Q&A with NYC-based Adam Schultz, focuses on jazz and blues guitar, fusing the two genres in his own unique style

"I definitely miss the grit. I’m a younger guy, so my world has always been surrounded by technology and everything has become very corporate in the world. It’s hard to create authentic music in an industry that demands accessible music no matter the cost to the message."

Adam Schultz: Soulful Distancing

Born in 2002 and raised in New York City, Adam Schultz focuses on jazz and blues guitar, fusing the two genres in his own unique style. Living in NYC has enabled him to play with numerous amazing musicians. Adam’s high school has an incredible music program, and he had the same four teachers nurturing him for over six years. Adam took weekly guitar lessons from highly regarded Juancho Herrera and Jeff Litman and played in the Avenues Jazz Band throughout high school under the tutelage of Brendan Dolan and Chacho Schartz. When Adam was 14, Clarence Spady took notice of him and has been his mentor ever since, becoming a huge influence on Adam’s development. Clarence invites him to play at his performances regularly and they have recently recorded an album together. Adam wrote five of the songs on the album.          (Adam Schultz / Photo by Jack Frisch)

During the summers of 2016, 17, and 18, Adam performed ten shows in Brant Lake, NY with Danny Schultz (second cousin), who teamed up with 1979, a prominent local band. Danny was the founder of Boulder, CO’s renowned Band du Jour and was the guitarist for Melvin’s Seals’ JGB Band for two years after Jerry Garcia died. In addition to Soulful Distancing, the recent collaborative album with Clarence Spady, Adam was the guitar player for Vagabond’s 2019 album, Life After the Fallout. In 2018, Adam participated on Let’s Make A Record, a school sponsored project produced in a professional studio. In 2019, Adam was selected to be the guitar player in the jazz band for the NYC High School Honors Music Festival. He was selected again in 2020 but the festival was cancelled due to the pandemic. Adam’s other interests include math & science, social justice, and the environment & pollution reduction. Shultz’s debut album on Blue Heart Records, "Soulful Distancing" will be released on JULY 16, 2021.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has Blues and Rock music influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Blues music is at the foundation of everything I try to write. To me, one of the most important traits in the world and songwriting is honesty, and the blues is one of the most personal forms of music. Without Blues and Rock music, I’d be an entirely different person with different values and different experiences, because it’s given so much to me.

How do you describe your sound and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

My creative drive is influenced by whatever I’m listening to at the moment. I really enjoy finding genres and musicians I’ve never heard before, diving into their music, and pulling out ideas from them to combine into my style. I can’t say I have a specific sound, because I like variety and the freedom it gives me musically.

Which meetings have been the most important experiences? What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?

I think the best advice I ever received was to take it slow - at least in terms of music. I can’t accomplish all of my goals in a day, and not every song I create can fit onto one album. I’ve found it incredibly helpful as a guitarist and a songwriter to always be deliberate and honest with myself about every step of my process.

"Blues music is at the foundation of everything I try to write. To me, one of the most important traits in the world and songwriting is honesty, and the blues is one of the most personal forms of music. Without Blues and Rock music, I’d be an entirely different person with different values and different experiences, because it’s given so much to me." (Adam Schultz / Photo by Jack Frisch)

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

Playing onstage with Clarence Spady at Terra Blues when I was 14 years old was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever done. I loved it. There’s really nothing like performing in front of a New York City crowd because they always expect more than you think you can deliver.

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

I definitely miss the grit. I’m a younger guy, so my world has always been surrounded by technology and everything has become very corporate in the world. It’s hard to create authentic music in an industry that demands accessible music no matter the cost to the message.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

I wish streaming would be more equitable for musicians. Everybody wants more music to be produced, and right now is the best time ever for smaller musicians to produce their own albums and distribute them. But it’s still impossible to make money off of services like Spotify and Apple Music until you become a major star a la John Mayer.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Repetition Legitimizes. Repetition Legitimizes. Repetition Legitimi- You get the gist. Aside from that, learning how to listen and interact onstage turned performing into one of the most enjoyable aspects of my life.

"I think the best advice I ever received was to take it slow - at least in terms of music. I can’t accomplish all of my goals in a day, and not every song I create can fit onto one album. I’ve found it incredibly helpful as a guitarist and a songwriter to always be deliberate and honest with myself about every step of my process." (Adam Schultz / Photo by Jack Frisch)

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want to affect people?

I want to be accessible before I can put out a message. Music at its core is entertainment. Can it be political, or emotional, or tell hard truths? Yes! But before I personally get on the soapbox, I’d like a crowd to hear me speak.

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

Sometime in 1950’s or 60’s or 70’s, right in midtown Manhattan. I just want to see all those Jazz and Blues clubs cause they all shut down before I was even born!

Adam Schultz - Home

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