Singer-songwriter Adam Melchor has just released an EP that just might be completely up your alley. Why? It’s called Summer Camp. Yes, like the kind of summer camp you’re thinking of. The six songs were recorded over the course of three days; they are dreamy, folksy, and will make you want to go right back to your summer camp days.
The 27-year-old Jewish and Ecuadorian musician is from Pequannock, New Jersey. Melchor, by the way, is pronounced Mel-CH-or. As he tweeted, “my dad is from ecuador and says it with an accento over the ‘o’ so it sounds really spanish and my mom pronounces it like if the ‘o’ was an ‘e’ as long as u get my first name right idc about how u say my last name!!!!”
(Image by Ross Nicol)
Melchor studied opera in college, but nothing about his current music is operatic — it sounds like the music you listen to as you sit and roast marshmallows by a fire. He’s about to open for British artist Bruno Major on his U.S. tour, but Melchor took the time to answer a few questions over e-mail.
Why name the album Summer Camp?
When I was in the room with [collaborators] Andrew, Ethan and John, someone said, “This feels like summer camp!” because we were having such a great time together.
What was your summer camp experience like?
I never went to sleepaway camp. I did a local theater camp in my town in New Jersey where I grew up. It was such a great experience and taught me so much about being on stage.
My sister and I got matching braids today in the camp we run 💃🏾 pic.twitter.com/txsLhrn28c
— Adam Melchor (@AdamMelchor) June 29, 2016
What kind of camper were you?
I had to be the center of attention, always. Very dramatic.
Did you ever want to be a camp songleader?
What was your Jewish upbringing like?
It was mostly through my cousins. My mom is Jewish and dad is Catholic, so they sort of just celebrated everything as an excuse to get all of our families together.
How do your Ecuadorian and Jewish identities overlap? What are your favorite traditions from both sides?
My favorite Jewish tradition is Passover and my favorite Ecuadorian tradition is cumbia music. My grandma was always dancing to that.
@acero_ivonne the Ecuadorean and Jewish sides of me won't let my hair just fall straight without a fight. They're making me earn this.
— Adam Melchor (@AdamMelchor) February 10, 2016
Does your Jewish identity impact your music? If yes, how?
I’m not sure if it does. I don’t think too much in a religious connotation when I’m performing or writing music.
When I play weddings my vibe is always Jewish Owen Wilson
— Adam Melchor (@AdamMelchor) April 15, 2018
Who are your favorite Jewish musicians?
One of my favorite songwriters is Leonard Cohen.
You studied opera in college, but this album has a definitely not-opera sound. How does your background impact your work?
It impacts my work every day. I am always trying to get better and still use a lot of the same warm-ups to do so. The best thing opera taught me was how to sing softly.
What is your dream as a musician?
My dream is to just keep doing music and be able to afford to have a family with it. And play Madison Square Garden.
Go-to karaoke song?
“You’re Still The One” by Shania Twain.
Last, what’s your ideal bagel order?
Egg and cheese on an everything bagel.
Image of Adam in header by Alonso Ruiz.