Today, Arkansan Adam Hambrick and his wife leave for Los Angeles to claim the grand prize he won from Blackbird Academy’s Alchemy Songwriting Competition back in December. Blackbird Academy of the Arts is a non-profit arts education program based in Conway, Hambrick’s hometown. And the prize? Hambrick will record the winning song, “I Would Never,” in an L.A. studio.
In the inaugural competition, Hambrick also won the country/bluegrass genre for his song “The Tree Streets.”
But Hambrick has won more than just a competition with the grand prize-winning song: it caught the attention of Jeremy Stover, a fellow songwriter who introduced the song to EMI Music Publishing Nashville and helped land Hambrick a publishing deal.
Just who is this Adam Hambrick? And where did he come from?
At only 26, Hambrick is part-man, part-kid. He’s a devoted husband (in fact, “I Would Never” is a love song to his wife) and a Christian who leads worship services at his church. But he is also the proud owner of a fantasy football team.
He reminds this writer of Buddy Holly with his ever-present black frame glasses and stunning white smile.
But don’t pigeon-hole him. He’s just as comfortable playing to the crowd at Stickyz Rock ‘N’ Roll Chicken Shack in Little Rock on a Friday night as he is leading worship on a Sunday morning. And though it’s trite to say, he’s a little bit country and a little bit . . . well, you know the rest.
The Little Rock Pop Culture Examiner was able recently to ask this busy man a dozen questions. Here is the Q&A:
Examiner: What do you do (related to music)?
Hambrick: I’m a worship leader, artist, and songwriter.
Examiner: Who are your musical influences?
Hambrick: John Mayer, Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, Hillsong, Dave Barnes, Garth Brooks, Jack’s Mannequin, Ryan Adams, The Wallflowers, and a few more.
(Writer’s note: A few more, indeed. He has “liked” thirty-eight acts other than himself for his Facebook profile, and it is an eclectic group for sure.)
Examiner: Of your original songs, which is your favorite?
Hanbrick: I can’t say that I have a favorite song that I’ve written. It’s one of those things that’s constantly changing and progressing. If I had to choose, it would probably be a song called “I Would Never.” It’s near and dear because of its subject matter (my wife and marriage) and also because that song caught the attention of Jeremy Stover and EMI Publishing. Also, it was the grand prize-winning song for last year’s Alchemy Songwriting Competition. It’s opened some amazing doors.
Examiner: Describe a typical day in the life of Adam Hambrick.
Hambrick: Typical day . . . ? I don’t know that there is such a thing. It feels a bit schizophrenic sometimes because I’m doing several different things. I’m a husband. I’m the media director for a college ministry called Student Mobilization where I do video and graphic design work. I lead worship at my church in Cabot. I spend a week out of the month in Nashville writing music. I also try to play the occasional show just to stay sharp and give people the opportunity to see the things I’ve been working on. It all depends on what day of the week it is.
Examiner: Have you ever met any well-known musicians? Played with them?
Hambrick: I’ve gotten to share the stage with a lot of acts whose music I really enjoy, like Augustana, Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, Sister Hazel, Jon McLaughlin, Kris Allen, Andy Davis, Ben Rector, and Ingram Hill.
Examiner: Put together your dream jam session participants.
Hambrick: Dream jam session? That’s a lot of thinking . . . how about Slash, Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters, Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Brandon Boyd from Incubus, and my drummer Jason Palik.
Examiner: What made you decide this is what you wanted to do?
Hambrick: I’ve always loved gadgets and using them to be creative–hence my full time job as a creative media director. I’ve always loved playing and singing since I was a kid singing with my family around the church upright piano.
Examiner: What instruments do you play?
Hambrick: Guitar, bass, drums, sax, mandolin.
Examiner: What is your favorite part of being a musician? If you had to choose between writing and performing, which would you choose?
Hambrick: My favorite part of being a musician probably is the writing. If I had to choose between being the best cover musician on the planet or being a run-of-the-mill pro level songwriter, I would be a songwriter. There’s just something about starting from nothing and bringing an idea to life and sharing that and seeing how it affects other folks.
Examiner: What has been your most memorable moment so far (as a musician)?
Hambrick: Signing my first publishing deal.
Examiner: What are your thoughts about the general state of the music industry today?
Hambrick: The music industry today is more accessible than ever before. Now with YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, and other sites, you can immediately begin to build a fan base out of people from all over the world who are looking for new music to get excited about. You don’t need a record deal any more to make a living as a musician. You just need to work hard and hone your craft. If your music is good and you put it out there, anybody can make it happen.
Examiner: Can you give a 100-word bio?
Hambrick: Here is the bio EMI is releasing with the press release from my signing:
“Adam Hambrick has had music in his blood from the very beginning. Growing up in Mississippi with a Baptist preacher father and a piano playing, songwriting mother, his musical journey started out at a young age. Observing his mother write and perform music in church was what inspired Adam to give songwriting a try.
In 2012, Adam signed with EMI Music Publishing, after songwriter/producer Jeremy Stover discovered him and introduced him to the EMI staff. His uniquely descriptive, honest lyrics are written around poppy melodies that are easy to catch on to and hard to get out of your head. Some of his biggest musical influences include John Mayer, Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, The Format, Ray Lamontagne, and The Wallflowers.
Previous to signing with EMI, Adam independently wrote, produced, and released his album ‘Fighting From The Ground’, which is currently available on iTunes. ‘That was a ton of work, and that was work that helped get me into the writing/performing game. It gave me a reason to be playing, which ultimately brought me here to EMI,’ says Adam.
Adam has been hard at work writing on his own in Arkansas and making trips to Nashville for co-writes. He plans to record and release another independent project this year.”
For more information about this up-and-coming songwriter, visit adamhambrick.com, twitter.com/adamhambrick, or facebook.com/adamhambrickmusic.