Photo: Danny Spadaro
We are often fed a narrative that love has to be complex in order for it to be meaningful, whether it comes from television dramas, films, songs, or the narrative that we have created for ourselves. Adam Melchor's "I Choose You" simplifies it in a way that makes us reevaluate why it "has" to be that way, while also exploring what it means to be chosen.
While "I Choose You" holds a similar weight of that of a love letter to a crush, the video flips that sentiment on its head, following the story of being chosen last for a baseball game. While falling in love and choosing teams appear to be two different concepts, the feeling that accompanies them is similar. When the person you want wants you back, or when you're picked first in baseball, you feel seen, important, even special.
The song and video both act as love letters to different recipients, while the whole project acts as a love letter to his fans. I got the chance to talk to Melchor about being an artist, opening for Dodie, and why he's dressed up as a skeleton in his latest video.
"Music came naturally to me, but being an artist is so much more than talent or music…"
Ones To Watch: Having grown up in a very musical family, did becoming an artist come naturally to you?
Adam Melchor: I distinctly remember graduating high school and wanting to go to college to be a songwriter/performer or skip college altogether, and my dad straight up told me, "You're not good enough yet. If you want to do this, you need to get serious vocal training. Then after that, see what happens." That was super eye-opening for me, and he was absolutely right. I think I had the heart for it but not the skillset yet. Music came naturally to me, but being an artist is so much more than talent or music, and my family always recognized that.
What does “I Choose You” mean to you and what do you hope it means to your fans?
"I Choose You" is about that initial feeling of butterflies and saying to yourself, "Dang, this person might be the one," along with the terrifying feeling that comes with that. Love is scary and exhilarating. My friend Rich always said when it comes to love, "When you know, you know," and this song is the soundtrack to that feeling. I hope it means the world to my fans! They mean the world to me, so I can only just hope they find their own meaning in it.
You produced your last single “Joyride” on your own. How was it to get in the studio with three other producers to work on “I Choose You?”
I'm very lucky to have the most talented friends on earth. I remember sending a copy of "Joyride" to Andrew Sarlo to get his thoughts on it, and we talked about it. In that discussion, he brought up the possibility of just getting a bunch of friends together and having a very loose studio hang to see what we could muster.
Andrew and John Debold were friends already, and I was friends with John and Ethan Gruska as well as Andrew. That was the first time Ethan had met John and Andrew and we all just had the best three days of summer together. We called it summer camp, and in our group chat, we talked about how we were gonna miss each other when the three days were over.
It was a very refreshing experience, but also not too different from how I work alone. I try to have the most fun possible and be as open and unprecious about things. I think the relaxed nature of the session comes through in the music.
"…all of a sudden I was playing baseball in skeleton makeup in a small town in New Jersey. Funny where life takes you."
Conceptually, the music video seems to hold a different message than the song, focusing on getting picked last for a baseball team. How do the two lean on each other?
I figured since "I Choose You" was such a direct message it would be fun to flip it and find the double meaning under the same blanket. The opposite feeling of falling in love is probably not dissimilar to getting picked last for a team. So, I kind of just ran with that idea and then all of a sudden I was playing baseball in skeleton makeup in a small town in New Jersey. Funny where life takes you.
In the video for “I Choose You” the Skeleton Man makes a reappearance. What is the significance of this character and how he contributes to the overall narrative of your artistry, having now been in two videos?
My skeleton boi character just started out as a way to have fun with the song, and I think it still mostly means that. I have fun playing the character and looking through the lens of something that puts a smile on my face. I think he contributes to the overall narrative by way of "what’s going on here" and it sort of lends itself to listening more intently. I really just wanted to see myself dressed up as a skeleton, though, if I am being honest.
You went back to your hometown of Pequannock, New Jerse to film the video. What was that experience like now that you live in LA?
It was amazing to go back home to shoot the video. I have to give a serious shoutout to Barb Meloy at Pequannock Parks and Rec for hooking us up with a field. I used to run a summer theater camp for almost a decade while I was in high school and college through parks and rec, so me and Barb have naturally been very close. It was great to hear her voice again and to be on the field. It was a very serious nostalgia overload which was only positive.
You went on tour with Dodie! What was that experience like?
It was truly a unicorn tour. Each show had the best crowds and the crew and band were the best cast of characters I could ever share time with. The feeling of playing in rooms that I've always dreamt of along with doing it with amazing people FOR amazing people was just the best experience. I knew it was going to be fun, but it far exceeded even my own expectations.
When you played “I Choose You” live, before it was even out, what was the response from fans like?
The response from the fans is the reason it's out. I remember not being sure about which songs I was going to release next, and I always lean on audience reactions for new songs. You can tell what's wrong and what's right with a song the second you start playing it live. I remember calling my manager after the third show and telling him, "We have no choice, we have to put this out next." Then on the road, we came up with a way to finish the song and come up with a video idea.
What are you looking forward to in the future?
I'm really looking forward to putting out the rest of this project that I did with Andrew, John, and Ethan. It was just such a fun experience and I want to share that experience with everyone. Also very excited for my show at The Troubadour in LA on February 28 (come out!! It's gonna rule.)
Who are your Ones To Watch?
Right now, I've been listening to a song called "Do You Ever?" by Phil Good on repeat. He is a friend of mine and if you like absolute BOPS then you will love this.