Interview: Adeem the Artist on Queering Country and Their Newest Project, ‘Anniversary’ [EXCLUSIVE]


Discovering new music is both easier than ever, and even more daunting. With so many new wonderful acts to fall in love with and so many places to find them, where do you even start?

Adeem the Artist has found a loyal fanbase using multiple means of promotion. TikTok, YouTube, Bandcamp, live shows, and a request for a donation of $1 per person to fund the production of their 2022 album White Trash Revelry are just some of the avenues they have used to find and collect fans like eager Pokémon.

Their clear, smooth tone, always heartfelt and often cheeky lyrics, and subtle guitar picking have easily garnered them praise and attention from not only the fans but multiple well-respected music review publications. The YouTube music critics were behind them as well. Anthony Fantano (The Needle Drop) and Mark Grondin (Spectrum Pulse) were quick to give glowing reviews to White Trash Revelry.

With their newest album Anniversary set to release on May 3rd, Nerds and Beyond was thrilled at the opportunity to conduct an interview with this rapidly rising lyricist and musician.

Nerds & Beyond: What originally drew you to country music?

Adeem: I was born in Gastonia, North Carolina in the late 1980’s right ahead of the big [country] boom of the 90’s so I was at a delicate age when it was dominating every stereo machine around.

Nerds & Beyond: What inspired you to choose the name Adeem for yourself?

Adeem: This one’s tough for me to answer. I was quite certain that the L-rd had given me the name when I first assumed it and, in a lot of ways, I’m inclined to continue to give G-d the credit. I was reading a lot about Sufi Mysticism & wrestling with the mythologies of my youth so I guess it makes sense that this name found me then.

Nerds & Beyond: Recently, more Queer and non-white country artists are gaining followings, thanks mostly to social media. What impact do you think this will have, and already has had, on the traditional country music scene?

Adeem: It would be nice to see a Country Music Genre that was less homogenized but the culture of the community is explicitly not safe. I love the tradition of Country Music but the music establishment that runs the mechanisms of that industry is one of rampant white supremacy. It is a patriarchal tool of culture shaping. So, I think I’m more interested in the insurgence of Queer Country as a new, innovative genre of punk-infused labor politics that clarifies the oft-obfuscated fringes of rural American life. I think if we can organize well around creating systems for this new genre to thrive, it could be a really meaningful cultural corner for a lot of creative folks.

Nerds & Beyond: Growing up in the age of post-9/11 country music, what changes to the scene have you witnessed from that era, for better or worse?

Adeem: I mean, there is a heavy strain of faux patriotism-drenched patriarchal tribalism that has acted as doula to some of the most borrowed and sorry art that humanity has to answer for.

Nerds & Beyond: What strengths do you see in your lyricism?

Adeem: Many words.

Nerds & Beyond: What is your favorite and least favorite part of traveling for gigs?

Adeem: Adventures with friends & shitting in green rooms respectively.

Nerds & Beyond: Your new album Anniversary is being released on May 3rd. What can you tell us about the creative process on this album, and how it differs from your previous work?

Adeem: This was a much more frenetic album. It wasn’t toiled over in the way that the songs for Cast Iron [Pansexual] & [White Trash Revelry] were. These songs were nurtured without a home and assigned a room in this little house, many before they’d matured. Having Butch [Walker, producer] along for this was just unspeakably cool. His dexterity with a team is master class; composing with the band he’s got, lending on them, and propping them up. There is the song about [my child] Isley that I began writing as my toddler toddled expertly and finished last Spring in the studio and the song that I crooned out about the horrors in Gaza, months before the apocalyptic rain of violence. It feels, in some ways, timeless; it is everywhere simultaneously.

Thank you to Adeem for their time! Anniversary releases everywhere you can find music on May 3rd. Visit Adeem’s website for more information on this and their other projects.

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