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Teacher of the Week: Adrian Cunningham

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

Hello everyone, and welcome to our blog! Our first post features the accomplished singer/songwriter/music producer Adrian Cunningham, one of the teachers on our team, who happens to have a new song being released on music platforms everywhere this Monday! Check out his music on Spotify here and read our Q&A with him below.

Q: Who are you?

A: My name is Adrian Cunningham, I am 18 years old, and I go to the University of California Santa Barbara

Q: What classes do you teach through QuaranTunes?

A: I teach Songwriting and Introduction to Music Production.

Q: How long have you been writing songs, and why?

A: I began creating music when I was a junior in high school. I had a friend, and now frequent collaborator, who introduced me to the art of music production. I began by making rap beats for fun and entered the song-writing sphere through rapping. While it was fun to emulate musicians such as Travis Scott and Kanye West, my true calling to songwriting came when I began listening to artists such as Mac Miller, Dominic Fike, and John Mayer. I wrote my biggest song, Blush, in March of 2019 about a relationship I had just entered. This was the first song I had sang on and I was hesitant at first to release it because I was nervous about how my singing would be received. Blush garnered a lot of success and continues to grow in popularity. I enjoy songwriting because it’s my method of clearing my head and opening up about myself and my life. Each song I’ve recorded and released marks a different milestone both artistically and personally.

Q: Where do you usually get inspiration for your songs?

A: I get a lot of my inspiration from music I listen to. As some examples, my song Fisherman was heavily inspired by John Mayer and Mac Miller, and King of the Gulls was inspired by Surfaces and other beach pop artists. My latest song, Nevada, was inspired by Felly’s new album, Mariposa. When I go to create a new song, I like to listen to a wide variety of music beforehand, then begin recording. Sometimes, I worry that my music is going to sound like it’s copying these artists; however, I’ve found that if I take some inspiration and run with it in my own unique way, my music always ends up sounding like me.

Q: What does the production process of your music look like?

A: My production process begins with Splice. I first search through Splice’s large catalogue of loops and one-shots to find a starter sound I want to work with. Usually, this is an electric guitar loop. Upon downloading the sound, I tweak it in Logic Pro X so it sounds different from the initial sample. My next step is layering drums and bass on top of the loop. One thing that I think separates my music from others is the use of beat switches within the song. Growing up listening to artists such as Travis Scott, Tame Impala, and Kanye West, I was inspired by their constantly changing sounds within one song. As a result, my music never gets repetitive. There are always new elements coming in midway through a song, or a different melody or style. I believe contrast is a very powerful tool in getting a listener’s attention. If suddenly, in the middle of a song, there’s a smooth transition into a stylistically different rhythm, it demonstrates my artistic versatility and prompts the listener to continue listening.

Q: Have you released any of your original songs online?

A: I first released my music on Soundcloud. However, as my style became more organized and refined, I began putting my work on Spotify, Apple Music, and every other major listening platform.

Q: What inspired you to write your newest song, “Nevada”?

A: Lately, I have been fascinated with merging rock/pop music with hip hop elements. The first half of the song feels like a pop ballad, with dreamy guitars and minimalist drums. My lyrical delivery reflects the soft nature of the song. At the halfway point, there’s a beat switch, and the hip hop elements are introduced in the form of an 808 bass, moving hi hat line, and a quicker, rapping delivery of the lyrics. I believe this song embodies my diverse musical taste and demonstrates my musical potential.

Q: When and where will we be able to listen to it online?

A: Nevada is set to release on Monday, April 20, on all streaming services.

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