Hailing from Peoria, Illinois, Paul Adams remembers his first encounter with the magic of music hearing and playing the trumpet as a child. Later he majored in ethnomusicology, and began building instruments and recording. He also spent time working in the realm of community mental health.
Until he embarked on his current project, This Curious Wonder, Paul worked in multiple genres under the broadly defined “new age” umbrella, previously racking up 13 albums, critical acclaim, numerous awards and over 118 million streams on Pandora.
Describing where he now fits in the musical spectrum, Paul says the singer-songwriter tag fits best: “I think that’s closer to home than anything, because it’s lyrically where I’ve always been, but I was too shy to do it.” With maturity and encouragement from other artists, Paul determined to bring his inner songwriter out into the open. He had to get past paralyzing comparisons to reach self-acceptance in order to release the music inside. “I guess you could call it Popeye consciousness: ‘I yam what I yam!’ and that’s ok,” he says. “It’s valid because I was as truthful as I could be.”
Highlighting the change in artistic focus, Paul is releasing the new album under the slightly different moniker, PD Adams, which he says is “to keep from confusing fans and those digital algorithms on streaming media platforms.” He continues, “I thought it might be too jarring for someone’s Paul Adams playlist on Spotify or Pandora all of a sudden to be presenting songwriter-oriented tunes with lyrics like ‘monosodium glutamate,’ ‘existential wonder,’ and ‘lurking in the shadows.’”
When asked about the influence of his mental health work on his songwriting, Paul says, “It helped me to have a deeper understanding of what it was like to be ill, or be impoverished in your spirit, or in the material area.” His experiences “in the trenches,” as well as keen-eyed observation of the world over 35 years, have finally culminated in a collection of songs full of “amazing wonder” that any conscious human will appreciate.
By Dan Walsh