You may know him from his popular mix of Representative Maxine Water’s now iconic statement “Reclaiming my time,” from “Cookies ft. Vanessa Vanjie Mateo,” or from the viral smash, “Linda Evangelista” (ft. AJA from RuPaul’s DragRace). Well, we caught up with the talented singer, songwriter, and producer Adam Joseph on the heels of one of his latest releases, “Size Queen” to learn a little more about him and what he’s been up to.
Joseph is one of the leading forces in the queer underground music scene and there are no signs of his slowing down. His musical and artistic career started early. He was exposed to music and song in the Southern Baptist church growing up, his mother and siblings were musically inclined, and he attended a performing arts school starting in the fourth grade. Around the sixth grade he went on tour with Oliver where he was surrounded day and night by those truly interested and committed to an artistic life. He later went on to study at Berklee College of Music where he would start a band. He hadn’t much experience yet in recording music but in his true fashion he didn’t wait for anyone or anything. He took matters into his own hands and with some help in mixing the vocals, he wrote, arranged, and produced his first album, “How I Seem to Be” which received heavy rotation on Logo Network.
In 2004, he moved to New York City where he started to establish more relationships and joined the scene. He was singing where he could and started producing tracks for other people. By 2006 he hooked up with Jonny McGovern for whom he would eventually produce three albums. You could say Joseph has been a resident producer of McGovern’s ever since they met.
More recent endeavors have included “Reclaiming My Time” the catchphrase from representative Maxine Waters which received much media attention; an uptown funk-ish track called “Thirsty” featuring Peppermint; a bitchy track “Not Madonna (ft. Michelle Visage); “Gravity,” a soaring pop track about overcoming addiction and depression with musician Zach Adam; and “Size Queen,” a track with a vibey deep house beat.
As a singer, songwriter, or producer, Joseph enjoys collaborating with others. His most memorable was working with legendary nightclub performer Kevin Aviance some years ago. “It was really cool to be recording him in the studio and seeing how he works,” said Joseph. “It was really cool to work with him because it was someone I admired.” As a songwriter, Joseph has written songs for himself as well as #1 Billboard artists like Inaya Day and Lea Lorien.
When asked who is someone he has yet to collaborate with that he would like to, the answer was RuPaul. “We’ve talked about working together but it hasn’t happened. We’ve been friends for years but we haven’t ended up working together.” When asked, why RuPaul, Joseph responded, “I really like his message as a recording artist. There is always something positive in his music. He’s very inspirational to me and I think it would be really cool to be a part of that.” Joseph himself is trying to send out a positive message through his work for gay men or any type of LGBTQ+ person. He wants them to be proud of who they are and not be afraid to express themselves.
As an artist Joseph understands that persistence is key. “Some songs may not work or not get heard but you have to keep moving.” He shared that for every song that gets released, there are likely 10 more that don’t. And he has no problems with starting over. Sometimes he has a project that isn’t going right and he does a reboot. He also shared that one of the struggles as an independent artist and producer is getting his music listened to and getting noticed. He acknowledges that every project is a gamble but it’s important to keep moving. He’ll determine the success of a song when people write him and share that they got something out of the song. “That’s what songwriting is all about for me. It’s really about how it affects people,” said Joseph.
He’s had his share of ups and downs, in part as a gay artist. Joseph told us, “When I first started I had a manager come up to me after seeing me perform. The manager said, ‘You’re really great. If you weren’t gay you could be huge.’” Even as recently as 2018 when he was working on “Size Queen,” he had to go through three different producers before it was produced.
When asked what words of advice he would share with young LGBTQ artists, Joseph said to “Be yourself.” He doesn’t want to see others trying to be something that they see as popular, just because it’s popular, that’s no way to live. He also suggests, “Make music and release it.” He said that the thing that holds people back the most is waiting, waiting for someone to tell them it’s okay to do something and it doesn’t have to be that way. Joseph believes that no one is going to get behind an artist until they put themselves out there.
We closed by asking our signature question, “What would you say is something unconventional about yourself?” Joseph said, “I’m a complete nomad. I’m always traveling. I lived in New York City and the last four years I was there I was traveling to Europe all the time. Since I moved to LA I’ve only been in town for half of the year.”
We will be looking forward to a lot more from Adam Joseph. In the works is a new single “Bye Felicia” slated for early fall.