Making Music in a COVID World
Rennie Adams shot to fame in 2017 when Seal spun his chair to choose the knockabout Northern Beaches labourer for his team on The Voice, making it all the way to the semi-finals, forming a heart-melting bromance with Britain’s all-time number one rose kisser. Digby Robinson sat down with Adam to catch up with the latest on his music career.
How has 2020 been for you so far? I started off strong, sold everything I owned in January, played a packed farewell gig at the Boaty (*The Old Manly Boatshed for those who don’t speak fluent Insular Peninsula) and jetted to the U.S. to become a gigantic megastar, classic first chapter of an American immigrant success story really. Then, a couple months in, everything going pretty well, I came back for a mate’s wedding. Fantastic wedding. No regrets. But it was just as Covid shut everything down. I’ve been stranded back home ever since. The whole shake up the music scene over in the US, it just never got moving. But, watching what’s been going on, probably lucky to be in Oz.
Your music career was transformed when Seal heard your voice and locked eyes on yours. What was it like when you had to say goodbye after the semi’s? Haha, yep…still hurts. You get the impression you have it all, the world’s your oyster, all the cliches, but it’s very fleeting. Your recognition dissipates as soon as you’re voted off. And you can’t help but feel as though you have to capitalise on that overnight fame straightaway, but it just doesn’t work that way. Unless you’re Shannon Noll, of course.
Of course. And what do you think was the best thing you got out of the whole experience on the show?
Seal took me under his wing, which was incredible, and I got to open for him on his 2018 and 2019 USA tours, getting so much experience all thanks to him giving me a shot. I formed a great relationship with him and essentially what would be considered the cream of session musicians, priceless really.
Are any of these guys playing on your upcoming EP? Yeah, I got the trombone player from that tour who actually plays with The Teskey Brothers.
When is that due out? What can we expect? Recording’s being done now, going for a really soulful vibe, all being done live. As far as release, not sure yet. We want to tour it, so will depend on restrictions being lifted. Seated crowds are fine, but we’d prefer minimum restrictions.
Like your farewell gig at the Boaty? Exactly!
Covid has really slowed things down in general for all musicians, what else are you doing to keep afloat? I started an online platform called ‘YOUSESSIONS’. It’s a service to connect artists with their fans through personalised video performances, both pre-recorded and live, generating a new revenue stream for artists and a new level of connection for fans.
How did that come about? With Covid, I suddenly started doing zoom meetings for people having online drinks. I’d play covers, people could make requests, connecting online the way you would pre-Covid at a live event. I realised it was something with legs, connecting artists with fans, quick and easy, and it’s evolved from there, getting more artists to join and grow it into a fully-fledged platform.
And lastly, what’s your favourite thing about the Northern Beaches? The Spit Bridge, a beautiful bit of engineering. especially when it’s up and I’m safely north of the great divide!
Check out more of Rennie Adams' music here: www.rennieadamsmusic.com