Adam Barta has always been a rarity in the music industry. From working with people like Mrs. Kasha Davis from RuPaul's Drag Race to the legendary Kathy Sledge, Barta has always managed to put his patented and unique sound on whatever project he was working with. His latest collaboration with Tan Mom, the now legendary "Free 2 Be" has gotten Barta his biggest exposure yet, putting him directly on The Howard Stern Show couch! I caught up with Barta to talk about his latest collaboration, being a constant Stern Show hot topic, and who his ultimate collaboration would be!
Instinct: Adam, you’ve been in the music scene for some time, both with your solo work and collaborations. What do you think is one of your biggest accomplishments?
Adam Barta: Ironically, after so many years of doing this, I'd have to say 'Free 2 Be Me' which I talk about below. Howard Stern himself said it was the biggest achievement of my career! But if you put that aside, one of the coolest things (and most proud of) was going to see the movie Don Jon with my mom in theaters, and watching Joseph Gordon Levitt work out to my song "Give Yourself Up" (with Kathy Sledge) on the big screen and then seeing my name as a singer/songwriter in the credits. It was such a crazy moment knowing that people across the world were enjoying my song in a blockbuster movie and especially sharing it with my late mom.
It's definitely a surreal experience. We went into this project back in August not expecting anything. I literally thought, "oh it'll be nice to see Patricia, and maybe we can do a fun song again". Once I heard Howard and Robin talking about it for the first time, I knew something was definitely brewing much bigger than we had anticipated. Howard was doing segments every week and said that he couldn't stop singing it. He even called it "the greatest song of all time". I'm sure it was in jest, but he certainly was right about it being an ear worm. True story, when we appeared on the show to perform the song on the show back in September, I almost had a panic attack right as we left the greenroom to enter the studio. I stopped myself in my head and said "no way, Jose! This is the biggest opportunity of your career and you're going to nail it". The rest is Stern Show history! Howard has a way of relaxing you when you are in the studio so you have fun. That's why he's so phenomenal at what he does.
Fast forward four months later and you have major A-list celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel and Ike Barinholtz saying they love me, Leslie Grossman (who I absolutely LOVED in American Horror Story: Apocalypse) saying she was a fan, and even Ryan Phillippe, my celebrity crush from my 20's, saying congrats on the smash success of the song. Is this real life? The craziest part of it all are the fans, and how absolutely amazing they all have been! For the first time ever I had a group of ladies come up to me at a restaurant interrupting my dinner to ask for pics, and I loved every second of it!
I grew up listening to Howard (and watching his channel 9 and E! shows), so it's one of the biggest validations I could get in my career. To be even a small part of the legacy of the greatest radio show in history is mind boggling to me. I am forever grateful to Howard and so humbled by the experience. It also makes me really want to up my game for our follow up single, now that the eyes of the world are finally paying attention. I think that's the craziest thing, is that for years creating this "art" in the way of songs and music video, and I now have my platform to expose it to a really huge audience. That's the greatest joy and excitement for me – being able to create and make people happy with my music. I also am VERY thankful for Patricia and our unbelievable producer, Electropoint. We are a magical team!
You’re collaborations are always interesting from Tan Mom to Octo Mom to Dr Miami! Is there anyone you want to work with that you haven’t gotten in the studio?
There are TONS, but I would absolutely love to work with RuPaul. I love all his music, and he also does this kind of fun and sometimes tongue-in-cheek pop music that I think would blend well with my style. it would be a total honor. Ru is actually a legit music artist so I would treat it much like my collaboration with Kathy Sledge and turn out something that would smash the Billboard charts. Electropoint has worked with a ton of the top Ru girls, so I think his sound would be right on point for what we would want to do.
You’ve also worked with RuPaul's Drag Race superstars like Pandorra Box and Mrs. Kasha Davis. What’s it like taking on these dynamite performers and taking them in a new direction?
Pandora was one of my first collabs back in 2013, and we had so much fun filming that music video. She's crazy talented, and I think she has a lot to show the drag and mainstream world. Kasha is my partner in crime and I love being Ricky and Lucy at the red carpet premieres. When she calls to work on anything I always answer. I would LOVE to see MKD on a future All Stars (or any other) season. I'd love to do a filthy and fun song with Alaska too.
My mom is definitely guiding everything I do. In fact, I believe all the success from the past two years since she left us is due in large part to her. I've had two Billboard charting hits, starred on a reality TV show, have this massive song sensation on Howard Stern — it's pretty remarkable for such a relative short time. She used to say how I had a black cloud over me and that's why I had a lot of disappointment in my career; since she's up there, she's lit up the way for me and I'm loving every second. It's bittersweet though because I'd want nothing more than for her to share in the happiness with me. That's also what drove me to do the song. She was a huge fan of RHONJ, and having one of the most beautiful women on the show inside and out (also named Margaret — her name was Marguerite) playing her in a video her would definitely make her beam. Also true story, her hubby, Joe, is a huge Howard fan. Perhaps we could get Tan Mom on as a "friend of" next season. Who would win in a Teresa/Tan Mom showdown, or would they become best of friends? The possibilities are endless, lol!
What’s next for Adam Barta?
Tons! We're in the process of signing a deal with Dragqueenmerch.com/collections/adam-barta for the official line of "Free 2 Be Me" t-shirts, back in the studio with Patricia end of this month to work on our new song for early next year, a live tour kicking off February 1st at the Brokerage Comedy Club on LI with Shuli, a music video for "Peep Me Tonight" with Dr. Miami and Mariahlynn (from L&HH), and recording with the inimitable Traci Lords. Also I'll be waiting by email and phone for Ru's people to get back to me on that collab.. LOL! Follow me on Insta @adambarta for all the updates!