KOKOMO, Ind. — Making it big in the music industry takes patience, persistence, and hard work, in addition to talent.
Indiana University Kokomo senior Jarrett Adams, who prefers to be called J.A., says his campus experience has taught him those skills, preparing him for the next step in his budding career as a rapper.
"As a student here, I've learned to work hard and never give up," Adams said. "I've also learned how to build relationships with people on campus. Just learning that skill will help me with my music in the future."
He's also gained talents to help him promote his music. He uses Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and his website, www.officialja.com, to build his fan base.
He's performed throughout Indiana, opening for Jive Records recording artist Mickey Factz several times in late 2012 and in February 2013. Upcoming shows include April 20 at the Emerson Theater, Indianapolis; and April 26 at the No Place Like Home Show in his hometown, Marion.
Adams has a backup plan as well, drawing on the love of sports that grew from running track and playing AAU basketball as a young boy, and playing on IU Kokomo's first basketball team. He is earning a degree in communications, and would like to be a radio or television sports commentator.
Rapping would seem an unlikely choice for the soft-spoken Adams, who grew up the son of a preacher, who was also a trained opera singer, in Marion. Gospel was the music of choice in the house, where Adams learned to sing, as well as to play saxophone, drums, and piano.
"I just like all kinds of music, because it's a way to release yourself," he said. "I have different genres and ways of expressing myself."
In addition to giving him a love for music, his father taught him that words are powerful, a lesson that impacts his music writing. He strives to write lyrics that are honest and genuine, and he is adamant that he will not denigrate women in his music.
"I don't hold back, but there are some words I don't use," he said. "I don't want to disrespect God. I write about everything, religion, being African American, pain, and joy. Everything doesn't have to be about sex and drugs."
His latest release, "Carnivals and Nightmares," came out in late 2012, and he's performed recently in West Lafayette, Bloomington, Muncie, Fort Wayne, and other places, hoping to attract attention and gain a larger following.
"My goal is to inspire the world," he said. "Music can touch so many lives. Getting paid to do what you love, that would be the dream."
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.