Having battled criticism and skepticism from bloggers and critics alike following the success of 2010’s “Boston’s Boy” (which peaked at No. 73 on the Billboard 200 chart), Boston pop-rapper Sammy Adams is back with a vengeance, and now has major label support in RCA. Following the release of his “Homecoming” EP, which debuted last week at No. 45 on the Billboard 200, Adams spoke to Billboard about his future, which includes a Pharrell Williams–assisted full-length and a headlining tour slated for 2014.
Billboard: Your new EP, “Homecoming,” debuted last week at No. 45 on the Billboard 200. How was it working with a major label, RCA, for the first time?
Adams: With the major label, it’s a tricky game to play. You really have to win people over in the building. The A&R and the publicist and the president and the chairman are fighting for you because they signed you, but they like to see results, so it’s a double-edged sword. When you do get results it’s great, because it gives everyone at the label a fire under their ass to go and get to work on it.
“Homecoming” was originally scheduled to be your debut LP, but the label switched it to an EP at the last minute – what were the reasons for the switch?
At RCA I’m a priority there, and they want the first LP to be a Q1 or Q2 release, which I definitely understand. I wanted this EP to be 8 songs, but they said we can do 6 songs and that was fine with me. For me it’s just about laying the ground work for the LP, because this EP was more for my fans – it was about getting back to my touring base, more so than about RCA getting my album out. I’m not a singles artist and I’ve proven that, which I’m more than stoked about. To get your fans back and be back on the charts, it’s probably the best feeling in the world.
How do you think you’ve evolved as an artist from “Boston’s Boy”?
The EP is a great wake-up call to everyone that hasn’t fully bought in, whether at the label or journalists or critics. It’s an honest portrayal for my fans, and [for] the fact that the grassroots effort since “Boston’s Boy” has worked. My fans speak loudly and it’s definitely a little shocking to the rest of the music industry, because the last time everyone was like, “Where did this kid come from?”
Some blogs accused you of buying copies of your 2010 EP “Boston’s Boy”yourself to drive up sales. Nielsen Soundscan and Billboard helped clear your name. What did you learn from that experience?
It taught me to stay away from engaging [in] the negativity around you. You’re never going to win a battle with someone over a keyboard. The best way to beat all that is to prove them wrong–going out and touring, selling out [3,000 capacity] rooms every night: “What, do you think I bought all these tickets too?”
Your full length is expected in 2014. Are you planning any big collaborations?
The collaboration I’m most excited about is Pharrell. He’ll have a bunch of songs on the LP. I was working with him in Miami for awhile. He taught me to not think, just go and make music, and make sure it’s you. A lot of the stuff I played him before, he liked them, but he’d ask, “Are you in it?” That was such a good question, because there was always a little part of me missing from the songs. That was definitely a good lesson to learn.