New Jersey-born artist and producer Skrizzly Adams isn’t afraid of breaking genre boundaries. His latest single “Too Close to Fire” highlights the blend of Americana, alt-rock, pop, and hip-hop production fans have grown to know (and love) him for. Within one month of its release, the track amassed over 135,000 Spotify listens and secured airplay in cities like New York, Miami, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and more.
Since he began his career path in 2009 by producing out his dorm room, he’s been signed to a label, released music independently, won the Grand Prize at the International Songwriting Competition, and toured with the likes of Elle King and Lissie.
We caught up with Skrizzly to talk about his journey, genre gatekeepers, “Too Close to Fire,” and more.
1. You got started by producing out of your dorm room. Do you have any tips out there for musicians in college who want to get started but aren’t sure how?
I’d say the most important thing is to just get started making music. Whatever it may be, just start. Give it your all, have a vision for what you’re working on and out work your competition.
2. Your sound is a super unique hybrid of alt-rock, country and hip-hop. Do you make a conscious effort to balance all of those elements or does that blend come naturally?
I like to let the blending come naturally. I think all these different genre influences are just a part of who I am as an artist, but every song comes together on a case by case basis. The production and vibe should always be done to best serve the song.
3. With that mix of genres, it seems like you have the potential to both draw in audiences from multiple groups, but also come across people who’ll resist the blending of genres. Have you encountered those types of “genre gatekeepers” in your career?
I’m super grateful to have listeners and fans from various genres, but yes I have faced a great deal of gatekeeper resistance for being too country or too rock or too hip hop or too pop. I never let it get in the way of creating what I’ve set out to create though.
4. Last year you released your debut LP Young Man. Did you consciously change anything about your songwriting process when you were working on that record as opposed to your previous EPs and single?
Young Man encompassed songwriting from over a 6 year period, so I can’t confidently say I did anything specifically different for the songwriting process of that album, but more so that the album itself captured a wide variety of my approaches to songwriting.
5. Your latest single “Too Close to Fire” was co-produced with Ken Lewis and Brent Kolatalo. What was that collaboration like?
Great experience. I’ve worked with them for 7 years now and feel like with this new single/album we’ve hit a stride. I feel more comfortable than ever trying new things with them and pushing myself as an artist.
6. Like a lot of artists, you’ve experienced lots of highs and lows in your career both being signed to a label and working independently. What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learned in terms of navigating the music industry?
Patience. Sometimes what you’re striving for just takes time.
7. With the world in its current bizarre state, we’ve seen artists having to adapt to a more virtual landscape to connect with their fans. Has that transition been for you and what are you most excited to do once this pandemic (hopefully) ends?
Obviously not being able to play shows and connect with fans in person is a bummer, but I’ve done my best to put myself out there and connect via social media. I do daily livestream concerts and started a text line. Once the pandemic ends I can’t wait to perform again and just be with my audience in person.
8. The last thing I want to touch on is the fact that you have your own beef jerky! How did that come about?
A friend of mine way back was listening to some of my demos (before I ever released music) while eating beef jerky. He texted me saying it felt really right and from there it gave me the idea that I should make my own Skrizzly’s Beef Jerky. I then chased that idea until it was a reality, debuted it at a show in Madison, Wisconsin, and it was a big hit. Been in the jerky biz ever since.