With neon club vibes drenched in husky vocals, and energetic vibrations pulsing with love and individuality, Adam Cola’s Make Your Mark (released on 5 March) is electric and fun. Self-described as “born an artist”, Cola’s passion for the arts pours itself into his music. Ever the stubborn one, his motivation only grows in the midst of pandemic stagnation. And even more so than that, despite the uncertainty of payoff, he hopes that his music can make an impact and brighten someone’s life in some way.
“I think god blessed me with rhythm as soon as I came out of the womb,” Cola says. He remembers listening to the songs his mom played through the car radio on his way to pre-school. It’s that small, intricate detail and memory that catalysed his love for singing. And at the early age of 8 years old, he attended his first dance class at summer camp. Always the performer, it comes as no surprise that he enrolled at a performing arts college in Hollywood.
The early spark of his creativity saw his interest in drawing. As a result, he would spend countless of hours creating images from just mere imagination. Nowadays, he’s transcending into more than just pictures from pages. He’s making music and expressing himself freely through fashion, subsequently combining these two sides of himself. “I’m all about personal style and rocking your own signature swag. I feel like fashion is part of who I am, and it can be heard in my music for sure. ‘Make Your Mark’ would be the perfect track to be playing in a runway show”. Even until now, he’s finding more ways to practice that creativity: “I have become a lot more interested in graphic design! I took an online seminar on how to use Photoshop and other Adobe programs! I’m getting pretty good, but I still have a lot to learn.”
Cola’s biggest musical heroes are the likes of Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson, with an honorable mention going to The Weeknd. To him, Spears makes performing look easy. Timberlake’s first solo music video was also a big turning point for Cola. As for Jackson, he has nothing but praise for the king of pop: “I immersed myself in Michael Jackson’s whole catalogue of music videos and live performances. I’ve learned that he is such a perfectionist and works tremendously hard when it comes to every single project. From his studio work, his music videos, and live concerts. I love the cinematic aspect he incorporates in his works. He inspires me to be as involved in every aspect of my career as possible to make everything as creative and powerful as possible.”
With those inspirations in mind, the creation process of his album Make Your Mark lasted over a year. This includes the first writing session, down to mastering and selecting which singles to release. He worked with a wide range of songwriters and producers who helped him find his sound. Often, he would write one or two songs per session and record them on the spot—an admirable feat which resulted in a library of over 60 demos. He even worked with Grammy Award winner producer, Neal Pogue, who he claims helped further bring his ideas to life.
But the core of the record is undoubtedly Adam Cola himself. “Every song started with me. I always came to work prepared to sing about something meaningful to me. By pouring my heart out and sharing my stories with the producers and songwriters I worked with, they felt my energy and knew how to help me tell the story. If something felt like it went against my grain, I’d listen to my intuition and make changes to make it more true to myself,” he says. And so, his input adds a lot of vibrance and personality to the record. From a rollercoaster of emotions, to romantic daydreams, and even musings of past relationships—Make Your Mark is Cola’s way of making his own mark in this whirlwind of an industry.
But, it’s not always easy: “Of course, there are times when I feel doubt in my pursuits. It’s not comfortable nor easy to pursue a career as a performer. But then I remember that it’s not really about whether or not you “make it”. Or if everybody loves you, or believes in you. You have to believe in yourself. And for me…Knowing that even one person listens to my music and follows along my journey because I inspire them in some way, makes it so worth it to me.”
Words by Mae Trumata
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