Adam Z. Nelson: Singer, Songwriter, and Musician

Who is Adam Nelson?

Adam Nelson is an up and coming singer-songwriter from Washington. He has recently made the shift from shy chemistry major to professional recording artist. Shifting from the classroom to studios, sitting in interviews, and working on upcoming blockbuster projects–Nelson’s career is on the fast track. With his upcoming work for The Honor Project Documentary, Adam Nelson will be broadening his career from singing in the church worship choir to writing joyous contemporary music for a secular audience.

Nelson shared with us at Idle Tuesdays Recording Studio the true story behind his progression from worship leader to music professional. He touched on how the journey sort of caught him by surprise.

Becoming a Recording Artist 

As a boy, Nelson suffered from stage fright and was forced to perform for the first time live by a close friend in his worship group. Nelson’s friends have truly been a source of direction in his musical career. It was through a quirky connection with a friend by way of a random trip to Israel that he was connected with Emily Hibard. Emily Hibard who has since mentored him and connected him to his current venture as a singer-songwriter for The Honor Project Documentary.

What is The Honor Project Documentary?

The Honor Project Documentary is a film about modern men sharing their life stories. It features 15 southern California Dads from all sorts of backgrounds and ethnicities varying from the baby boomers generation to millennial. We at Idle Tuesdays had the great opportunity of attending Nelson’s recording session and afterward having the opportunity to discuss with him the root of his musical inspiration for the documentary and his music as a whole.

Nelson’s Musical Inspiration 

The root of Adam Nelson’s musical inspiration stems from his relationship with his father and his worship past. When writing the music for this album, Nelson used his spiritual roots as a tool for understanding the bond between the human father-son relationship in comparison to his relationship with his spiritual father. This caused Nelson’s music to have an ultimate message of unconditional love and the understanding that love has no boundaries; especially in a loving relationship.

Nelson believes it is our responsibility to love people the way God loves him and although most of his past music was meant to be sung in the church, the feeling of ultimate love is not one limited to religious relationships. Adam’s music is for all listeners; lyrically his composition is rooted in expressing the feeling of love in every loving relationship.

Nelson’s music is not only inspired by his relationship with his father and his worship past, but also the contemporary sound of several pop musicians. One of Nelson’s biggest inspirations is Ed Sheeran– he hopes to one day develop his sound to the level of soulfulness that Sheeran presents. He spends most of his free time watching live performances of Sheeran and looping his own music with that of the Grammy award-winning artist. Most of the research Nelson did in preparation for the soundtrack was by watching Ed Sheeran’s tutorial videos on Youtube and practicing his inspired techniques. His goal for his music is to have a sound that transcends genres and touches every listener’s heart.


Becoming a Songwriter 

A tool that Nelson recommends for new songwriters when exploring lyrical topics such as love, is to expand on all moments of inspiration that come to them as an artist and then grow from that point– even if it is just one word. In writing his music Nelson would take a keyword like ‘Embrace’ and think of personal connections he can draw from that embody that feeling when writing his music.

In the interview with us, Nelson thought back to the creation of the first song on the Documentary soundtrack, In the Arms. He reflects on the perplexing summer meetings with Emily Hibard and the significance that the word Embrace caused him and his artistic process. The same word continued to vex him on his drive home one evening prompting him to recall a significant moment in his childhood when he suffered a devastating loss. When thinking of the loss it wasn’t the heartbreak he remembered, but the embrace of his father, Jim Nelson, that provoked inspiration for his music. The hug of his father and the words of wisdom he shared with young Nelson sprung the lyrics, “When you hold me– every worry disappears.” The moment his father took him into his arms and embraced him left Nelson feeling an ultimate sense of unconditional love no matter what may befall him.

soundtrack contributions

When creating music for a documentary about fathers, Nelson found that drawing from his own experiences was the best artistic tool. Nelson continued using this technique for many songs on the soundtrack. For example, the song By Your Side is based on another experience with his father from his childhood. In the interview, Nelson shares the difficulties of having a father that works in aviation.

Having a pilot as a father has caused Nelson and his father to develop a multifaceted relationship that is largely spent apart. He recalls one evening in his childhood when he was struck with illness and was rushed to the hospital. Initially left to believe he would be forced to undergo this experience alone he was astoundingly awoken by the face of his father by his side. Thinking of moments similar to this has been the inspiration for his writing for The Honor Project Documentary.

Another set of lyrics that are revealed at that moment is, “When it seems I am far away– I am closer than you think.” These lyrics express the type of relationship most children have with their fathers especially those who can not always be physically present in each other’s life but know their father’s unconditional love is always there with them. Many of the songs he has written for the album utilize this message as well as embody the coming of age feeling both fathers and sons develop in all journeys of their life over time.

Here at Idle Tuesdays Recording Studio, we all cannot wait to hear the completed soundtrack for the Honor Project Documentary. Also based on the transition that Nelson is currently taking creatively, we also can not wait to see how his sound will develop over time as a contemporary artist.

Want to know More about Adam Nelson?

Discover more about Adam Nelson, his relationship with his father, and the trajectory of his career by listening to his interview on the Music Industry Insiders’ podcast.

Idle Tuesdays Recording Studio host interviews on the Music Industry Insiders podcast with individuals from the four corners of the music business. Listen and discover how music gets produced, published, distributed, and monetized in today’s market.

Posted on October 22, 2018 in Idle Tuesdays Ambassador Program, Music Blog, Music Business, Nonprofit Resources, Podcasts, Recording Studio, Workshops

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