John Adams is a 25 year old singer-songwriter from Cardiff, who first caught the public’s attention in 2011, when he entered the popular TV show The X Factor. Before his 10 seconds of fame, John was an English teacher, who was determined to show the world his talent.
Since then, he has supported the likes of Olly Murs, Little Mix, Stooshe and JLS on tour. In addition to this, his album reached number seven on the ITunes charts, following in the footsteps of Ed Sheeran and Ben Howard.
In this interview, John explains how close he was to potential fame, and how he formed a friendship with Louis Tomlinson. From criticisms of popularity charades between music artists to people walking too slow, this interview has it all.
Why did you decide to go on the X Factor?
If I’m honest, I just wanted to be part of it. I was a big fan of the show and a little part of me thought, “I can do that”. I never expected any sort of singing career or success with it.
How long have you been singing and performing as a career?
After X Factor I remained as a maths teacher for another term, but with gigs in the night and teaching in the day I started to do a bad job at both so I resigned and have been a singer for about 2 years now. It was a huge decision to leave something I had trained all my life to be for something so hit and miss but so far there have been absolutely no regrets. “If you find a job you enjoy you’ll never work again”.
Would you ever consider becoming a duo or creating a ‘boy band’?
Ooh good question!! Music is my life and I am very determined to succeed, so I could only ever commit to a band if they were equally as hardworking with the same idea. At the moment I play with musicians and really enjoy the company and banter.
Are you hoping to have your own tour in the future?
Yes, definitely. I am hoping to get on other people’s tours this year and build enough of a fan base for my own.
Where has been your favourite place to perform?
Believe it or not, my favourite place to perform is actually on the street. I love busking and the freedom that comes with it. The generosity and kindness of passers by always amazes me too. We have had some great busks, especially in the summer. If you sing in a venue I guess only some people will enjoy the performance, but on the street everyone that has stopped did so for a reason, which makes a lovely little audience. The easygoing nature means we can experiment with new songs and have a bit of a giggle with it too. On the other hand, it can also be the worst place to perform. I have done some amazing festivals too. A field full of people that love music in front of you, what more could a performer want?
What’s your favourite song?
My favourite song at the moment is “Face the Sun” by James Blunt. It’s relatively unknown but I’m glad because it wont get overplayed.
Do you aspire to be like any music artist?
Yes, my absolute idol is James Morrison. What I like the most is he is incredibly respected for his music but doesn’t live your usual “celebrity” lifestyle. He is able to live an ordinary life; we all listen to his music but we don’t know if he got drunk on the weekend or how many people he has slept with. If we looked at all artists more like this, then the charts would be about the music and not a controlled popularity charade.
If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Hmm, when I think about this ideal gig in my mind, it’s not the venue I see, it’s the audience, so I don’t really mind where. I do a lot of gigs where I have to do crowd pleasing covers and adapt my style to fit the audience. My ideal gig would be an audience that has come to see me and would be willing to listen to the stories and lyrics my songs tell. My album launch on a bigger scale I guess!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
This is such an impossible question to answer; 3 years ago I couldn’t have even predicted where I am now. I feel quite confident in my talent and I know that I will invest the time and effort needed to be successful. I guess the rest depends on whom I meet along the way! In 10 years time I see myself still enjoying music and writing about my life experiences, and probably have the satisfaction of being a parent and husband to add to my lyric book!
How do you keep in contact with your fans?
I try really hard to keep in touch on social media, and the busking is a great way to meet fans and spend some proper time with them. I am definitely guilty of not travelling far enough to meet some of them but I’ll try my best to rectify it this year!
What is your pet peeve?
I think it has to be people walking slow in front of me in town, or even worse, those people who stop or step back without a thought for other people. Oh, and bullies of all kinds!
You received a lot of support from Louis Tomlinson whilst on The X Factor – how do you know him?
A lot of people don’t know but I actually did X Factor the year prior to being shown. There were 10 boys left at the bootcamp stage – 5 were One Direction and I was in the other 5. Gutting eh! Louis and I became good friends that week; he was quite young at the time so I took him under my wing. I shared my honey with him in return for some toothpaste. The film crew thought we looked alike so they gave us a mission to find out contestant gossip, so we made up a pack of lies to try and get people in trouble. I was so happy for him when he was selected, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. I left him a little note on his suitcase with my number and we kept in touch.
Would you advise other singers to go on a talent show, as you did?
In such a difficult industry, I think it would be arrogant to believe that you could definitely make it without it. It’s a great opportunity and lives are changed for so many each year. Even the year I wasn’t shown, it was a huge confidence boost and I learned so much from being surrounded by the other contestants. I have been able to sing to a full Wembley Arena and the wonderful comments from the judges will always be true about my performance whether I won or not. However, first you must understand it is casting for a TV show and not a talent competition – you may the best singer and not fit the bill. If you accept this and see it as a great opportunity then there’s a lot to gain and absolutely nothing to lose. If you don’t, it can be severely damaging to your confidence and your faith in achieving your dream. Mindset is the key! I for one found it very hard to take, and have the public reaction to thank for my recovery. I can reflect on it now but it’s very easy to get swallowed up by the enormity of the show.