Adam Stokes

Adam Stokes
Seeing Adam Stokes perform live, the listener is impressed with the passion and honesty of his performance... as well as a distinct and soulful voice. The timbre of it might be likened to James Taylor or Cat Stevens, but with a more contemporary flavor. Much like his songwriting, this voice resonates with the character of his personal journey.

Adam's first record Friends Like These, was released in Austin, TX in the spring of 2000. It was well received on the local scene, becoming a top-selling local record two consecutive months at the famous Waterloo Records in Austin and receiving airplay on the infamous local radio station KGSR. Stokes also gained national attention when he earned a showcase at the CMJ New Music Marathon in NYC in 2001, an honorable mention in the John Lennon and USA songwriting competitions, and had songs on a variety of compilation CDs. Coca-Cola and Dick Clark productions chose Adam as one of the top 50 unsigned bands for 2001.

2002-2004 saw Adam testing his road metal as he criss-crossed the country on a self-booked, self-promoted odyssey of coffeehouses and small clubs. A few “getting your van towed in NYC” –esque experiences, a blur of strange stinky couches, and tens of thousands of miles later, work began on a new record.

In 2005, Adam moved to Antigua, Guatemala to spend the year with his wife, a Maya archeologist, on a Fulbright grant. Throughout the year Adam played 3 or 4 weekly gigs in Antigua adding an international contingent to his growing number of appreciators. Returning to the States in 2006, Stokes was chosen as a finalist in both the 2006 and 2007 International songwriting competitions.

His recent release, October Sky (Fall 2009) includes a selection of songs that were written and honed on the road. Between the hundreds of shows and the countless miles, his inner journey has poured into his new music. This influence emerges in a sense of longing that is woven throughout the record. 

How do you describe your music to people, Adam?
Americana flavored introspective folkrock

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
I started writing little things here and there in early high-school, but never really knew what to do with them.  Somewhere around 16 or 17 I borrowed a friend's guitar and started learning some chords, and suddenly it was very clear that all this creative energy could be channeled into this songwriting thing.  Then in 1989 I got John Gorka's  Land of the Bottom Line record for a christmas gift and everything changed.  I knew I had to be a songwriter at that point.

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Hike somewhere insanely beautiful, with someone insanely cool.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Promotion!
I am terrible at self promoting.  It is the antithesis of my personality to hype myself.
A not too distant second is organization.  If I could just get organized I would rule the world. (and we'd all have to be nice to each other)

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
Rich, (grew up in the 80s man)

In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
I have been moving around a lot but I think the music community in Austin, TX has influenced me the most.  There is an amazingly palpable sense of musical community in Austin.  It is competitive to be sure, but that competition serves to sharpen bands up and just raises the level of acceptable professionalism, musicianship, or whatever.  It just made me such a better songwriter, to be around such great songwriters

What other artists out there do you love?
John Gorka- wittiest performer ever!
Nanci Griffith - best storytelling songwriter ever!
Patti Griffin - Wow, just WOW!
Jackson Pollock - best painter ever
Gotta mention- James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Shawn Colvin, Lucinda and Victoria Williams, Martin Sexton, Paul Simon, Anyone who writes great songs
Artists who, by their art, change the way I see my world or my place in it.

What does your future hold?
My wife just finished her PHD (literally like a week ago) so we will be moving as soon as she gets a teaching position somewhere.  (so if YOU know any psychics I'd love to know where we will wind up).
Regardless I will be able to tour and promote my new record and hopefully amass a small army of fans that then pay me to sit at home and write and record songs, posting them to the internet, while sitting in my underwear and eating honey-nut cheerios.