped inspire me to create my sound.
Do you do covers and if so what’s your go to?
I do covers when I’m doing bar work, private functions, weddings etc. My go to really depends on the venue/occasion. If I’m playing in a trendy bar on a Saturday night, I would play a lot of current chart etc. But I can also play classics like Neil Diamond, Elvis, Springsteen if the venue is an older crowd. My personal favourites would be 90’s/britpop. Oasis, The Verve, Del Amitri, etc.
Do you have a process for writing your songs?
Honestly, it can be quite spontaneous. I might be driving in the car when a melody or a certain lyric etc will pop into my head. So I would quickly grab the voice recorder in my phone and sing/hum it before I forget it. Then when I’m at home I would go back to it, grab the guitar, and see if I can bring it to life.
Do you have any interesting/funny stories about gigging or touring?
When I was a teenager I was in a band called SuckerPunch, and we were fortunate to play at a festival in Shropshire, England. Not bad for 3 spotty punky kids from Northern Ireland. We travelled by boat to Liverpool, then got a few trains down to Shropshire. I’m sure they’ve massively improved by now, but one thing I learnt from that trip is do NOT eat a full tub of chilli cheese and drink a gallon of red bull before having to spend 3 hours on a train…
What song do you remember most from your childhood?
Queen – “Those were the days of our lives” My mum was a massive Queen fan, and I thank her for that, because now I am too. But I remember when Freddy passed away, this was their final single, and my Mum played it all the time. It’s definitely one of the first songs I think about from a young age.
What has been your biggest challenge as a performer? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so then how?
I am my own biggest critic, and I sometimes find it hard to take constructive criticism. I still take things very personally, and I’m genuinely working on being a bit more thick skinned. I know people are trying to advise, and give guidance etc, but sometimes it’s hard not to let it get you down. It’s your form of art.
How can fans-to-be gain access to your music?
Have you released anything yet/if you have then how has it gone down and are you planning anything for the near future?
I released my debut album “My World” in May 2018. It is performing very well on the streaming sites, I am very pleased. It has also been played on UK radio, BBC Radio Ulster, as well as indie stations in America and Australia. It has gained good reviews which I am over the moon with. I am shooting a music video for my next single “My Crowd” in August. I can’t wait, it will be my first professionally produced video, and will semi acting/live performance. It is will be set in my local bar, and will feature a ton of my family and friends as extras. Gonna be great fun.
Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite venues?
All over Belfast and Northern Ireland, and a few venture down in the Republic of Ireland. In June this year I travelled to London, and played gigs in Hammersmith, Leicester Square, and the infamous Bedford venue in Balham. It was an incredible experience. The crowds were fantastic, and I made some great contacts for the future. I will definitely be back. In Northern Ireland, I have played at the famous Limelight venue, and The Mandela Hall, which sadly is closing down soon. An amazing venue where so many famous bands have toured. My personal goal would be to play at The Ulster Hall. It is my favourite local venue. The acoustics in it are second to none.
Do you have any upcoming shows?
I will be playing solo shows at this year’s Edinburgh fringe Festival in August. I will also be doing full band shows promoting my album, where I go by the title “Adam Grant & The Open Doors” I am accompanied by drums, bass, and piano. They are fantastic guys, and it is such fun to play with them. We are playing in Belfast, Dublin, and in September we will be taking part in the Musicians Against Homelessness Festival.
What do you think about downloading music online?
If it’s from legit sites like iTunes, Spotify etc, I have no problem with it. If it is illegal downloads, as an artist, it’s tough. As so much time, effort, and money goes into recording, then when it’s downloaded free, it’s a real kick in the teeth. As for streaming etc, personally I’m still a sucker for a cd. I love having something physical to hold in my hand, and be able to keep forever. But I understand that streaming is massively popular nowadays, so you have to your music available on these sites to be able to reach your audience.
What’s your outlook on the record industry today?
Tough. I think it’s very hard these days to get a break. Gone are the days when acts would get signed to a label after releasing one song. Labels want someone who will bring in the money. But at the same time, with all the accessibility people have online, streaming sites, social media etc, I honestly believe its almost getting to the point where you don’t need a label. If you can build a strong following, release music independently, and put on shows that people will come to, then why would you need a label. Look at Gerry Cinnamon from Scotland. He has no label, no radio airplay, and no real management, yet his independent album was number 1 on iTunes, he entire UK tour sold out on minutes, and he played this summer at the Trnsmt Festival, and the Isle of Wight festival. Not bad for a fella not signed to a label.
And let’s end with something a little different…Which famous person, alive or dead, would you have dinner with and why?
As a tribute to my mum I would have dinner with Freddie Mercury. There is no doubt the man was a genius. I’d love to ask him about the inspirations behind his songs. You could learn so much just by being in his presence.
First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org