As I ponder the subject of my art I realize I have been writing and performing songs for over 10 years now. But why? My reason for performing music was so different when I think back to starting a 3 piece garage rock band with my best friend in 2000, me singing through a $60 karaoke machine amidst loud amps and crashing cymbals in his bedroom (his mom loved it I know). In my head, I found an identity for myself and I was out for blood, guts and glory. Too much MTV and music magazines perhaps, but I blame my parents.
I grew up in Texarkana, AR, but more specifically a little redneck town called Genoa right outside the city limits. Let me be honest and say it wasn’t exactly a breeding ground for singer-songwriters who wrote the type of strange and unnatural material that I ended up producing. Songs about walking down the urban lane in my baby jeans (whatever that meant), or watching my imaginary baby drown in a lemonade river (I’m still not sure if I meant a literal baby or my baby i.e. girlfriend, honey pie… etc.) I had to start somewhere, I guess.
Growing up where I did, I developed a severe knee-jerk reaction against my probable future as a redneck adult which lead me to kick against the pricks in a concentrated effort to become a successful singer-songwriter, dreaming of big cities and possibilities. The fact that creativity or dreams of this magnitude could even be conjured up in a podunk little town like Genoa is an anomaly. How did I even learn the word anomaly? I blame the internet… or my parents. Probably both. In all seriousness though, Genoa is a fine place and my parents are fine people.
Eventually, my band fell apart like so many do. Soon after, recreating an identity as a performing singer-songwriter became my obsession. I came up with a new moniker which became the first of many names I played acoustic performances and produced home recordings under.
Years have gone by and I continue writing and recording my own songs and feeling good about that. They aren’t fantastic, I know that, but they’re my songs and they’ve grown on me. I produced my first studio album in 2013 with the help of a few friends, layering multiple instruments to give my simple compositions new life. The album is called “Jasper McAdams & the Beauty Realm”. I highly recommend it. It was an education and a delight to record and produce it in Shreveport, LA at Foxtrot Studios and I’m proud of the finished work. Now that I think about it, I may need to the increase the price of it.
These days, I’m not as desperate to be seen as or know myself to be an “artist” or “musician”. The veil has been lifted so to speak and I see it for what it is. Insanity. Too many Bieber’s and Gaga’s out there saturating the market. But seriously, I’m much happier not striving in great effort to keep such a myth afloat anymore. Most of that absurdity was in my head the whole time and I became a extremely self consumed before the truth woke me from the madness. I guess now that even though I’m not trying to become something better or different or weirder than who I am already, I still do this performing songwriter thing because it’s just what I do. It’s like napping, maybe I don’t do it everyday, but I find myself taking time to give myself to the art and enjoying it quite a lot as I do
Clifton R. Smeltzer a.k.a. Jasper McAdams