Adam Gilbert is an indie singer/songwriter from New Jersey and is our latest SonicBids artist interview competition winner. Although Adam is currently extremely busy both combining working as a musical performer in his own right as well as being the music director at Centenary College, we were delighted when he completed an interview with us at Song Revelation. Read on to discover, amongst other things, who he would like to collaborate with given the chance, what he’s hoping to achieve over the next year and what it’s like living in New Jersey!
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
Alternative piano based singer songwriter that wants to inspire and create thought provoking music
Q: What is your musical background?
I started taking piano lessons when I was 5. Tried to dance like Michael Jackson when I was 10 but almost set my parents house on fire. Long story. Studied voice, composition and piano at the University of Miami from 2000-2004. Currently making my own records, music directing at Centenary College, Music directing at a Vernon United Methodist Church, producing other people’s records and teaching privately.
Q: How have the last 12 months been for you?
They have been great! I finally finished my new record that came out on January 2nd of 2012. It’s been a long time coming; I worked just about 4 years on it. I wrote a ton of music picked the best 13 songs, engineered, performed, mixed and produced by myself. I did have some help recording drums and bass at the Barber Shop studios in Hopatcong NJ. Also had amazing players the made the music come alive.
Q: Who inspires you musically?
Wow, just so many people for so many reasons. Musically I will get inspired by, composers, songwriters, singers, instrumentalist of all types and all genres. There really isn’t enough time in a day to listen or keep discovering or rediscovering music. The genius of Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Debussy, Mendelssohn, Schumann to the singing and playing of Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder. Even great mixing and recording engineers like Andy Wallace, the sound they help achieve is inspiring. I love the innovative songwriting from Tom Waits, Elliot smith, Bjork, such beautiful creative minds. Also more simple things like older Coldplay or even D’Angelo that just put you in a mood or vibe. As you can see I’m all over the place, but there is so much greatness in all of this!
Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?
I really look up to and respect Arcade Fire. I mean you can hear and see the joy of their music making. It’s so liberating and so in touch lyrically. They are an amazing band.
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
All of the great musicians or artist I would like to collaborate with would be way to intimidating. As a songwriter I do have some singer songwriter art songs that I would love to hear Tom Waits sing. As far as touring with other groups, Coldplay would be a ridiculous band to tour with since our sounds are both piano based although lately they have been getting away from that.
Q: What songs are on your iPod at the moment?
How much time do you have? Haha lets just say Jeff Taylor and Beat Music are coming out with new CD’s and they should be on people’s iPods. Amazing emerging artists. Some other favorites would be Jeff Buckley, Ben Folds, Tom Waits, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Muse, Arcade Fire, Elliot Smith, Radiohead, Billy Joel, Rufus Wainright, Queen, U2, Bjork, Ryan Adams. Those would probably be my top artists on my iPod, as far as songs go anything under those names are going to be very solid. There is also a lot of cool current music happening but for me it doesn’t beat these other names.
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
I’m big on doing the music first and mumbling words as I go. Unless there is a clear-cut feeling of inspiration of a specific topic. I try to force myself to write even when I’m not feeling inspired. You never know what’s going to come so I don’t want to miss that opportunity. The first step to being a successful writer is to write, don’t wait just to be inspired, inspire others! After the writing process I’m thinking about the arrangement and production. What kind of sound am I going for while mixing? What kind of mood do I want to create? These are important parts of the creative process that should never be overlooked.
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
Depends what the listener is looking for. As a songwriter I believe a good melody will capture people quicker and great lyrics on top of that will sustain them. You ask someone under 20 they will probably say the beat.
Q: Where are you based?
I live in North West New Jersey.
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
I really enjoy it because you are close to NYC to listen to a plethora of great music but still have trees and a fresh open space. Although winter can be dull sometimes I do enjoy the seasons.
Q: What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on an EP that is almost like classical art songs but with a singer songwriter approach. Instrumentation wise I’m probably going to keep it acoustic and have a string quartet be an important part of it. I love the creative feeling of having no boundaries when writing. Also producing 2 records, musically directing 2 shows, and writing songs that are more band oriented that have an old Coldplay meets Arcade Fire meets old Radiohead feel.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
I think I have 2 highlights. When the music video for the second record was on FUSE TV in 2009. And the second is probably realizing my music was reaching people from all over the world represented by 100 different countries on my emailing list. I was blown away by having the ability to touch that amount of different cultures.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in over the next 12 months?
Releasing the EP, finish up producing these 2 records, write good tunes, inspire and give hope to people.
Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?
Just local shows, nothing crazy. It’s a little difficult for me to tour right now when I have so many other important commitments.
Q: What do you do to relax?
I love watching sports; I’m a big Miami Hurricanes fan so I follow them closely in football and basketball. Also a big soccer fan, but it is really hard to keep up with the Premiership, just not enough time to pay close attention. It’s difficult for me to relax I have a lot of feeling of urgency.
Q: Where would your favorite holiday (vacation) be and why?
Any Holiday or destination I get to be around family and friends. I really want to go to Japan, but I think I need more fans there! Haha I love the culture and I’m going to say it, I’m a big Naruto fan.
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for new or aspiring musicians what would it be?
Ask yourself why you want to do this? And if your answer is to be famous or show off you might want to rethink it. You really have to love it because it can be a grind. It’s hard work, keep shaping your craft, always learning, always listening. Be critical of your work, see how you can improve, surround yourself with better musicians and stay humble!
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?
I hope you enjoy the new record “A Generation of Forgotten Kings” available on iTunes or Amazon!
Editor’s Note: Adam draws on his incredible technical ability in songwriting to create some great tracks that are both profound have a commercial edge and appeal to a wide array of people.
If you’d like to learn more about or contact Adam Gilbert just follow the links below:
twitter link: https://twitter.com/#!/adam_gilbert
web page link: www.adamgilbertmusic.com
One-Sheet link: or www.onesheet.com/adamgilbert
reverbnation link: http://www.reverbnation.com/adamgilbert