Rapper Sammy Adams: “Music is a struggle and a triumph”

Rapper Sammy Adams told LSY teen reporter Jessica Wojcinski that songwriters should be vulnerable. (Photo by Tim O'Shei)

Rapper Sammy Adams told LSY teen reporter Jessica Wojcinski that songwriters should be vulnerable. (Photo by Tim O’Shei)

According to Sammy Adams, “The best kind of music is vulnerable.”

The 24-year-old rapper and singer-songwriter prides himself on being totally open and honest in his music, and emphasizes that vulnerability and embracing your individuality are essential to being a musician.

“Kids don’t always necessarily want to hear about what you have, they want to hear about your relationships,” he said. “The more real you are with your fans, the more real they will be with you.”

Growing up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Sammy was one of many young would-be hip hop artists.

“Everyone in my neighborhood was a rapper,” he said. “It was very natural.”

But he wanted to set himself apart as a professional, and began learning to use recording equipment while he was still in high school. Sammy was initially discovered when his song “I Hate College” – written while he was attending Trinity College for political science – went viral.

In our interview at WPXY’s Summer Jam concert in Rochester, New York, I asked why he didn’t just go to school for music if he really hated college. He admitted that he didn’t actually hate college, and being a self-taught musician was, and still is, a unique part of him that he would have lost had he been classically trained. Still, how did he go from being a political science major to a musician outpacing albums by Lil Wayne and DJ Khaled?

Sammy Adams signs autographs for fans at PXY's Summer Jam in Rochester, New York. (Photo by Tim O'Shei)

Sammy Adams signs autographs for fans at PXY’s Summer Jam in Rochester, New York. (Photo by Tim O’Shei)

“Staying super driven and on task (is) one of the biggest things. People don’t realize if you really work hard and you really have the perseverance and drive and determination to get somewhere, you can do it. It’s the best feeling in the world (to defy) the odds.”

As a musician I was immediately skeptical. While it is true that being driven and determined is essential, plenty of driven and determined musicians never “make it” in the industry. I brought up how there are so many talented singers on shows like American Idol and The Voice that get voted off and fade out, or even some of the winners of these shows that have one album then seem to lose fan interest.

So how can driven and determined artists believe they have a chance?

“Really you just need to find your comfort zone with what you want to do,” he said. “A lot of those people on TV … are singing other people’s songs. It’s so different when you’re singing other people’s songs because when you write a song and you see the reaction in a crowd, it’s such an amazing, incredible feeling. . . So find your niche, find your lane where you’re comfortable making music and add a little vulnerability and what’s going on in your life. People want to see that. And just go play places!”

So what can you and aspiring musicians learn from Sammy? “Music is a struggle and a triumph,” he said, but with hard work and determination paired with individuality and vulnerability, you’ll make it. Not just in music, but in anything you set your mind to accomplishing.

Jessica Wojcinski, LSY teen reporter

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