NMV Sit Down: Adam Ness
Detroit bred Chicago-based singer Adam Ness talks working with Noname, his new project Saggitarius and preserving energy.
NMV had the opportunity to chat with Ness who just got done performing on the Colbert Show in New York, and also recently released his single "Have a Good Time" featuring Jamilia Woods.
(Editor's Note: This interview took place before Ness went on the Colbert Show. )
SM: Hey Adam how’s it going, what have you been up to?
AN: I have been recording for my project that comes out in November. My single comes out this month. I got about three more sessions and then I am going to start mixing again. I’m also going to New York for my first TV performance. I’m going to the Colbert Show with Noname to perform. I just left rehearsal -- the band is slapping, the funk sounds amazing. I have two features on her album, I’m actually on three of the songs but my name is featured on two of them, which is super cool.
SM: The Noname tape you're featured on has received high praise. Talk about the process in working with a great like Noname.
AN: Well it was pretty divine timing, I couldn’t’ ask for a better feature for my first one. She just slid into my Twitter DM’s, her producer Phoelix who did an incredible job on her album, told her about me, and she thought it would be good to sing on one song. Then, she asked me to do two, and then she was like, “Hey what are you doing today” and she’s so casual, and I really appreciate that about the business we do together. You know I always tell myself that I’m ready for all this but she makes me feel super ready. I was already doing what I was doing but now I’m doing it with a bit more value added with a great artist like her. I’m very blessed, she just reached out and we went to the studio and the last time she texted me randomly, saying, "Hey what are you doing October 16th, I got an opportunity for the late night show, I would love for you to sing.” And I’m like, "Are you crazy hell yea." And she’s such an awesome human being I’m sure if we had more time together we would be best friends. For right now we just make really good music and have great rehearsal and a good music relationship, it is pretty marital.
SM: What is your plan moving forward for the rest of the year?
AN: This whole year has gone exactly the way I planned it and even better. Starting out I opened up for Lala Hathaway and got to be on some interesting projects, I’m still writing some interesting projects -- I can't really talk about them. My single comes out, “Have a good Time” featuring Jamilia Woods, I told myself I wanted to collaborate with Eryn Ellen Kane, Jamilia Woods, Noname, Saba and Smino and I knocked out three of them, in the ladies. I feel really happy about that. And on my project, Eryn is on it and Jamilia is as well, it comes out in November and it's called Sagittarius.
SM: That’s an amazing list of features. Whose producing?
AN: It’s already produced. I produced some, Baby Winsch and Mia Gladstone, the other producer on the album is Vincent Keys.
SM: How do you keep your voice up to par?
AN: This is a great question because I do partake in smoking, I don’t smoke cigs but I have my fun with other devices. And I overcompensate with tons of water and try no to smoke on show days. I grew up singing in the church so strong vocals are what’s necessary, I think that’s what has to do with keeping my voice up to par. My new album also has a lot of good music on there but I think its a lot more relatable. I’m not just singing my heart’s content; I’m diving deeper to connect, a more broad audience.
SM: What are some of your current musical influences?
AN: Erykah Badu, Noname, I listen to Aretha Franklin, I’m always listening to Aretha Franklin. I listen to a lot of old school music, a lot of Chicago up and coming artists: Noname, Jamilia, Saba, Smino, Eryn Ellen Kane, a lot of my peers.
SM: Hardest part for you coming up in the music industry?
AN: I don’t really feel like I have experienced something super hard coming up because I think that is based off the authenticity and natural growth for what is happening here. I moved from Detroit to Chicago with no Instagram, it just came with the naturalness of my life and art, I don’t think I’ve faced a hard time in the industry. Maybe, I'll want to sell some numbers, or make money financially, but I don’t think I have experienced that yet. The industry is so open because of social media and everyone wants to know who you truly are and for me that’s never been hard to do because I have done a lot of work for that to feel natural.
SM: Favorite thing to do away from music?
AN: First of all I don’t do too much of everything anyways. I love to skate, I love going to the movies with my boyfriend, but aside from that and trying new restaurants, I try to stay in the house and save my money and keep my sanity to myself.
SM: That’s amazing, wow you summed it up so well. What got you into music in the first place?
AN: I heard a song on the radio, I would always sing, my mom showed me the radio very young and I would carefully, closely be listening to music. I always loved to sing. But I really knew I wanted to sing when I heard the singer Brandy, and I was singing along with her and I was like, "This sounds like me" and I'm asking, “Mom doesn’t this sound like me,” and my mom was like, "You can be a singer too” and I was maybe 8 years old when that happened. I always had been singing church, gospel music-- there’s nothing as spiritually lifting as that. Even though I don’t necessarily agree with all of their ways, my experience religious wise has changed but I still appreciate the music, definitely a foundation.
SM: You can only eat one thing on a desert island, what is it?
AN: First thing that came to my mind was my favorite fruit, Kiwi. Kiwis and weed.
SM: Advice for up and coming artist?
AN: Society does not promote naturalness, so I would just say get down to the root of who you really are and don’t be unhinged of what you see to the right of you, it's all about what you want to do and the calling of your life. I don’t want to sound that deep but I would encourage them to knock down the insecurities and the traumas they faced and just be themselves, 100 percent, 1000 percent.