Adam Rosante was born with an extra battery pack, and he’s putting it to excellent use. On a mission to empower people to be their healthiest and debunking faddism in the process, he is no stranger to a good challenge. Maybe you recognize the fitness expert from appearances on the TODAY Show, in the pages of The New York Times or you’ve just generally seen him kicking ass in multiple fields simultaneously and wearing it lightly.
On the music front, Adam’s personal sound track is something he dials in wherever he goes. And he has range: from DeBarge in the martial arts studio to folk rock in a convertible and a whole lot of hip-hop along the way. We asked Adam about some of his defining musical moments and, much like Adam himself, the answers are anything but boring.
What’s your go-to first listen of the day?
Depends on the day. Usually 90’s R&B or old soul. But sometimes I work out first thing when I wake up. If that’s the case it’s club-banging hip-hop.
You work out? Kidding. Who are your musical muses? Who inspires you/influences your work?
Jay Z. He and his music and his business are laser-focused, but always evolving. Mostly, I admire his work ethic and ability to dominate on so many levels and in so many areas for so long. He’s also never really resorted to cheesy, painfully obvious publicity stunts to maintain relevance. I admire his ability to see trends then strike in the opposite direction. When music was feeling hyper produced, he came out with D.O.A. (Death of Autotune).
We love a good roadtrip. What musical memories do you have from roadtrips past?
Driving to the Grand Canyon with my wife and sister in a rented convertible listening to folk rock.
That’s an All-American answer. Most unlikely but amazing live music moment?
Seeing Jay Z bring Michael Jackson out on stage at Hot 97’s Summer Jam in 2001 was pretty surreal and incredibly bizarre. It came out of the blue and MJ didn’t perform. He walked out, stood there at the microphone, did a little Michael Jackson move, then leaned in and said, “I love you all very much.” Did another move and walked off stage. I’ve also never in my entire life seen people lose their shit like they did when Michael Jackson walked out.
Sounds bananas. First album you ever bought with your own money?
I can’t totally remember. It was either Nevermind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols or the soundtrack to Breakin’. Both of which would have been when I was in either first or second grade. And both of which I still listen to today.
Longevity and diversity. Nice. Was music a big part of how you grew up? What was the soundtrack from your early youth?
It was a huge part of how I grew up. I had a great cocktail of music when I was young that came from my cousin Carl, my parents, movies and my neighborhood friends. Carl, who was like my older brother, was really into the NY punk scene when I was little. He was definitely my biggest influence at the time, so when I was in first grade he had me listening to bands like the Sex Pistols, the Dead Boys, Dead Kennedy’s. Stuff like that. Right around that same time, I saw the movie Breakin’. That was my intro to Ice-T and break beats.
I was also really into martial arts and that’s the same period when The Last Dragon came out which was when I heard DeBarge’s “Rhythm of the Night” for the first time. I hear that song today and just want to get up and dance. Then, on top of all that, the kids in my neighborhood listened to rap which was a giant influence. And my parents were always listening to either disco or 70’s rock. Like I said, a pretty great cocktail.
And we know you’re not afraid of a great cocktail. Let’s get real. What’s a deal breaker in terms of music? AKA On a road trip if they put this on they lose their radio privileges (or have to take a bus).
With people in general I think it’s more about what you don’t like than what you do that’s going to turn me off. If you hear Rhythm of the Night and aren’t, on some level, inclined to re-enact the entire music video, we’re probably not going to get along.
Vinyl, Cassette or Digital? Don’t think just answer.
Cassingle. Kidding. Digital.
How do you discover new music? Who widens your musical world?
Really good DJs. Khaled, Flex, Enuff. People like that.
Best lyricist? Barry Manilow to Solange, nobody is off limits except Springsteen and Dylan. Too predictable.
There isn’t a single best lyricist. In rap and hip hop, Big Pun is one of the best and almost always overlooked. Nas, Kool G Rap, Rakim, KRS-One are all some of the best. But then there is a laundry list of others.
Otis Blackwell is incredible and basically responsible for Elvis’ hits and, arguably, sound.
And regardless of whether you personally like musical theater, you have to marvel at the work of people like Stephen Sondheim, Richard Rogers, Andrew Lloyd Weber and Paul Simon.
Do you listen to music while you create or do you consider that a distraction? And if yes, what and why?
It’s mostly a distraction. For me, creating is really a three-step process. First it’s having an idea. That can come anytime and from anywhere. After that, it’s deciding if the idea is worth developing. If the answer is yes, next comes acting on that idea relentlessly until it’s real in the world.
After step one, I prefer the sweet sound of silence. Music comes on when I celebrate finishing what I started.
Dig in and get it done. We get it. Old school question. What were you listening to in Junior High? And be honest.
Mostly 90’s hip hop and R&B plus some late 70’s/early 80’s punk.
First concert you ever went to?
Paul Abdul. Color Me Badd opened.
Of course they did. Most recent live show?
Conceptual artist and friend David Sokolin ripping the blues guitar at a private show.
Do you have certain music that puts you in the mood to create?
I try not to build the habit of needing to be in a certain vibe to create. A lot of people have this idea that creation is some woo woo process. To me, creating is producing finished work. So anything that puts me in a good mood can help give me the spark to start. But really it’s just doing the work, regardless of how I feel.
Favorite music venue?
Jones Beach on a clear, warm summer night.
Stay in the loop with Adam via his social @adamrosante. You can also learn more about Adam’s philosophy or get fit with him via WaveShape, a regime he created for surfers to get in ridiculously good shape.