IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What city and state are you from?
AD WEIGHS: I’m originally from the west side of Detroit, Michigan and I grew up in the city and many of its surrounding suburbs. My mother, two siblings, and I moved around quite a bit. I attended three different high schools. As an adult, I wanted to experience different cultures and see more of this interesting landscape, so I traveled a little until September of 2013 when I found myself in Asheville, North Carolina. I fell in love with the mountain scenery and the eclectic vibe of the city’s residence. My roots have always been, and will forever be in the City of Detroit, but Asheville inspires my creativity like no other place I’ve ever been.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What is your music background?
AD WEIGHS: I fell in love with hip-hop in the mid-nineteen-eighties. I started writing rhymes when I was 8 years old. I remember trying to make beats on a Casio keyboard. I ruined my mother’s records by trying to scratch on our home stereo, which apparently was not designed for scratching. Who knew? As a kid I banged around on the piano, thinking I was really doing something. I played violin in school….poorly. I started making beats in 1993. I was really only interested in making long, repetitive grooves to freestyle to. My cousin, Arnelle Carmichael, was in the band, Raydio with Ray Parker Jr. He had a studio in his basement. In 1995, I started recording in his studio. I was recording with my group, R!VER G#OST for just a few months before deciding to take on home recording myself. By 1997, I had a home-recording set-up and I was learning a lot about recording and mixing. Many Detroit-area artist would come to my lab for recording and production, including, Infamous 88 and Baatin of Slum Village. I’m so used to recording my own music, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to record in someone else’s studio.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Why do you want to record and release your own music?
AD WEIGHS: I record my own music because it’s like therapy for me and because we all experience the same emotions at one time or another, it might also prove therapeutic for someone else. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for a beat or song lyrics and having the studio just a few feet away is very helpful. It allows me to capture that idea immediately before it gets lost in the mind-chatter. Recording the music has become a force of habit. Releasing the music is also a no-brainer. I do it for the same reason anybody tweets or picks up the phone to call a friend; you have a thought or an idea that you think should be shared so you share it.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your songs about?
AD WEIGHS: My songs are more about a people and not so much about a person. In every song I’ve written, there is always something in the lyrical content that is designed to make the listener look into the mirror. Sometimes it’s just a couple of bars and sometimes it’s the entire song, but it’s always there. Sometimes it’s blatantly obvious and sometimes it’s hidden, but it’s always there. I’m fascinated by human behavior, especially our tendency to reject the uncomfortable truth. Brutal honesty makes a lot of us uncomfortable, but not me. I embrace it. I am all about growing, evolving and building a better self and that can’t be accomplished by constantly clinging to those comfortable lies and remaining blissfully ignorant. I also use a lot of humor in my lyrics mainly for my own self-amusement and to make myself chuckle foolishly. Furthermore, I’m influenced by the great stand-up comics who used humor to express truth such as Bill Hicks And George Carlin. Oscar Wilde once said, “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you. That’s one of my favorite quotes. As I release more music, my fans are gradually being exposed to more introspective lyrical content. Most of my lyrics can be summed up in two simple words; “consider this.”
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Who is your fan base directed towards?
AD WEIGHS: My fan base is incredibly diverse. People of all ages, races, and cultures have reached out to me and expressed sincere appreciation for my music. I have noticed that a lot of my fans are not particularly fond of hip-hop, yet they enjoy my music. I’ve heard it countless times from various sources. For example; a couple of months ago, I was at a gas station in rural North Carolina. There was a 60-something year old man with a long, gray beard and a heavy, southern twang reciting the lyrics to “Green Almighty”. It was an amusing sight to see to say the least. Then there are the teenagers and the 40-somethings that dig the music too. I think most of my fans are people who are ready to hear something different. Those who appreciate creativity and artists who don’t adhere to the rules. Those who don’t believe good music has to sound like what’s being played on the radio today tend to appreciate an A.D. Weighs recording. But I can’t pinpoint who or where they are or what they look like. They’re sprinkled throughout the globe in various cultures and while, at the moment, they are few, they are definitely a major inspiration.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: Who are your musical influences?
AD WEIGHS: I think my earliest musical influences were my mother and father. (I’m going way back here because they divorced when I was four, so I was just a small-fry, probably just out of the diaper, dancing around in the living room, listening to my father and mother play the piano and sing). Funny, I remember them singing, “My Endless Love” to each other. I guess that was their song. And my father would write songs and play them on the piano while singing to my mother. They also played a lot of Motown music on the record player. We used to listen to Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, and bunch of others. When I got a little older, I remember I was a huge fan of Anita Baker’s Rapture album. I used to play it every day and sing along…poorly. I think most of my friends were more into hip-hop at that time, but there was something amazing about “Rapture” that I felt internally. When Beastie Boys’ “License to Ill” cassette found its way into our home stereo, I was hooked. My siblings and I played that tape every day after school for months. We also loved Big Daddy Kane, Kool Moe Dee, NWA and LL Cool J. Those were my earliest influences. Later in life I would gravitate toward other artists of various genres. I loved Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Boys II Men, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, Natalie Merchant, DeAngelo, to name a few. I guess I’m just inspired by great music regardless of whom or where it’s from. I think perhaps the biggest influence, one that made the biggest impact on me as a recording artist, was the Mars Volta’s “De-Loused in the Comatorium”. When I heard that album, it made me want to go back to the drawing board and erase everything I had ever recorded. It was, in my opinion, the ultimate creative expression. It spoke to me, and what it said was, “let us show you what real creativity is all about”. To this day, it’s probably in my top five most impactful albums and greatest influences.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How would you describe your music to people?
AD WEIGHS: I would probably describe my music as rock, jazzy, bluesy, noisy and melodic. My music is me. The instruments I select for my production tend to sound like something you don’t typically hear in hip-hop. And I often play the notes in a way that is not traditionally hip-hop. I like to rap to music that rappers aren’t supposed to rap to. And if I do use a beat that sounds somewhat familiar, I’m most-likely rapping about something you don’t usually hear in hip-hop music. When I’m singing on a hook, it sounds like Motown soul meets Nineties grunge. I’m a bit of a weirdo. Even if I tried to make a record that sounded typical, I doubt I’d be able to pull it off. Fortunately, I’m not interested in doing so. My music sounds like my thoughts. It’s a sonic representation of my mind-chatter. That’s exactly why I hardly ever spit over someone else’s production; I don’t think it sounds like my thoughts. It’s someone else’s mind-chatter, therefore it usually doesn’t fit right. If you were to make a movie about my life and all the experiences that made me the man I am today, the music would have to be A.D. Weighs productions. Otherwise it would be a blatant misrepresentation of who I am as a person.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What makes you stand out from other artists?
AD WEIGHS: I believe I stand out from other artists for a few key reasons:
1. My vocabulary is rather colorful. I tend to use words that you wouldn’t typically find in hip-hop lyrics. It’s not that I’m highly educated. I just have an unusual way of explaining things, therefore, you won’t find much of the popular slang of the day in my lyrics, but rather a fascinating collage of colorful wordplay that often inspires the listener to rewind the track.
2. My voice is captivating. And I don’t want to sound as though I’m bragging because I think it’s foolish to brag about things that one has no control over. Genetics deserves the credit for my deep, silky voice, so shout out to Mom and Pops. Personally, I don’t see what’s so great about it, but the fans tell me all the time, “You have an amazing voice.” And even those who have never heard any of my music tell me I would have a prosperous career in radio. I’ve accepted the reality that my voice is golden. It’s a bit of an unfair advantage, but I’m not complaining.
3. My production sounds like my production. While it may not be the sound we’re used to hearing on mainstream radio, it is my sound. It’s my own style of production and it had been decades in the making. It’s a sound that you can’t get anywhere else because it’s mine. It’s me. It’s a result of the way I hear music and the way I experience art. It’s an auditory manifestation of my dreams and nightmares. It’s unique.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are some upcoming projects you are currently working on?
AD WEIGHS: I’m currently recording an album, which I’d like to release in 2015. I’m also releasing a few random singles that won’t be on the album. In addition to those projects, I’m releasing a few of my older, unreleased tracks that have been sitting in my lab since the days of floppy discs and analog cassettes. I’d like to release those songs to give my audience an opportunity to see how I’ve grown as an artist. I have some songs dating as far back as 1997 that would still hold up against a lot of these recordings artists are releasing today. There are some timeless works in my vault and I think it’s a good idea to share even if it results in nothing more than a good laugh for my fans at my expense.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: What are your career goals? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
AD WEIGHS: I see myself producing movies and directing. I love film-making and I’ve learned a lot about the art form over the past few years. I’ve been filming, directing, and editing commercials and music videos here in Asheville with my company, AVL Creative. I’m just gaining experience and knowledge and learning from my mistakes. I’ll continue making music until I’m dead, but to combine that audio with creative visuals is one of my strongest passions. I’d also like to do production work for younger, unsigned hip-hop artists.
IAA INDUSTRY NEWS: How can your fans access your music and contact you?
AD WEIGHS: Fans can access my music via ReverbNation. www.reverbnation.com/adweighs
I do have my music featured on other sites, but ReverbNation just happens to be my favorite because of the many opportunities I’ve been given through their platform. Some of my music is available for free download. I also like to have more personal, direct contact with my fans. I encourage them to reach out to me via my personal email: email@example.com I’ve been known to send new, unreleased mp3s to fans. I enjoy interacting with them.
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