Heraclitus famously said, “The only constant in life is change.” Those who recognize this and are able to correlate their aspirations to it are the most successful. Since the early 2000’s, the music industry has suffered more setbacks than most of the arts; leaving only the most talented and astute to persevere. Adam Skeppar was just a young boy as we entered the new millennium but he has proven to be not only a masterful guitarist and able to craft the kind of career that both his predecessors and peers find enviable. Recording in legendary studios, touring the world, and contributing his sound to that of other artists is every musician’s dream…and Skeppar’s reality. While his playing is incredibly diverse, the unifying facet is his ability to place the emphasis on the song and performance rather than his own technical facility; though when pressed he’s able to display the facility that all greats possess. It’s exactly this approach, only utilizing what’s needed in appropriate portions, that has made Adam Skeppar so popular in today’s music community.
Sensationalism is vastly different than depth of talent. While it may be easier than ever for someone to attract “followers” or get attention these days, musicians like Skeppar are vetted by the many artists who seek out their skills to amplify their own art. The Reasn is an artist who combines influences like Pop, RnB, Rock, Alternative, and Hip-hop into his songs that have become international hits thanks to touring and an internet presence. The Reasn’s hit single “Slow” which has already received more than 200,000 plus streams on Spotify and well over 100,000 YouTube views. Adam’s collaboration with The Reasn as a guitarist has added an exciting element to the music. The guitarist notes that recording The Reasn’s Man on the Moon album at 17 Hertz studios, where Metallica recorded their iconic “Black Album” was the type of moment where you realize you are standing in the same spot where giants of the music world stood and worked. In both a practical and artistic statement, Skeppar relates, “I try to inspire myself and also stop in the moment and realize that I am doing what I’ve always wanted to do. I enjoy the aspect of getting different gigs, it keeps things fresh and you don’t know what you’re going to do next. It has worked out for me and I am enjoying the lifestyle.” This is confirmed with Adam’s guitar work with America’s Got Talent winner Bianca Ryan. Skeppar’s riveting performances on television with Bianca are evidence of a vastly different approach than his work with The Reasn yet still supporting the song and artist with exceptional feel and tasteful playing.
Versatility and exceptionalism; they’re the cornerstones of a modern musician. Having seen Skeppar in either of the aforementioned bands, you’d not quickly recognize him as the guitarist for one of the most internationally beloved and popular Abba tribute bands “Abbarama”, precisely because he is so adept at placing attention on the music rather than himself. The history and lineage of the legendary ABBA continues to increase their fanbase with every new generation. Abbarama allows young fans who never saw the group to witness their greatness and for older fans to relive the concert experience. Tours across North America, Asia, and Australia have become longer and increasingly difficult to get tickets for by fans of Abbarama. Chicago’s House of Blues (capacity 1,800) saw the venue overflowing with excited fans reveling in the moment. Adam describes his approach to ABBA’s music noting, “In Abbarama, I try to pay respect to the original as much as possible while also making it sound more modern and adding things to make it fresh and interesting. It’s important to know where you can change something or add something and when you can’t. I try to add exciting things as well to make it flare up a bit. It depends on the song a lot too. During some songs I just have to focus on the groove. Back in the day I think people were still more into the 80’s and 90’s guitar hero thing but nowadays it’s more about soul and feel.”
Anyone who breaks through to achieve peer status among the greats of their profession is a product of much more than raw talent and aptitude. It’s equal parts ability, commitment, and attitude. For a professional musician like Adam, these are a requirement. While he has performed alongside guitar greats like guitar virtuoso Steve Vai (Frank Zappa, David Lee Roth, etc.), he notes that he pays attention to unknown guitarists on Social Media, praising their abilities. While noting that he is grateful for the musical experiences of the varied artists he plays with, he looks forward to new opportunities…hinting that working with Bruno Mars is something that would be exciting as a musician. Having relocated to America from his homeland of Sweden is proof that this exceptionally talented musician hears his path as a calling more than a choice. Artists are among the most passionate people in the world. It’s their creations and excitement that move the rest of the world, transferring that emotion for use in our own lives. Adam Skeppar is inspiring simply in the way he lives his life pursuing his muse. Travelling the world, playing alongside his boyhood heroes and performing to expansive audiences; he’s not pretending, he is living an artist’s life. Even more impressively, Adam seems fully aware that not everyone who aspires to do what he does gets that opportunity.
Writer: Cecil McCoy