Adam Blackstone needs no introduction…
Adam is, of course, a well known and amazing bass player, hit songwriter/producer, and Emmy nominated music director to Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Eminem, Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, Maroon 5, Nicki Minaj, and numerous other global superstars.
He was the Band Leader & Bassist for the movie, The Greatest Showman…
Most recently, Adam and the BBE All-Star Band tore up the 50-yard line during the Pepsi Super Bowl LIV Halftime Show…
Adam Blackstone Interview
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Let’s start at the very beginning. Can you please tell us how your musical journey began?
Thank you, Andreas. My upbringing and my family have had a major influence on my musical trajectory. My dad was a full-time musician, and church organist as well, therefore I grew up in a church learning music. All instruments – from drums to organ to bass, etc. As I was growing up I ended up filling in whatever spot the church group needed. One day I was playing bass the next day drums, etc.
My family was my very first music and life teacher. They showed me right away that it was cool to play music as a career. I was always taught that I could do anything I wanted, but it was cool to follow your dreams and live out your passions creatively. Additionally, I am very thankful to my family because they were always encouraging me to follow my dreams.
As far as I know you were awarded a full scholarship to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Please tell us about your experience there.
At high school I was considered to be the “Best” in music, therefore college was definitely a wake-up call. The school was filled with amazing musicians who could read, play by ear, improvise, etc. That gave me fuel and determination and I worked tirelessly and very hard. I gave a major effort and took extra classes, did extra gigs and even got an upright bass to be able to compete with the other bass majors in my school. I learned to always do my best with the cards I was given.
You have had an extensive career in music, both live and in the studio. What would you consider to be the recordings that represent your best work thus far?
I always try to do the best at each gig like it’s my last. However, to answer your question, I believe that the work I did with Joss Stone and The Greatest Showman are probably some of my favorites. I used a Fender Deluxe on those recordings which I still have and still love.
Every musician has albums/CDs that influenced their career. What would you consider to be your favorites
I would start with Jaco’s Birthday Concert. When I heard that I was completely blown away. Then throughout my career different recordings influenced me at different times. Usher Live with my good friend Alex Evans on Bass and Jill Scott 826+. A lot of recordings that feature Anthony Jackson, etc. One of the records I still study is Miles Davis Kind of Blue. That is a phenomenal record.
Who would you consider a mentor?
Definitely Derrick Hodge, a good friend of mine. He taught me how to balance life, family, work, music and have a good relationship with God. All these are essential elements in life and we always need to be reminded of.
Everybody likes to talk about gear. What gear do you use live and in the studio?
Regarding Strings, I have been using Black Diamond Black steel 125.
As we already mentioned you are recording a lot and spend time in the studio arranging, producing and playing bass on different records. Do you have any recording advice for bass players? How do you achieve your sound?
It’s all in the hands. Listen and make sure you accommodate and serve the song.
Besides being an amazing bass player, you are also a successful Musical Director. How do you approach live arrangements? How do you come up with bass lines?
I think one of the main things I’ve learned, climbing up the ranks and becoming a musical director, is that the higher up I get, it is very interesting to see how much hard work people are still putting into their craft. That’s very inspiring to me because I want to continue to get better as well. I always support and depend on my BASSic Black Entertainment Team. We always work together and exchange ideas organically. We always grow as individuals and as a team and I believe that is what brings the ideas on the table, just exchanging and interacting with each other.
Lastly, I see that you were part of the new Fender Ultra Bass video. As you said before, I know you have been using Fender basses. What do you like about the new Ultra.
Firstly, being part of any video, especially one shot by a prestigious, historic company like Fender is nerve-racking. I definitely had a great time and I always thank Fender for trusting me to be in their video. Regarding the Ultra bass. I love the new noiseless pickups as well as the neck! It is definitely a fast-playing neck! The D shape makes for comfortable and effortless soloing, comping, even chord playing.
For more on the BASSic Black Entertainment, visit online at bassicblack.com