When Adam Srae began a 100-day songwriting challenge on June 1, 2022, he had no idea how much of an impact it would have on his career. On the 100th day, he was selected (along with 7 other artistes) for the Music Business Academy (MBA) talent project, which is supported by YouTube Music, The Orchard, and Sony Music Publishing Nigeria. This platform has undoubtedly elevated Adam’s career and introduced him to a larger audience.
In this interview, Adam Srae offers a peek into his artistic journey – the beginning, the present & the future;
Tell Us About Your Background and Journey into Music
My interest in music started developing from primary school, because of the kind of songs I was listening to then. I think I’ve mentioned it almost everywhere that I listened to Westlife a lot as a child so that kind of influenced my taste in music and what I’m making now was majorly born from there. However, I didn’t actually start music officially until 2016, I think 200/300 level, in University. That’s when I wrote my first song, and I was just dropping songs slowly and steadily then. It’s just been a slow ride from there to this point.
At the time I joined WeTalkSound, I was supposed to drop a song titled “Memory”. I sent Dolapo Amusat the song and he asked if I would like it to be on LOFN (WeTalkSound’s compilation project). I was looking for the exposure as well, and it sounded like a great project. So “Memory” became my first entry on LOFN.
You mentioned that you first released music in 2016, what’s the name of your first song and is it available on streaming platforms?
The title of the song is ‘Confession’ and it’s only on audiomack.
You Recently Changed your stage name from A.D.A.M to Adam Srae and you released a compilation titled ‘Before Srae’ through the transition. Can you tell us the idea behind that?
Yeah, like you rightly said, My stage name used to be A.D.A.M ( Another Day, Another Melody) but I had a lot of complications with the name, particularly with search engine optimization. Simply, people were not able to find me and find my music. Discoverability is very important for an artist. It doesn’t make sense if I’m making music that people can’t find. So I had to change my name but in the process, I didn’t want to lose the song that I had before. So, I re-released them as a compilation. Nothing serious, it’s just basically creating a playlist of your old songs and putting them under a new name. That was how it felt for me then
I named it Before Srae because I wanted people to know these were songs I made before I became Adam Srae.
How Would You Describe The Type of Music You Create Now?
My music is very soulful. Regardless of the kind of instrumental I’m singing on, I will still sing in a very soulful manner. Most of my music Is really just in my voice and the way I sound. A large portion of it is also in lyrics because I like to settle down and write what I want to sing about.
I’m quite introspective in my music. Probably a bit too serious compared to the other sounds we hear. It always feels like I’m trying to make sense, and I really can’t help it. It’s just who I am. I’m always trying to make sense of whatever I’m writing and whatever I’m delivering. Those are really the essence surrounding my music – soulful, introspective, thoughtful, and experimental, too.
What inspires the music you create now?
Okay. A lot of my music is inspired by my personal experiences and by other people’s experiences . Some of it is also from my imagination. I won’t even lie, there are times when it feels like I don’t even understand what I’m writing until sometime in the future in my life. I don’t know if it’s me speaking into existence or something, but I actually do see some of the things that I write come to life. So we could call that divine inspiration.
However Most of my music is inspired by life experiences. I’m also inspired by other musicians because when I see the kind of work that they create, I usually want to do something similar.
For instance, there’s this One Republic song that was quite popular recently,” I Ain’t Worried”. I listened to that song countless times and in my mind I just said I probably want to make something like this or something better. I’m very inspired by great music.
You were a part of the Music Business Academy (MBA) All Star Project as one of the 8 artistes out of about 3000 other contestants. That’s a really big deal. How do you feel about this?
Well, every day, it comes with its own kind of feeling. There are days when I think about it and I’m mind blown like, “how did I get here”? There are also days when I think of it and beat my chest like, “no, I actually deserve this. I worked hard for this. I’m this good and all that.” So really, most times it just comes with different feelings each day.
Some days I wake up with imposter syndrome but the fact is that one way or the other, I’m here. I just really believe that’s where I’m supposed to be and I’m going to make the most of it to the best of my ability. it’s a very big platform and opportunity that a lot of people applied for, and I’m very grateful to be among the selected 8.
How was your experience working on the project with the MBA team?
For me, it’s been very exciting and I am really lucky in that sense. I have a very great team, to be honest. They pull up at every moment of need. When I need to do something, they have always been there and that’s something that I have not exactly had before in my career. I’ve had support In the past but definitely not like this
Working on the project itself was also a great experience. Of course it’s a bigger project this time. And apart from each artist having their own songs, it also has the artists collaborating between themselves to make beautiful music. Meeting other creatives and sharing ideas is something I experienced, and it reflects well on the project.
I learnt much more about myself and my creative process, and understood what helps me sing better, write better and what doesn’t. This little experience keeps me optimistic for what’s more to come. Also, considering the dedication that my team members have shown towards my craft, I’m just really excited and optimistic.
How has the reception of the project, Fuel & Flames been from your perspective?
People love Fuel and Flames. They enjoyed every track from it and are actually so excited for the songs. ‘Sad Boyz Need Love(SBNL)’ has gained some crazy attention with the little work done to get it out there. People love the smoothness of ‘Insane’, and enjoy the reassurance that ‘Whisper’ brings. The reception has been great overall. No bad reviews at all.
I’ve seen you perform at a couple shows lately, what are your favorite memories on stage?
There are 3 very interesting ones. The first was at Hard Rock Cafe for Ladé’s Merchant of Melodies listening party. I opened the show with a very unconventional song. ‘Impressions’ is definitely not the kind of song you’ll expect an Afrobeat audience to vibe with, but my performance got me a round of applause from the audience. I even had people following me immediately and reaching out to tell me how great my set was.
At the MBA for Africa graduation ceremony, I performed SBNL and boy! Those people vibed. They sang with me line by line and it gave me extra confidence to do this more. I felt like I was made for the big stage at that time and thoroughly enjoyed singing for that crowd.
Finally, and probably the most amazing, was the Island Block Party. I opened the show again, and the crowd were confused about who I was. In a video recorded by my friend Solomon, I could hear someone from the audience shout “who be this one” when I was introduced. This was not the case when I was done. I can boldly say that the applauds from the crowd were only louder for performances from when Odudumodu Blvck came on stage till the end of the show. It didn’t feel like I was a rising artist who was just being placed at the very beginning of the show when I was done. It felt like I was an established superstar that the crowd only recognised after I started singing.
What was the inspiration for ‘Sad Boyz need love’?
Sad Boyz Need Love is just about people, especially boys, needing to feel, be in, and enjoy love wholesomely. It was inspired by my experiences and experiences from some of my close friends. The song is as honest as the lyrics suggest. It is really just to express the reality of men in this society. It’s my hope that the song helps to throw more light on our struggles, and show why we need more love, and why we should try to get ourselves loved up. LOL
Going back to your music. Before the MBA, You started a #100 Days songwriting challenge. What was the idea behind that and how do you think it helped your selection for the MBA project?
The songwriting challenge was inspired by my need to just kill procrastination and work harder . There are other backend reasons but this is really the core. I just wanted to be able to show up every day doing something that I promised to devote the rest of my life to.
About its connection to the MBA project, a song that I wrote during the challenge was what I submitted for the Project and it’s safe to say that it got me there. Also the last day of the challenge was coincidentally the same day I got selected among the finalists for the project. So, yeah, that was very nice.
Generally, the challenge really put me in a situation where I allowed myself not to overthink my lyrics or songwriting, because aside from that I had to live a normal life as well. I had to do other things to survive. So I really had to settle down and be open to writing what comes to my mind and not overthinking. It gave me a chance to be free and not be so hard on myself, which I feel is important in the creative process. I know it’s good to critique your work, but sometimes it’s also good to just leave it as it is. Most of the things I did on my songwriting, I was just leaving it as it was. And some of them turned out great, others were ok.
Apart from consistency, I also gained exposure from the challenge. There were people talking about me and the challenge. Someone even told me she was inspired to do a 30 day no-soda challenge because I did a hundred day songwriting challenge. And that to me, it was just nice because I inspired somebody to do something good, and there are probably other people that might have felt that way as well.
So those are all the things that I’m grateful for and excited about the challenge.
What should we expect next from Adam Srae?
I won’t lie to you, I don’t know. For instance, I started my 100 day song challenge in June but in April, I didn’t know I was going to do a songwriting challenge. It wasn’t until the May that I decided to do it and
I also never knew I’ll be in the MBA project. I never knew I’d apply and be here now.. So I really am the kind of person that honestly just goes with the flow to a large extent. I can’t tell you that I usually have everything planned or thatI follow a master plan. I don’t and I probably should start doing that with my life, to be honest.
One thing I just know is that the things that I’m already doing, I’ll keep doing them, and they will lead me to where i’m supposed to be. That’s what I just understand about myself and my life.
What would a successful career in music look like for you?
There are a lot of things. Selling out shows to selling records and all of that, they are cool. But I feel for me, it’ll generally be about impact. I think I’m very particular about what people will say about my music when I’m not here anymore. Positive impact in people’s lives – That’s what I feel I’m more concerned about. I think that’s the reason why I am usually very particular about what I write and why I said I’m introspective and a bit too serious with my writing and music, because those are the things that, to a large extent, matter to my soul.
Every other thing is important. I need to make money of course but for my personal happiness and self fulfillment, the impact my music has on people is probably going to be what’s most important for me.