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Art & Life with Adam Rochelle

Today we’d like to introduce you to Adam Rochelle.

Adam, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
My story is one of constantly expanding horizons, always looking upwards to find the best of whatever is inspiring me at the moment. I grew up outside of Boston surrounded by a community of passionate musicians, including those drawn to the city by its music schools. Always a shy and nervous kid, I was captivated by Jazz’s expressive freedom. I went to Jazz jam sessions from an early age to play with adult musicians I’d never met, exhilarated knowing I was somewhat of an outsider and I needed to be as on-my-game as possible to fit in. Though often anxious about my skill level, I knew I always worked best under pressure. Seeing people way beyond my years in practice pushed me to constantly study new ways of improving.

In college at Wesleyan University, my jazz-only musical outlook expanded connecting with other eager musicians in R&B groups, theater pit ensembles, and experimental music courses. Ultimately, I fell in love with producing Pop and Electronic Music, honing powerful arrangement techniques and studying recording and sound design skills. Uniting this with my performance-based Jazz background, I wrote my honors thesis on the discrepancies between the massive breadth of possibilities in producing music digitally and the more restricted potential of performing these arrangements in a live band. In fact, I was inspired by my own stubbornness as teenager (and those like me) who naively wrote off pop and electronic music as lazy–I wanted to bring complex digital arrangements to life on stage with a band that showcased how much was really going on in this music, something thats often obscured in a more traditional DJ-based performance.

As a New Englander all my life, I wanted to eventually live somewhere entirely different to expose myself to new inspirations. I sought a place where I could meet great producers and work my way up as a performing and session keyboardist. I settled on LA of course and have now lived here a year, allowing the broad music scene to challenge the way I’ve always conceived of my Jazz and Pop interests.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
My music lives by the adage “First you learn the rules, then you can break them”. I just cannot help being an avid studier, so whenever something new comes into my field of vision I need to learn as much as I can about it. Once I’ve absorbed what I can, I love nothing more than seeing how far I can push the boundaries. I do spend a good portion of my time performing and producing exactly what is prescribed for each moment (e.g. traditional jazz at a cocktail hour, bluesy organ in a funk band, tried-and-true pop idioms for production clients), but my favorite music I create intentionally smashes through the rules–and I secretly love watching how people react to my disregard for the expected. You’ll find me riding on an F# during a Bb ballad, dropping a jazzy breakdown into a pop production, and investing hours of practice into groups that just don’t look the way bands usually look.

The other important thing about my art is that it doesn’t live all in one niche. I couldn’t do without playing piano in my blistering jazz groups, nor without my hours in Ableton crafting beats and messing with synths. I want people to hear my music or see my performances and know I’ve given it my all, but then be surprised when they witness me engaging in an entirely different medium. I want my art to impress people, to make them laugh, and to elevate the musicians around me wherever I’m working.

How do you think about success, as an artist, and what do quality do you feel is most helpful?
Success is reaching those who appreciate your art and inspiring them to share it, growing the community around you. If there is something you are creatively inspired by, it is guaranteed that there are others who find it just as inspiring, no matter how niche. So to me, success is about finding those people and forging the symbiotic relationship between you who wants an audience and those who love the kind of thing you create (or, in many cases, those who don’t yet realize how incredible what you do is!). The most successful artists understand the two-way nature of that relationship–not just that they are owed an audience because of their work, but that the audience is owed respect, fresh ideas, and honest creative communication for their support. Success comes from putting the health of that relationship first and trusting that as it strengthens, your talent will shine.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
Currently, the most comprehensive hub of my music is my Instagram, @adam__rochelle (that’s two underscores!)–I perform in many concerts weekly supporting many incredible artists, so you can follow me to keep up to date with my upcoming events and see highlights as they appear. The best way to support me is checking out my shows and introducing your friends to what I do and the artists I work with!

I am currently developing a new way to showcase my production work in a different medium, so keep an eye out for when that is announced this summer. While you can hear some past projects and demos on my SoundCloud (https://soundcloud.com/adamrochelle), I’ll be rolling out a lot more of my tracks in a new way that I hope you’ll enjoy.

Finally, my website (www.adamrochelle.com) serves as an archive of my favorite projects from the last five years, both playing keyboards and producing. You can learn more about me there and get a great sense of my evolution through various bands, production clients, and weird music experiments!

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Daniel Witcoff, Sam Rochelle, Willie Molski, Johnnie Gilmore

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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