In this instalment of our Featured Alumni series, we catch up with Music Production alumnus Adam Valu!
Hi Adam! Tell us a bit about your background and why you wanted to work in the music industry?
Music has always been within my family, I grew up with my dad listening to Rock n Roll and very commercial music, and my mum Soul/Funk/R&B. There was a massive contrast in different types of music.
I never really thought I would be in the music industry, even though music has been my life since a very young age. Through school and college, TV & Film was what I thought I wanted to do. It wasn’t until university (where I was studying Media & Film), I downloaded a piece of software called Mixcraft onto my laptop and starting messing around with loops. I started to make beats wherever, it sort of became an obsession.
So I dropped out of university, and took several months out. Didn’t know what I was going to do but then somebody told me about ACM. I knew I wanted to do something within music for my career so I searched ACM and I applied!
6 months into the course my brother introduced me to a music producer and owner of a music studio know as Hank Hughes. He’s amazing and I owe a lot to him along with Levi Lennox (Produced Pillowtalk, a lot of Krept & Konans album, M.I.A Border’s). Hank told me to come up once a week to sit in on sessions with him to just watch and learn. I learnt a lot in his sessions, watching, learning how to create on the spot, how to deal with clients in sessions, and how the industry works. Once a week turned into twice, three, four, five times a week. Sitting on sessions with Levi, he helped me so much. He’s incredible and a massive inspiration to me and many others. Being around amazing talent gave me so much inspiration and push.
Tell us about what you’ve been involved with since leaving ACM?
I now work as an in-house producer at F/H-Block. It’s thought to be the best music studio for Urban music in the country and one of the leading studio’s in Europe.
I signed my contract in 2015 to Kobalt Music (Publisher of the year 2017) as a producer and I have worked with some amazing artists & writers. Nicola Roberts (Girls Aloud), Nathan Sykes, Conor Maynard, Mz Bratt, Coco Jones (Disney), Kassy Levels (American Idol), and many more. I also have my go-to writer’s, Reign Write & Jakkcity, they are incredibly talented and we have written some amazing songs. They are family to me. Everyone at the studio is.
Last week Vanessa White’s (The Saturday’s) E.P. was released, I managed to get two songs on the E.P. “Pressure” (Written by Jakkcity & Vanessa) and “Rotation” (Written by Reign Write & Vanessa). The E.P. was at number one on iTunes Pre-Order chart for a few days, and the reviews and reception on the E.P. thus far have been very good. A lot of people asking for Rotation to be a potential single. It’s an amazing feeling to know that people are listening to a song/song’s that you have been working on! That’s all you want, is for people to experience what you are feeling when making the song. “Chapter Two” is available on all digital streaming website’s, and purchasing websites.
At the moment I am executively producing UK rapper, Shystie‘s Album, (which is nearly done) feel blessed to be working with her because she is a legend in the game. The stuff we have is amazing, every session is better than the last. She is effortless to work with.
I have been to the U.S twice, working with various different producers such as Malex (Eminem, Gladys Knight, Common, S1) and we have been creating a lot in the lab, working with some amazing writers such as Breekay & Kasairi, Coco Jones, Kassy Levels, Chima. Some of the best songs I’ve done have been there.
How did your course prepare you for life in the music industry?
The production course really helped in terms of how to apply certain techniques within a song, and definitely when it came to mic-ing up equipment and the best way to record audio, it helped a hell of a lot. The teachers were great and friendly and really explained how things worked within a DAW and the best techniques you can use to apply a certain way of producing or effecting something within a project. The business side of the course is the most helpful advice I’ve been given about the industry in terms of contracts and how label and publishers work. The difference between labels and publishers, what type of contracts, terms of contracts etc. All of these lectures were incredibly helpful and really prepared me for when I signed my publishing deal.
Do you have any advice for those looking to get into the industry?
The reason that you, me or anyone wants to get into the industry is really only for one thing. The music. So my advice will be never lose sight of the music, and don’t focus on anything else apart from the music, that’s the main goal to create songs which others can experience in their own way, just like you have when you made the song/songs. Never give up. Everyone is always learning no matter who you are, whether that’s a producer, a songwriter, a mixer, masterer, lawyer, telephone consultant. It doesn’t matter you’ll always improve in your own way and in your art if you don’t stop. It’s very hard sometimes, and people always struggle, I still struggle and have days where things could be brighter, creative block takes place, motivation goes. But you keep going that’s the goal to be where you want to be. It will pay off. Always be open to learning from others. Keep learning, even if you think it’s not important, later on down the line it might come in handy. Always be humble, never judge anyone and be true to yourself.
What motivated you to come and study at ACM?
Just seeing the way of teaching and how well students do at ACM. The amazing success stories really motivated me!
What was the best part about studying at ACM?
Definitely learning from different lecturers and students their way of doing things. Opened up so many ideas for me and I learnt so much. It really did help, the amazing stories and experience from others really inspired me and being around so many creative people with the same goal as each other was inspiring. Made some amazing friends, and took away education which I will always carry with me throughout my career.
If you’d like to be a student at ACM to kickstart your career in the music industry like Adam, please call our Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or visit www.acm.ac.uk/open-days/ to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.