Adam Melchor on the Power of Musical Storytelling

Future Nobleman staff writers (2020-21)Jacob Casper, Ryan Sanghavi, and Jessica Zhang

“There’s a lot more to your stories than you think.”Adam Melchor lives by these words when writing music because he tries to tell his stories through the lyrics and chords of a song. Melchor is a 27-year-old professional singer-songwriter from New Jersey who now lives in LA, writing music for himself and others.

Recently, Melchor was on tour playing in cities all over the country, yet forced to stop due to the COVID-19 outbreak. “I was lucky enough to play a show on February 28th,” Melchor remembered. “The best performance is… I always try to make it the last one that I do.”

Future Nobleman staff writers Jacob Casper, Ryan Sanghavi, and Jessica Zhang were able to get a remote interview with him over Zoom. Melchor grew up with parents who were both professional musicians. At a young age, Melchor learned to play the piano but then switched over to guitar after being inspired by his father, a skilled player from Ecuador. “I’d always wanted to take lessons from him,” he said, “and the first thing he said to me was ‘I’m not going to give you lessons because you don’t want to play like me. You want to develop your own style and what you like, because if you’re learning how to play like somebody else then you're not going to want to do it for yourself.’”

That attitude has very much influenced Melchor’s songwriting process. “I would just try to do more trial by fire stuff,” he remarked. Melchor also said that while trying to develop his own style and songs, he often found himself getting in the way of the music: “Being able to trust your instincts is a really tough thing...the songs that worked out the best for me have been songs where I’m sort of out of the way.” He thinks that it’s best not to worry about outside factors influencing the music, and has tried to create his unique own brand and image by simply being himself. Melchor’s music puts a lighthearted spin on more serious topics. He uses the personal aspects of life to connect with listeners through thoughtful songs. Melchor said, “If I can hear the words, if I can hear my voice, then the song is fine.”

While Melchor spoke about his own experience, he also provided some advice. “Warm up before you sing,” Melchor said –– he learned a number of vocal methods at Montclair State University, his opera alma mater, including how to avoid blowing out his voice.

Melchor also discussed how he knew music was for him. Of course, he had a background in it: “My parents and my family, being so musical, it was just a natural thing,” he admitted. “Once I started taking lessons, they were pretty strict on me practicing, but once I stopped taking the lessons it was still something I really wanted to do.”

He weighed in on how to find a starting place for a future in music. “To pay for college, I would play at bars and restaurants,” he explained, also mentioning, “I’m about to be twenty-eight and I started when I was eighteen. So it’s almost going to be ten years of singing and playing, and this year is my first year of being able to do an artist thing full time.” His time spent playing small gigs illustrates the significant work needed to build a lasting career in professional musical performances. Melchor’s journey suggests that passionate and driven artists can achieve the goals that they set out for.

He criticized some of the internet’s coverage on the careers of celebrity musicians: “I think a lot of times the way that the media can portray that is that it can instantly happen overnight.” Instead, many years of practice and improvement are required for most musicians to become successful.

Melchor concluded, “The stories I try to tell are my own because I think it gives a community to a lot more stories from other people than you would even think.” Melchor recently started a “Lullaby Hotline,” where he shares unreleased songs with fans weekly. If you are interested in hearing some of his music, text any message to (973) 264-4172 and receive original music every Sunday.

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