Check out the Exclusive Interview with Adam Blackstone on Korg.com!
“Adam Blackstone is an acclaimed musical director, producer, and multi-instrumentalist who has worked with countless high-profile artists throughout his career. He has been the MD for Eminem, Janet Jackson, Drake, Maroon 5, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, and more, and has produced and performed on many amazing records, including Al Green’s Lay It Down, Jill Scott’s Beautifully Human, The Roots’ Game Theory, Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3, and Pharrell’s In My Mind. Adam was also featured on episodes of The Voice, where he appeared with judge Adam Levine from Maroon 5. More recently, Adam has worked as the musical director on the 2012 TV-Land Awards, the 43rd annual NAACP Image Awards, and he wowed audiences at the 2012 Coachella awards with hip hop icon Dr. Dre, a performance that also included the famed 2pac hologram.
As if his producing, performing, and his duties as musical director were not enough, Adam Blackstone also heads BASSic Black Entertainment, LLC (BBE). BBE was started in 2007 as a broad-based music company that specializes in live music production, musician staffing, artist development, and studio production. Cliental for BBE includes Chris Brown, John Legend, Eminem, Kanye West, Joe Jonas, and Keyshia Cole, amongst other prestigious artists. With all that and more on his résumé, Adam Blackstone is truly, as his website AdamBlackstone.com says, “The man behind the music.”
Adam Blackstone has been part of the Korg artist family for years and we’ve shared his adoration for Korg products, including the classic Korg Triton. We recently caught up with Adam to discuss his musical journey, his extraordinary career, and his new love for the Korg Kronos. Here’s what he had to say:
KORG: How did you begin your life journey in music?
Adam Blackstone: My journey in music began growing up around a musical family. My father was a full-time keyboardist and my uncles and aunts all sang and played in the choir at my local churches, so I was around music 24/7.
KORG: You’ve been the musical director and an instrumentalist for so many high-profile artists like Eminem, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and more…is there any advice you can pass on to developing musicians, based on your diverse experiences?
AB: I would like to say that it is less about talent and more about your character as a person. Secondly, be prepared for anything and everything, musically. I pride myself on being a good “people person” first because I always know there are many, many talented people out there… but it’s a matter of which ones that have the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding to make any and every situation work.
KORG: How has the experience of MD for Dr. Dre been? How did you two hook up?
AB: The Dr. Dre experience has been an epic one for me. We linked up about a year ago when he was our special guest during Eminem’s show! We hit it off and when it was time to get his live situation rolling, he reached out to me.
KORG: Are there any specific experiences from performing with Dre or Jay-Z in the past year that stick out in your mind?
AB: Well we just did Jay-Z at Carnegie Hall. The juxtaposition of hip hop at the world famous opera house stands out because it seems like that would not make sense. We added a 40 piece orchestra and also wore tuxedos, so it was a classy evening. Of course for our Dr. Dre Coachella set, resurrecting Tupac stands out as a moment in history that will never be replicated. It took us over two months to film and score that four minute segment. If it weren’t for Korg and their many products, I don’t think it would have sounded as amazing as it did!
KORG: That’s so cool. Thanks, Adam! Are there any upcoming projects in the works that we should keep an eye and ear out for?
AB: I am now MD’ing Rihanna so be on the lookout for her world tour soon! We are also developing Leah LaBelle, who is Pharrell and Jermaine Dupri’s new artist! And of course, we’re continuing to build the artists and brand of BASSic Black Entertainment, AKA #BBE.
KORG: Let’s get into some gear. You’ve used Korg synths and workstations throughout the years and you’re using the Kronos now. Do you have any favorite features?
AB: The Kronos is one of a kind. Not only do the engines have the most amazing library, but the Smooth Sound Transition feature (SST) allows held or sustained notes to keep sounding when changing sounds or modes. I can’t forget about Set List mode, which helps me organize the programs, combos, and songs I need to perform a set in a single, easy-to-select screen – including performance notes!
KORG: What do you feel separates it from other workstations out there?
AB: It’s the most hands on, yet easiest workstation out there. It feels like the classic Triton when you are writing a song!
KORG: Are there any other Korg products getting work from you in the studio or on stage? I believe we’ve seen the MS2000 and microKORG still out with you a lot, right?
AB: The MS2000 will always be a favorite of mine. I feel that keyboard is in a class of its own when it comes to the phatness of the synth bass. And of course my secret weapon is the microKORG! I have used this for synth bass, SFX, leads, all at one point or another on every gig for the past 10 years, and I believe it will live on to see another 10 years STRONG!
KORG: Anything else you’d like to mention?
AB: Please look out for me on this season of The X Factor with judge Demi Lovato. Also, follow me on Twitter @BASSicBlack!
Whether you are an up-and-coming musician, or in the professional market full time, Korg is a must in your arsenal!
KORG: Thanks, Adam!