Adam Melchor shines his brightest yet on debut album ‘Here Goes Nothing!’ From masterful songwriting and poignant stories to gorgeously sparse production, the singer/songwriter holds nothing back in sharing his full, true self.
Stream: ‘Here Goes Nothing!’ – Adam Melchor
This feels like more of a complete story to me, and not where it’s a bunch of short stories. This is like my novel.
Tracing a long-distance, on-and-off relationship, Here Goes Nothing! speaks to the highs and lows of a very particular type of love.
The impending dread that it may all crash and burn, yet, the hope that it could all become the greatest love. These stories that singer/songwriter Adam Melchor tells are endlessly relatable to anyone who has loved, and he delivers them with the greatest ease – articulating what we ourselves are often not able to. This is Melchor’s specialty: Speaking to universal, nuanced experiences and making us all feel heard in them.
Released October 21 via Warner Records, Here Goes Nothing! is no exception.
You picked your chair to sit in
You made the bed in which you lay
I used to tuck you in it
You let your dreams take you away
The clock was always ticking
I fought it off and stayed awake
But now, these nights look different
The color’s dyed another way
So you asked me what would I do
If, just for a minute, I was you
I took every step
In your heart and in your head
I see what you see
But nothing looks right,
you brought me somewhere I’d never be
– “Turnham Green,” Adam Melchor
Bringing back masterful songwriting, vocal diversity, and sparkling production in this project, Melchor tells us that this is him: Navigating the ever-evolving dynamic of a long distance love, his debut album sees the New Jersey-born, Los Angeles-based artist (and longtime Atwood Magazine artist-to-watch) embracing the ebb and flow of self-realization. With collaborators like Henry Kwapis, Alexander 23, Charlie Puth, and Lennon Stella tied to the album, Here Goes Nothing! combines Melchor’s strengths with the best of what the current music industry has to offer.
Adam Melchor sat down with Atwood Magazine ahead of the release to chat more about the stories on this project, as well as the creative process behind making this album.
I have always treasured Melchor’s songwriting – especially so the generosity with which he shares it. As he points out, sharing creativity and creating connections is all that making music is really about. Melchor was a breath of fresh air, and his warmth and sincerity were instantly contagious. In our interview he discusses the highs, the lows, and the in-betweens of emotion, and the joy of getting to share this in a meaningful way through his craft. The word “heartwarming” does not begin to describe Melchor’s refreshing authenticity.
Adam Melchor’s music will continue to resonate deep in the hearts of everyone it touches, and Here Goes Nothing! is just one more piece he’s gifted to the world. Stream this stunning debut album wherever you get your music, and dive deeper into our interview below!
If I had ten songs to show my hero, this is what I would send them. I feel like it’s my best work… It’s something I would want people who are discovering me for the first time to think, ‘This is what inspired me to be a fan.’
A CONVERSATION WITH ADAM MELCHOR
Atwood Magazine: Congratulations on Here Goes Nothing! I love the album, AND you must be so excited. To start, how are you feeling about the release?
Adam Melchor: Thank you! I feel good, I’m excited to put the album out. It’s like you sit on music for so long that you want to just put it out right when it happens. But I feel like with the rollout and everything, I’m really happy with how it’s going so far. Originally when I was going to put the album out, I wasn’t really going to be doing much. I was just going to be sitting at home, maybe have some friends over. But now I’ve just lucked into doing this Noah Kahan tour, so it’ll be nice to actually play the songs on the night they come out. I’m really excited for it, just being able to actually do something in connection with human people instead of just being on the internet. In that case, it’s really special. I’m so excited about it coming out. I’m just itching. This past month has been like Christmas morning, which is hilarious because I’m Jewish, but like, I can imagine! You’re just really excited for the next day to happen. I just wish that it was like October 20th so it could just be the 21st. So I’m very excited for the time to go.
Oh, it’s not long now, it’ll pass quickly!
Adam Melchor: Honestly, getting ready for this tour is a really good “distraction” in a way – but it’s just so much fun to actually do. I’m very excited to actually just get on the road, go on the plane, think of things and whatnot… But last night I did a bad thing! I leaked some of the songs on Instagram Live. I just played the vinyl and played little snippets of the album for my fans. I just can’t, you know, I just can’t hold it! I was never good at keeping secrets.
Haha! But it's exciting. Your fans must have loved that, they’re dying for it as it is! How long did it take to put the whole album together and what was the creative process like?
Adam Melchor: I was originally going to do it by myself, and just produce it alongside everything else. And I had a really good friend tell me, they’re like, “Adam. You’re a great artist, and you’re a great writer, and you’re a good producer. But. To get to being a great producer, it’s going to infract on all the artistry and the writing.” So he’s like, “Why don’t you get somebody who’s just great at producing to help you out with it? And then you don’t have to be as responsible for it, you can enjoy the other things in life.” It was really good advice, honestly. I love criticism, and I love when people are honest with me, because I really just don’t feel like we have enough time on this planet for bad music. So really, I was very happy he said something.
And so I convinced my friend Henry [Kwapis] to do it with me. The creative process – basically we got together in December. For the first month, we just talked about what we wanted the album to be. We were really just getting these deep conversations in. By January, we were getting all of the basics down, and I was writing while the album was getting recorded. A lot of those songs made it onto the album, which I’m very excited about. We took all of January and February to record everything. And by the end of it I thought we were getting so much done!
But then at the beginning of March, when I was about to go on the road, I realized we only had like four songs done. And I was like, oh my god, like this is so intense! I was opening for Chelsea Cutler and Henry was on the road playing drums for Dijon. So the next three months we were trying to finish it in Sprinter vans, all this stuff. We wound up finishing it around June. It ended up taking about seven months to make ten songs. That’s the longest it’s ever really taken me, but I do think that you can really hear the attention to detail in everything. That was sort of the creative process, being able to try four or five different versions of every song, and maybe going back to the original, or adding this song in at the last minute… Originally “Cry” wasn’t even going to be on the album. We recorded it and we’re like, it’s not exactly the thing. And then I just kept going back to it, and at the eleventh hour I was like what if we just changed this one thing… And then it became a single. So it’s really crazy how it all sort of ebbs and flows.
No way! So you were saying you wrote some of the songs as you were touring - which ones were those?
Adam Melchor: Oh yeah! So “Turnham Green”, definitely. “Rest of My Night.” “Dorothy,” “Sorry Adam”…
That's almost a good half of the album!
Adam Melchor: It’s basically half, yeah. Four of the songs essentially, were written while we were recording. And it’s crazy to think because we had other songs too, and they’re great. But just in terms of the story and what was going on in my life at the time, I thought it was good to be as honest as possible. It was pretty easy to record those songs because it was so of the time, and really what I was feeling. But yeah, almost half the album I wrote while we were recording. And I think through a lot of the recording I was starting to realize what the identity of the album was. It was so pertinent to what I was feeling, I thought I should just have things that I’m really feeling currently, instead of trying to bring older songs into the fold.
I thought it was good to be as honest as possible. It was pretty easy to record those songs because it was so of the time, and really what I was feeling.
So the album grew with you.
Adam Melchor: Yeah truly! It was definitely very vulnerable. But I do think that the album is better because of it.
Yeah, I definitely hear that. That leads on to my next question about the stories you’re telling on this album. It starts off in the beginning with a deep love, and finishes on a self-reflective note. Why did you pick these stories for this album, and what’s their significance for you?
Adam Melchor: In the last three years or so I’ve been in this long-distance relationship that has been on-and-off. It was really hard to do before the pandemic, and then during the pandemic, it was just, like, insane to do. We were off for a lot of it, and we didn’t see each other for like 18 months. But it was always sort of in the back of your – well it’s really in the front of your mind the whole time. And I wanted to tell the whole story of the revolving door of being on-and-off with a long-distance relationship. It’s not exactly a breakup album but more of a, ‘trying to stay together’ album. So yeah, it goes through the flow of, literally like, oh shit, “I’m Afraid I Love You.” And then, “I’m Ready” – like, okay yeah, let’s just do it. And then “Angel Numbers.” With long-distance relationships, in a way you sort of have to – whether it’s toxic or not – romanticize certain aspects when you’re not together. You’ll be like okay so this happened, so this means that. And you try to pull signs, you’ll see 222 or 444, and be like, “Oh my God, it means this,” and whatnot.
And then “Cry” is about not being able to be vulnerable in front of people. I’m really just going through the whole thing right now, haha! But, yeah, it brings it all to the end where it’s this apology, sort of to them and to yourself and to the people that you’ve maybe shut down. Being long-distance, your energy is important too. A lot of my free time was taken up, or spent thinking about this. So a lot of times when my parents or a friend would call, I would just sort of ignore it, and just not really pay attention. It’s sort of an apology to them and to myself, and my partner. And I wanted it to end on “Sorry Adam” because when you apologize to yourself you’re in a really vulnerable state, and that’s usually when things start up again.
So the whole album is just a revolving door of emotions, of being in a long distance thing that is possibly doomed. But it could just be the best thing of your entire life too, so… Who knows! I think in the pandemic a lot of people realized a lot about their love life. It was a lot of inward reflection about themselves, their partners, and what they wanted. I was just one of the millions of people who dealt with that. So that was really special to me at the time, and pertinent, and affecting – so that’s really what I wanted the whole album to be about.
I love that. The album definitely does show that, like what you said, the revolving door of that type of relationship - that's the perfect way of describing it really.
Adam Melchor: Yes! You’re like I’ve been here before! What is that, what are these! It’s just insane, it’s a little bit of insanity and it’s mostly beautiful. So a lot of the time yeah, you know, it hurts the most. But it is all worthwhile, you’re learning about yourself, at the very least.
Do you actually consider this album your debut album?
Adam Melchor: Yeah, I think so. My previous album was more like a mixtape in my brain, the Lullaby Hotline. Just because there was a cover on it, and it wasn’t exactly all the way recorded. I wanted to have that be a compilation of the whole year of writing songs. And because it was only twelve songs, I didn’t feel like it was telling of the entire story. This album is a start-to-finish story that starts again. With this album it was all recorded the exact way I wanted it. It really felt like a statement. Whereas the other project was more highlights of what I was going through. That to me is the biggest distinction of what the album is. And it’s funny to me that my debut album is actually shorter than the mixtape. But this feels like more of a complete story to me, and not where it’s a bunch of short stories. This is like my novel.
It sounds like this project was a first in terms of the way you chose to tell these stories, but also in how it all came together. How do you feel like this project has helped you to grow as an artist, singer, songwriter, musician? And has it changed the way you see yourself as an artist?
Adam Melchor: I think it’s less about the label of “debut” being the case, but if I had ten songs to show my hero, this is what I would send them. I feel like it’s my best work, and that feels more like why it’s an album. It’s something that I would want people who are discovering me for the first time to think, “This is what inspired me to be a fan.” While we were making it I was diving back into my favorite artists’ debut albums too. Like the first Bon Iver, the first Phoebe Bridgers’ album is just perfect. And the Fleet Foxes album! Honestly getting Fleet Foxes to even be on this, Robin Pecknold, he’s really just such a hero of mine. I was so nervous going in that day and now we’re just like, texting.
It’s crazy how things go with that. I learned so much from him even on just that day. Like I was talking about all of this and it was really special to get his insight. That’s kind of more what it feels like. If you’re going to show somebody one thing, what would it be? And that’s what this album is for me. It’s my best writing, it’s definitely the best production. And it’s almost a continuation of everything, but it’s also definitely a start to a new side of me. I feel like I found my voice, really, with this. And this is what I would like to start my journey with.
Oh, that's lovely! The album is opening this new chapter for you.
Adam Melchor: Definitely, and for some people the new chapter is going to be the first chapter! They’ll go back and hear the catalog that’s there. And I really love those songs. I know some people take down their music and that sort of thing. But I’m so proud of the songs, even, that don’t do well. Because that’s the story I was telling at the time. But I’m very excited to be able to just have this be my entryway into people’s hearts and minds.
Well. I'm glad to hear you never taking your music down!
Adam Melchor: Haha, never! If anything, I’ll probably be putting more of it up. Honestly I’m just addicted to releasing tracks.
I think that's something that a lot of people struggle with as well. It’s hard to let go of that perfectionism. So it’s amazing that you’re so free with that.
Adam Melchor: For me at least, being precious about songs is the opposite of creativity. If I think too hard about the song, I can literally feel the level of creativity just going down. So for me a lot of it is just instincts. You just feel it. We’re not politicians, we can change how we feel, you know? It’s whatever. We can always be changing. And you can always change a song because you have different avenues of playing it. When it’s live, or you could record another version. But if you’re feeling that specific version and it just feels good, it’s usually going to feel good to somebody else too.
Yeah, that's such a nice way to think about it! Okay, so let's talk a bit about collaborations. You talk about the close friendships you have with your collaborators, and how this directly affects how the music turns out. So what does collaboration mean to you in making music?
Adam Melchor: Oh, it means everything. I mean, this is as much Henry’s album as it is mine. In so many ways. This was the first time I’d ever worked with a producer on a full project. And this was the first time he had ever done something like this too. So it was a lot of chance-taking, and we also didn’t have anything to really go off of. We wanted to just make the best thing. Basically the approach was to just make the songs the core vocal, and then build a world around it. Those parts were pretty standard, I write the song on guitar so we add piano, and whatever else. And then when it was time for the effects and the soundscapes of everything, that’s when we would dive in. We would just be talking for hours about relationships and happiness and all this stuff. It’s almost like Henry took those aspects of it, and I took my aspects of what I was learning, and we were just creating and forming something. So without it, it would not be as good for sure. Especially on the writing front – my friend Emily Warren helped me write “Turnham Green.” Jensen McRae helped me write “Angel Numbers.” She literally is one of the best writers I’ve ever worked with in my life. And just being able to get other people’s perspectives of your own situation is a really cool, out of body experience. And it usually helps the song and tell the story in so many ways.
Oh, how wonderful! I imagine it's so rewarding to work with all these people and learn from them, and they get to learn from you - all while you’re making something together.
Adam Melchor: It’s really cool. Yeah, I’m lucky to do it, honestly. And at the end of the day, of course you get an .mp3 or a .WAV file out of it, you get a song and it’s on streaming services… Cool. You know, all this stuff. But genuinely, the best thing you get from that is the relationship. You get the friendship out of it. And that’s why I think it’s a lesson in what is really valuable in making music, which is just the connection and the relationships with people.
Did you have any influences for the record? Or who were you listening to during the album cycle?
Adam Melchor: If I’m gonna be honest, I did not listen to a lot of music while I was making it on purpose. But actually, like – I’m not just blowing smoke – but Henry’s work. Henry, Jack Karaszewski and Jasper Harris did all the music for this show called Dave. And there was so much of the music on that show that I just loved. Once I heard that, that’s when I hit up Henry and was like, I really want to do this. Henry’s music really was my biggest influence. And I don’t think it’s like an ego thing to say that – like we were our own biggest influences at the time.
But we weren’t really listening to that much other music either. He wasn’t really working on any other things, I wasn’t working on any other things. So yeah, he was really my biggest inspiration. And maybe I was his biggest inspiration too, but he’ll never admit that. Honestly, working with Henry really changed my outlook on being an artist, and a creative person, and a recording artist in a lot of ways.
Wow, could you tell us more about how he’s helped you expand in that way?
Adam Melchor: Yeah, just not needing everything to be so in front, like sparseness and leaving space. I think the art of leaving space is really hard. Because we have access to so many things and so many instruments. You want to just pile things on at all times. And I’ve never in my life, met a drummer who hates drumming as much as Henry does. He was like, “Nah, the song doesn’t need drums.” So it was really cool to see that, it was really special to me because it shows that he was just really caring about the songs and production as a whole.
That's really cool, so the whole album is really just you guys.
Adam Melchor: It’s like one big hang! Just like one big therapy session you know. So, yeah, it’s really special.
I’ve always wanted to ask about your songwriting. How do you find inspiration for all the stories that you want to tell? And how do you hold on to these moments of inspiration when they come to you?
Adam Melchor: Just acting on it as quickly as possible. If you’re feeling something, just write about it. When it came to Turnham Green and Rest of My Night, these songs were just the one spark. And actually one of my friends, Alonzo, sent me this line and was like, “Hey, can you just write this out for me?” The line was ‘I want to think about today in the future.’ And from that it inspired Dorothy. That’s one of the lines in the song. And it’s just crazy how one line can just put you in a world and I think that’s what art is. You see something and it inspires a totally different thing. So a lot of it is just taking the moments and navigating them in real time. The songs sort of come at us and then… and then just rhyming the last couple lines!
I love that! So to wrap up, what do you hope your audience will gain from listening to the album?
Adam Melchor: Oh I hope they gain the perspective that even when love hurts, and when you don’t trust yourself, and when you’re going through all these hard times – just know that love is always worth it. It’s always going to be a really great story to tell – and to experience.
Stream: ‘Here Goes Nothing!’ – Adam Melchor
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