Singer-songwriter-producer had a tremendous 2016 that included TV appearances, collaborations, tours and honors.
When an artist has a single that’s streamed over 1.5 million times, it’s usually considered a pinnacle for their year. For Adam Friedman, that song was “Pretty Things,” and it was just the beginning of an incredibly wild 2016.
In addition to the success of “Pretty Things,” he collaborated with Mike Posner on the follow up single, “Lemonade,” which Friedman debuted on the Today show. Friedman also caught the attention of veteran radio personality Elvis Duran, who named him his Artist of the Month for June.
So who is Adam Friedman? We caught up with him to find out more about his journey, his very big year, and some action sports injuries from his past.
Homebase: Santa Monica, CA
Your journey started in Arizona, and has led you to Santa Monica, CA. How young were you when you moved to chase your dream, and what sort of nerves, or loneliness, did you experience when you first arrived in CA?
I moved to Boston when I was 19 for college. After spending four years there, I moved to Santa Monica. I was 23 at the time.
When I first got to LA, I immediately started working on projects, so I kept busy. In the meantime, I enjoyed the solitude. I can spend long periods of time alone. It’s something I got used to as a kid, and it’s something I still enjoy now. With a balance, I believe solitude is the best time to get to know myself.
What moment, or moments, made you realize you were on the right path?
When I made my first recording on my tape player when I was 10, and it gave me goose bumps.
When I played my first show in my band called Winnetka when I was 13. It was a religious experience.
When I got into music school.
When I impressed my production class in college.
When I got my first big paycheck because of music I made.
Whenever I gain respect from a musician who I admire.
Every day I wake up and the only thing on my calendar is where and when I’m going to perform/make more music.
You were on the Today show earlier this year. Which member of your family was most excited about this, and told everyone in your old neighborhood?
Mom. Totally 100% my mother. My brother did a little bit, too, and my dad was very proud, but momma takes the excitement trophy home for sure.
After watching your video for "Lemonade," I'd like to know where you do your grocery shopping. I NEVER see women like that in the produce section!
Go to Vintage Grocery at Trancas in Malibu, California. You’ll fall in love in the produce section. 100%!
You're skateboarding in the clip. No one just casually skateboards. How young were you when you started, and did you have any X Games aspirations?
I started skateboarding when I was nine. I can only do three tricks, but I mostly use it as a means for transportation. It’s the quintessential choice for the airport. I’ve saved more time in airports with my skateboard than some save in TSA pre-check. Seriously.
Did you ever do any wild stunts that could have resulted in serious injury, or at the very least a starring role in an embarrassing YouTube video?
When I was 11 years old I briefly got into BMX. I had a wash (the dry bed of a stream) behind my parents house growing up, and my friends and I used to build little jumps out of dirt, and jump them. It was “cute.”
One day these guys who were much older than us found our spot and started building legit six foot tall jumps. In true Adam fashion I HAD to jump these, too.
Long story short, I landed three times! I was king! But, on the fourth time, I face planted into the dirt, six of my teeth fell out, and I split my lip open and scraped a huge chunk of skin off the left side of my face. I’m still fixing my teeth to this day.
Moving to something less painful, from Nat King Cole, to Chainsmokers, you have a wide variety of covers on your YouTube channel. What qualities make a song one you want to cover?
That’s a good question. I think what makes me connect with a song are two main things. First, the words and vibes have to represent an emotional state I’m currently in. I’m very stubborn about this. Second, it has to feel genuine to me. Like the singer, and the production, and everything going on with the song, was made because it NEEDED to say something. Once my brain checks both of those off, I’m in!
With your penchant for covers, when you’re driving in your car, what’s the most embarrassing thing someone might catch you singing along to?
My own music. I mix my tracks mostly in my car while I drive. The speakers in there aren’t particularly great, but they’re the most consistent speakers I’ve had for the past six years, so I know how things should sound in there.
If you ever want to hear my unreleased music, find me driving, and follow me ... not really, but, you know.
Finally, what are your plans for 2017?
Write, write, write, perform, perform, perform, and drop my debut EP. Literally, that’s it. I have some other things going on, but they can’t be disclosed yet.
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