Pop Artist Adam Cola on “Dancin'” His Way Into The Music Industry
By Lauren Johnson
It was a bright and sunny day with record-breaking heat in New York City, but the overwhelming humidity and hot temps did nothing to dampen Adam Cola’s sensational style and bright personality. Pop music’s newest sensation, the LA-based singer with the smooth vocals and upbeat, electric tempo, was engaging, energetic, and effusive. Everything about him, from his elegantly coiffed hair and unique-yet-classy sense of style, oozed charm and charisma. Over ice-cold drinks to combat the heatwave, Adam Cola sat down with Hedonist/Shedonist to discuss his single “Dancin’,” a mega compilation with Heard Well, and his upcoming album FLESH.BLOOD.LOVE, debuting this summer.
Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself and when you first started singing and creating music.
Adam Cola: Well, I’m from Montreal, from a traditional, tight-knit community. My parents raised us to be really disciplined, and there were rules and expectations for us. I think my creative streak was sort of something where they couldn’t really hold me down. I was always the eccentric one, and always the performer, so I was singing, dancing, and putting on shows for friends and family since I can remember. My best, best friend – me and her are total wack jobs, our sense of humor started when we were like four or five, so we were acting and putting on these crazy shows my whole life. So I always just knew that this was for me.
Q: When did you decide that you were going to pursue music as a full-time career?
Adam Cola: Only way later, I feel like I should have done it sooner in my teen years, but I don’t regret that I didn’t, because I had to go through what I went through. Twenty-one was when I made the move out to LA, and really pursued it, brushed up on my dancing and singing, to get it to that pro level, and then I recorded the album when I was 24, and now I’m 25.
Q: What is it like being out in LA now? How is it different from Montreal, and how has living there helped shape your career?
Adam Cola: [Laughs] LA is SO different, SO different, in so many ways. Climate, way of life, there’s a lot more opportunity obviously in Los Angeles. I loved that I was kinda able to own who I really, really was. Because I grew up in an environment where individuality wasn’t necessarily encouraged, moving out to LA was a breath of fresh air for me in that realm. I felt like I could finally date who I wanted to date, and just explore different things. And I learned so much about myself in a short amount of time because of that, so yeah, it’s good to embrace that aspect, and I feel like more people in those communities like what I grew up in should start embracing individuality among people, you know? Especially young people, because you’re kinda stifling their growth if you’re not.
Q: Being able to express yourself and be who you are is a core part of your message, but it’s not always easy, and a lot of people struggle with it. How did you overcome that, and what advice would you give to somebody looking to just love themselves?
Adam Cola: I still struggle with it, definitely, but the performer side of me is where I get to overcome it. I am pretty shy and timid and “oh god, am I going to be judged?” [laughs]. I do have that natural sense about me, so I really do get how hard it is sometimes for people to break down those walls and be themselves. But I think the best advice I can give is just to be good to yourself, and encourage yourself. Don’t be so hard on yourself, you know? Treat yourself, and compliment yourself, you should really love who you are, because no one else can fill your place. And just believe that you’re here for a reason, because you are. Isn’t it wild that no two people will ever walk the same path, or will ever be alike? I think what’s gonna make the world better is when people [realize that]. I know the world is such a massive, massive place, and there’s so many cultures – but just, I don’t know, find that inner performer in you, I think everyone has it in them. Be good to yourself and others – that’s the true testament of a human being. You’re not cooler because you’re straight, gay, black, white – that doesn’t mean much. I think it will minimize the amount of bullying, and it will perpetuate a better sort of dynamic in the school systems. I worked with Heard Well, who did a compilation in support of GLSEN. GLSEN is a nonprofit organization that fights for the inclusiveness of LGBTQ youth in schools, so that’s kinda what I’m getting at with the dynamic in that kind of environment. I think including them more and giving them their voice and giving them the opportunity to be included and be looked at as just like anyone else (which they should), I think that will also minimize the amount of alienation that’s caused by these bullies. Because they’re the ones that are gonna look kinda dumb at the end of the day. Like who do you think you are, you know? You are who you are based on how you treat yourself and others. We’re getting deep here [laughs].
Q: Speaking of Heard Well, what was it like when you found out you were going to be a part of the compilation?
Adam Cola: I was stoked, I was overjoyed. I was like, this is a perfect marriage, because my whole message goes along with it really well. So we teamed up seamlessly. It was nice to meet with them and other like-minded people, and just make our community as magnified as possible.
Q: You close out the Heard Well compilation with “Dancin’.” Can you tell me a little bit about that song and how the theme of dancing has played an important role in your music?
Adam Cola: I love up-tempo, feel-good music, that’s what I gravitate to. I know that different people in different age groups, based on music history, will gravitate more to other genres, like the darker ones, but I gravitate to upbeat music that makes you feel good, and dancing makes everybody feel good, I hope [laughs]. I remember when we recorded Dancin’ that day, I wanted to just write a song about dancing and I was like, “Let’s call it “Dancin’” [laughs], before we even wrote it I’m like “It’s called Dancin’. It’s gonna be a dance song. Let’s make the beat” [laughs]. I picture myself in a club, singing and getting that swagger – I want the song to inspire men and women and whoever to get that extra confidence to go up to people they’re interested in at the club, you know? Just right off the top it has that beat and it’s hard-hitting and it kinda like, lights the fire under their ass [laughs].
Q: Who do you listen to on your playlist that inspires you?
Adam Cola: I have a pretty eclectic playlist, I like, again, really up-tempo music, I like the new music from Halsey, I think she’s cool. I like J Balvin, Bazzi, I like his song “Mine.” Dua Lipa’s really awesome, I like her right now. And I’ll always love DJs, always love electronic music. A lot of producers on my album are also DJs, I love the electronic feel. But good messages, truthful music…I like that. And something that just feels good.
Q: If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
Adam Cola: Hmmm, that’s a good question. Probably a girl, I would want it to be with a female artist, or a rapper. My dream collaboration, to be honest, is Britney Spears. I love Britney, I really love her. I know some people find her voice to be like, whatever, but I always liked her voice, so I don’t know, I would want it to be with Britney.
Q: What is one thing you hope fans take away from your new album, FLESH.BLOOD.LOVE, releasing this summer?
Adam Cola: That I’m a real guy just like them, that I’m a real person just like them. That I have my happy moments, I have my more angry moments…there’s one song where I’m like ”Screw you!” to an ex [laughs]. But yeah, that I’m just like them, and that I like to be creative, and make music that makes people’s hearts sing.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add before we say goodbye?
Adam Cola: I’m performing next month in LA at TigerHeat, it’s 18+, so if you’re 18 and over you can come and see me perform. I’m gonna be doing a few songs, and there’s gonna be dancing, lights, a lot of style, a lot of swagger, sexy…it’s gonna be cool!
Q: You definitely have a lot of style.
Adam Cola: Thanks, you too!