INTRODUCING ADAM ISAAC – THE VOICE

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INTRODUCING ADAM ISAAC – THE VOICE

Post  Admin on Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:12 am

I headed to a cafe, in Exeter, knowing I had about 20 minutes with my interviewee. He had a “few bits to do” before having to catch a train to London. Obviously busy, he was still keen to fit in a quick coffee and chat. Whilst queuing for our drinks, he received two phone calls – apologising, he took them. I could sense a degree of excitement and anticipation. Adam Isaac was going somewhere.

By Tom Ellis

We exchange the niceties and I ask what the “few bits to do” were (I always find it intriguing when people say they have “a few bits to do”). “I’ve got some clothes shopping to do” – not quite what I was expecting but, hey, why shouldn’t men be allowed to take their shopping seriously?

We grab a table outside, in what we hope will prove to be the interruption-free zone. Five minutes into the interview, we get interrupted. Some guy had left his packet of cigarettes on our table. Should’ve seen that one coming. He’s lucky we don’t smoke.

Having played countless pubs and clubs in the south west, Adam (29) has made a real name for himself on the local circuit. The hub for all this has been Mama Stones. The Exeter venue (formerly the ‘Hub’, coincidently) is owned by Joss Stone’s mum, Wendy, and her husband, Jonathan Joseph. It has been Adam’s musical base for the last few years and has significantly contributed to his development as an artist…

“I got involved with Mama Stones, and the academy there, to help other people with their songwriting and music. Through that, I learned a lot about what I was doing and I would question what I was doing myself. I began to learn what was good and it opened my eyes to what “good” is”.

Which brings us to the “good” debate. Everyone seems to have their own view as to what “good” means and I was keen to find out Adam’s thoughts…

“Lots of things are good – in terms of good musicianship, there are so many ways you can define what good is.

Sometimes good is being different to everyone else, sometimes it’s practice and practicing to the point where you’re like a machine – like session musicians. You’re so knowledgeable at what you do and able to take it to another level. That’s a different type of good.

Then there’s good as being an artist and creating something that hasn’t been done before.”

So what “good” do you aim for?

“I’d like to take a bit of both, to be the best you have to take a bit of the practice good and creative good.”

“My realistic aim is to play my own music to people who want to hear it, and to play to enough people so that it enables me to make a living. I don’t think I want to be famous. I want to be able to go and play my music and for people to know it’s my music but then for people to leave me alone after that…if that’s possible?!”

Musical success hasn’t always been the aim though. As a youngster, Adam was a talented golfer and had his sights set on being a pro – “music was just something else I did”. Leaving school at 16, he went to college in Cornwall to study golf. During those 4 years, his growing love for music, and an injury, led to golf taking a backseat…

“I got really into playing music and gigs during that time. It began to snowball a bit and I decided to give up my golf job to just play music full time. I started playing gigs for money whilst doing my songwriting and it went on from there.”

“I remember recording songs for the first time and thinking this is brilliant – when you write a song, put the work in and then have something at the end that you’ve created. It’s like painting a picture but with sound.”

For those who have yet to hear his “sound”, he describes it as a mix of funk rock and pop. “My influences include Jeff Buckley, yet you wouldn’t hear much of that in my stuff, and a large funk influence from people I work with.” It was bands such as Nirvana, Stereophonics and REM that inspired Adam to start learning the guitar. “I saw a guy play a Nirvana tune on his guitar at school when I was 11 and I thought I want to do that.”

At this point, another bloke approaches us and asks for a cigarette. I feel I have to include this as it’s all caught on my dictaphone. If only he’d come over a bit earlier, he could’ve had a whole pack. “Sorry mate, neither of us smoke”. Which is a good thing – Adam needs to look after his voice.

Cue the tenuous link…

We suddenly start talking a few decibels lower. I don’t know why but I don’t mind, it’s exciting. Then it all becomes clear – the clothes shopping, the trip to London, the whispering… Adam reveals to me that he’s going to be involved in the new BBC singing competition, The Voice. A potential game-changer, it’s the chance to perform on screen to millions of viewers and be coached by the biggest names in the game – no wonder he was looking to update his wardrobe.

“It’s a lot of exposure in a short space of time which is slightly scary but exciting at the same time. I hope it wouldn’t change what I do.”

Exposure brings about both great opportunity and potential for others wanting to influence what you do. I ask Adam how much he would be prepared to change his sound…

“Some people have to do exactly what they feel and not listen to anyone else because that’s what’s true to them. Sometimes it’s worth thinking about how a listener would interpret your stuff. If you can make your stuff a bit more listener friendly then I don’t think there’s any harm in doing that, as long as you’re ok with it. It’s thinking about what you want – whether that’s to play music that totally satisfies you or whether you do want to play to lots of people and engage with those people who come to your gigs.”

He’s certainly going to have the chance to engage with lots of people. Adam deserves this opportunity, he’s worked hard over the years and now has the chance to see just how far his music could take him. With all the excitement and anticipation, he seems to be well aware of, and open minded about, what could be around the corner.

At which point, his Gran appears. I was unaware of this but she’d been waiting for him the whole time. She well deserves this shout-out, not just because I’d kept her waiting but because she’d prepared lunch for Adam’s journey. He politely thanks her. This sums it up for me – a really talented and genuinely nice, down to earth guy, embarking on a journey that began years ago, yet, at the same time, has only just begun – all with a little help and support from those around him.
We come to the end of our chat. I feel a bit bad because the shops are about to shut and he may not be able to get the clothes. Then I realise, I needn’t worry, because I know Adam Isaac’s already got the voice.




Adam appeared on the first ever show of BBC One’s ‘The Voice’ (UK) on Saturday night (24th Mar). He picked Sir Tom Jones to be his mentor and coach. You can follow Adam’s progress and support him in the competition via his facebook page.

http://braceduk.com/2012/03/26/introducing-adam-isaac/

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