Adam Liebman will get into a multi-genre groove March 20 in Farmington.
The West Bloomfield singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and music producer will bring flavors of pop, rock, jazz, R&B, blues and funk to his “LIVE!” set at the Farmington Civic Theater. He’ll open with a solo acoustic performance and share the stage with Rochester indie pop singer-songwriter and headliner Olivia Dear.
“I’ve been writing a lot of songs that I really believe in. I think people are going to like this set. It’s a little bit of a departure from my Mood Chambers EP, but it’s a good departure,” said Liebman, who’s previously performed during the theater’s “Out Front” summer concert series. “It’s more mature, I think the songwriting is better, and I’m really excited to show people what I’ve been working on.”
As a Berklee College of Music student, Liebman, 20, has amassed a wealth of new material since releasing his groove-filled debut EP, Mood Chambers, in 2018. With a double major in guitar performance and contemporary writing and production, Liebman writes and records in his apartment-based recording studio and collaborates with classmates in Boston.
“It’s really rigorous, even one major would be a lot, but it’s all stuff that I really love. I’m doing a vocal score for this class that I have called vocal writing. They teach you to professionally prepare scores and vocal parts for vocal ensemble,” he said.
“Next year, I get to look forward to learning studio recording techniques and mixing applications for writers and writing for big band and orchestra. There’s a lot of really cool stuff in the curriculum.”
Liebman started honing his musical abilities at age seven while taking piano lessons. His father is a professional bass player who inspired Liebman’s initial love of music and lifelong appreciation of the guitar. By age nine, he started playing guitar and emulating his shredder heroes, including Metallica’s Kirk Hammett and rock-jazz-metal guitarist Guthrie Govan.
In high school, Liebman experimented with different guitar-playing styles and recorded original material on his “creation station” in the family basement. For Liebman, it was part of a childhood dream to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music after graduation.
“I would just mess around on the computer with my digital audio workstation. I started getting interested in making beats and writing songs, and then I realized I had an aptitude for it, so I took it a little bit more seriously and put some more time into it,” he said.
Much of that time included attending two summer programs at Berklee and studying with Colin Sapp, an assistant professor of guitar and well-known guitarist, composer and producer. Liebman continued his guitar studies via Skype with Sapp throughout his high school years.
Meanwhile, Liebman’s ongoing guitar studies soon led to a coveted spot at Berklee, where he’s currently taking 11 classes, writing and recording with friends, and performing in funk-fusion instrumental showcases and all-star ensembles.
“I’m so grateful to the people that I’ve met here, they’ve really changed my life,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of different opportunities to network and collaborate with people.”
Entering ‘Mood Chambers’
By 2017, Liebman started writing songs for the Mood Chambers EP, which features seven multi-genre tracks that beautifully showcase his innate ability to write, arrange, record and produce his own music.
“They all sound completely different, like you’re in a different room, so I thought that would be a pretty cool idea for an EP. That every song conveys a different mood and texture, and the cohesion for the EP comes from me, and it’s all my style. There are all these Adam-isms in the project,” Liebman said.
Mood Chambers’ catchy opener, “Assuming Things,” features vibrant acoustic strums and stunning electric guitar solos intertwined with finger snaps and soulful vocals akin to John Mayer as Liebman sings, “The notion that anyone could ever think that they know me when they don’t, they just don’t/So stop assuming things that you don’t know, yeah.”
Another striking track includes, “Feelin’ Good,” which nicely fuses pop, R&B and soul into one groovy ditty. Funky bass and wah-wah guitar instantly create a laid-back sonic escape from everyday troubles as Liebman croons, “Well I just don’t know how I feel (I don’t know how)/About rushing into something so real (This feels too real)/But lately I’ve been thinkin’ I would like to focus on feelin’ good.”
“I think a few people agree with me, I know my mom does, she said that ‘Feelin’ Good’ is the one that aged the best. I tend to agree, I really like the bass in that one,” Liebman said. “That song actually came out of me in one day, and I think that was the only song on the EP that was like that. I don’t know, one day I was just feeling good, and I wanted to write a song about feeling good.”
With a debut EP under his belt, Liebman will continue to write and record new material throughout the school year. He will release two to three new singles over the spring and summer while performing a growing roster of live shows around Boston.
“I’m not taking classes this summer, but I am staying in Boston. My plan is to just work on music and work on my career. I have a lot of gigging opportunities in Boston, and in the summer it’s going to open up even more,” Liebman said. “I’m going to just try to grind some stuff out. Maybe it will be even more than two or three songs if I get really bored this summer.”
Friday, March 20 | Doors 7:30 p.m. | Show 8 p.m.
Farmington Civic Theater, 33332 Grand Rive Ave. in Farmington