Appreciate the mistakes you make along the way. I beat myself up sometimes, but every failure in life is a valuable lesson that takes you closer to where you want to be.
Asa part of my series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Adam Cola, an LA-based singer, dancer, and performer. With a vision coming into its own, his rhythmic torso became as interwoven as poetry is to motion. It wasn’t just a revolution, it was an evolution, an overthrow of the status quo. With the release of the scintillating anthem, “Dancin,” his true north became apparent, to liberate the parrots. Painting a hypnotic aesthetic is the art of kinetic arithmetic as Cola faithfully creates the effect of dancing on the ceiling of an erotic daydream. It takes the seminal work Mirwais did with Madonna and adds a spellbinding sheen. It straps on Britney’s Blackout and hits the town. If chiffon were a sound, this would be its crown.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Igrew up in a small town in Quebec, Canada. It was a tight-knit community where everyone knew each other. I was always known for being particularly animated. I was and still am actually shy at first, but my best friends and family got to see the performer within me come out early in life. I had a love for the arts for as long as I can remember. My idols growing up were Justin Timberlake, Usher and Michael Jackson (to name a few). It’s crazy that I’m now pursuing a career similar to these larger-than-life characters I looked up to. Now I have the privilege to express my individuality and tell stories through music and dance.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
I attended a prestigious performing arts college in Hollywood to spearhead my transition into the artist scene from my home in Canada. I had gone through some troubling times before my move to LA which sparked my motivation to pursue the one thing that made me happy in life. This took me on the path I continue to walk today.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
The first session I ever did was a memorable moment. It felt so natural, like I found a new place I could call home. Also, performing my original music for an audience for the first time was truly surreal.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I once showed up to a video shoot on the wrong day in full glam and no one was at the shoot ready. From this mistake, I learned to make sure I check my planner the day before to prepare for the day ahead.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Right now I’m planning the production of a music video for my new single coming later this year. The song is going to be the title track off my forthcoming album, so it’s going to be a very exciting and special release. It’s going to be an empowering message and my aim is to tell my story of being passionate and loving myself in a polarizing way.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
I think it’s vital to the world to have diversity represented in film, television and music. Each person has their own story and background that shapes them into the person they are, and to have it represented on a big screen allows those people to feel human and to know they are not alone. Art is a representation of real life, by transferring emotion from one person to another. To be truly great, it must be genuine — and to have diversity represented in the arts is a mirror to the diverse world shared by all.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- Don’t be shy to express what you want, and don’t be a people-pleaser. I’ve struggled with that before because I am too sensitive to other people’s feelings, but I may have missed a few opportunities for being “too nice” instead of stating my needs and calling things out that needed to be called out.
- Appreciate the mistakes you make along the way. I beat myself up sometimes, but every failure in life is a valuable lesson that takes you closer to where you want to be.
- Listen to the pros and don’t ever be complacent in your own ways. Be flexible and always stay curious!
- Pay attention to your competition. You can learn a lot from them! I used to pay more attention to what I did differently than my peers, and the whole “I only compete with myself” mentality, but now I pay attention to both the similarities and what sets me apart. We can all learn from each other.
- Not to be confused with my previous example, I would say stay 100% true to yourself. Never try to be a second-rate version of someone else, because that spot is already filled.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I find giving yourself time to practice self-care in whatever capacity is paramount to living a balanced life. Things can move very quickly and sometimes slowly being a member of a creative field, so it’s good to keep yourself busy with things you’ve always loved doing. Slowing down can be hard, but simple things like contacting old friends and setting aside time for meditation has helped me stay grounded and maintain order in my life.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would inspire a movement built on anti-ignorance regarding people of different backgrounds, whether that be genetics, sexual orientation or social status. Bullying, hate-speech and discrimination is still very much alive in the world and it needs to end now.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
“Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl made a strong impact on me. The book is narrated from the experience of renowned psychiatrist Viktor Frankl during his life as a prisoner under the Nazi regime. It strikes a particular chord in me given that my grandparents are Holocaust survivors. It’s a story about spiritual survival and the innate human quest for meaning.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” — Dr. Seuss. This is a powerful quote that continues to guide me every day. Growing up, I struggled with intense feelings of inadequacy in my identity. Fear of how we are perceived by others can diminish our feelings of self-love — which is invaluable, and in my experience, can only come from within.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I’d love to have lunch with Elton John to learn about his journey and career. One goal I have is to perform at the Troubadour. I know he performed at Troubadour at the start of career. Also, as someone who is also sober I’d like to hear about how he has managed to stay successful in being sober as a leader in the music industry.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I’m on all platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and now TikTok, but the best way to follow me would be on Instagram @adamcolamusic and to sign up for my newsletter at www.adamcola.com.
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!