The first time many people were made aware of Adam Barta was when his first single streamed from the speakers at Abercrombie & Fitch stores nationwide in 2007. His other tracks have also gone on to some popular and critical acclaim: "Standing in the Rain" was LOGO's "Sexiest Video of All Time" and "VIP" was voted as "Video of the Year". His collaboration with Kathy Sledge from Sister Sledge, titled "Give Yourself Up," made it into the Billboard Club Top 20. After his record label, EsNtion Records, went kaput, Barta took some time to himself, but now that we heard he's back at it, we wanted to see what the talented songster was up to with his latest project, "Q&A".
Out: Tell us about your latest project.
Adam Barta: I recorded "Q&A" two years ago and it's been sitting there. It's a totally different sound, and I thought, It's getting older and older, I'll just put it out myself. Then I started planning the video.
We heard you have a few people we might know in the video.
Yeah, Lisa Lampanelli and Michael Musto [being in the video] happened serendipitously. We were having a hard time getting a venue. At one point, I called up a venue on Long Island, then I called the guy up, and he was like, "What does the venue get out of it?" Finally, I thought why don't we just film an actual performance. When we heard that Lisa was also going to be there that night, I thought, Why don't we reach big and ask Lisa to do a cameo? So we did a SiriusXM interview, and I met her, and we took a liking to one another. As for Michael, I've been friends with him for years. He's great.
Do you worry that your videos sometimes get more attention than the songs themselves?
It's all right. In the end, if it's exposing the music it's worth it.
How did you get started in music?
I was an only child. My parents didn't have a lot, but they spoiled me in whatever way they could. I went to an all-boys academy, so there wasn't much of an outlet to perform. Once I graduated, I was able to translate my passion into the theater world. I got involved in musical theater, and then I did a boy band before going solo. When I was younger, the technology to make music on your own didn't exist. It does now, and it's amazing to know that something I'm singing in my bedroom (possibly in my underwear) is going to be heard by millions of people--or be on a TV show.
You really put yourself out there, were you always so outspoken?
No. I was very shy. I had really bad acne to the point where it looked like I had chicken pox. I had no self-confidence, was very insecure. It was hard for me. One of the earliest criticisms I got from a music teacher was that I was good but, before I could make a real go at things, my skin needed to clear up.
You've had some hard times with your family, too?
When I was 16, my dad passed away unexpectedly. My mom was depressed over it and got into drugs. As an only child, I had to grow up in a quick way and take care of her. I was often left to figure things out for myself. My friends who helped me through that, I'll be friends with for life. Also, to cope with the bad stuff, sometimes I'd get a camcorder out and make homemade music videos. It was a way of reminding myself that "one day..."
But it did clear up. Right?
Yeah, it did. And, to go from feeling deformed to having the sexiest video on Logo I think is not as much a testament to being gorgeous as it is an example of what is truly sexy. You don't have to be super-beautiful to be sexy. I think you just have to be confident. That's what gets you there.
You said you attended an all-boys school, were you ever bullied?
Boys are worse than girls. But, it was more like a brotherhood where we all picked on one another. It wasn't like regular schools where boys, girls, and the different grades were integrated. We were all within our grade, all boys. The thing that was more affecting was the bullying I did to myself for how I looked. I had the problem, sure, but I didn't need to beat myself up the way I did.
When did you come out?
I came out to myself right after high school. It was Valentine's Day, and I went to a gay club. As I was leaving, this guy I'd been talking to followed me out, grabbed me, and kissed me. I was like, crap! As soon as I got home, I went online and emailed my friend: "I just had my first gay kiss." Actually, that's when I first started to gain self-confidence.
If you ran into the young, shy, acne-stricken child version of yourself today, what advice would you give him?
How can I say this without getting emotional? I would give myself a hug. I would just make sure he knew he had to believe in himself. I would say, "You're gonna be OK. You're gonna do it. You're gonna do it! Never give up that spark." Also, part of me wishes that the Adam from 10 years ago would come tell me the same thing when I'm struggling. Oh, and stop drinking soda and start drinking a lot of water.