We sat down with Shane Adams, owner of Artist Accelerator and primary composer for Fjor Films, and asked him about his musical history. Here’s what he had to say:
I grew up next to Las Vegas, Nevada in a little town called Henderson, which is actually the sleeper city for Las Vegas. I loved growing up in the heat; I loved growing up in Las Vegas. When I was a boy I knew I always wanted to do music.
I had this really terrible, mean music teacher named Mean Mrs. Dean. I think “Mean” was her actual first real name. Her husband was this WWII vet who had a prosthetic leg with a white sock painted on the plastic, it was like an approximation of a sock because it was white and came up to calf level. He would leave his leg leaning against her piano, the spinet, and so I’d be trying to do my scales and there was this horcrux of a leg sitting there by the piano. She hated me.
My older sister was the golden child of the family and she’d always practice and she was awesome and then it was time to “send in the boy.” It was like, “sit down and show me what you haven’t practiced this week”, and that kind of stuff. She was old school, whacking the ruler on my hands if I didn’t sit up straight. It was terrible. And yet out of everyone in my family I had the best ear.
Even at a young age, I could hear music. She lived maybe three miles from the Las Vegas strip and back in those days it was a desert landscape background with a fence and you could see the Las Vegas strip in the distance. What I would do after my torture(I mean lesson) while my next sister would take her lesson, is I would go into her backyard and I would sing at the top of my lungs hoping that in one of those hotels there would be a music executive with his window rolled down and he would be listening. And I could imagine he would be chomping on a big cigar, signing royalty checks and that kind of stuff and he’d say, “Hey Mrs. Pennyweather, what is that melodious noise that I hear coming from my window? Bring the limo around.”
And Mrs. Pennyweather and the valet and the paparazzi with their cameras flashing would all go out to his limousine, and they would drive around the streets of Vegas until they drove up to the backyard of Mean Mrs. Dean, and they would find this boy singing at the top of his lungs. He would say, “Young man! Come here!” and I would come up and he would roll down his window and extend this fat, sweaty palm and say, “I want you to join our organization. You’ve got moxie.” And he would take me in his limousine and make me a star.
That’s probably not the best career planning you could do, just to sing in the back of your mean piano teacher’s yard, but I would do that every week hoping I would be discovered. That actually never happened. So, I was with my buddy Rodney Green at his wedding a couple of years ago and his honeymoon suite was at the Las Vegas Palms Hotel. Before the wedding ceremony we went in and we decorated up his room with flower petals all over, scented candles, all that stuff, but I went to the window after we got everything gussied up and we were trying to decide, do we want the room dark or light and as I opened the curtains I looked out and I could see across the valley where Mean Mrs. Dean’s neighborhood was. And I had this flashback of being that little kid in her backyard and what I did is I cracked open the window to see if I could hear anybody singing.
I thought, “I know this is crazy, but I’m the record executive now. Here’s what I’ll do. I’m going to get in my car and I’m going to find that person singing and whoever it was find them and say, ‘let’s demo your song and we’ll just do it.’” So I opened the window and I listened for a little while and I heard pedestrians and stuff, but it made me think, “I’m here. I’m doing what I always wanted to do. I’m making a living doing music, I’m able to write, I’m able to record, I’m able to do all these fantastic things that Mean Mrs. Dean tried to beat out of me with a twelve inch wooden ruler.” You know, the kind with the little metal strip that was like a cleaver….this was a cleaver, this was not a ruler.
But the interesting thing is now that I’m a producer and I do music and I do records, I actually help people create their dreams. I have that ability now. I help people, they bring me their lyrics or their music, and I try and amplify who they are.
To learn more about Shane’s journey stay tuned for a special Fjor Films documentary detailing more of his life.