Nashville Newbie KirdA’s music blurs the lines between folk, country and hip-hop
Adrik Bagdasarian, is living every budding musician’s dream. At 19, he’s starting his second year studying music business at Belmont University in Nashville. It’s one of the top music programs in the nation, boasting an impressive list of alumni, including Brad Paisely, Trisha Yearwood and Steven Curtis Chapman.
Adrik Bagdasarian, stage name KirdA, is the first to admit that he doesn’t quite fit into the Nashville scene, a draw for industry-driven artists and, too often, unapologetic egos.
He is serious and soft spoken. An old soul, who doesn’t mind saying how much he loves his family and the small Virginia suburb he grew up in. He speaks about his music in soft tones and descriptive analogies, as if it’s a weight he lovingly carries.
“Everyone has emotion in them and they express it different ways—maybe going to the gym or writing. I have this emotion in me and the main way I feel I can express that is through creating something from scratch,” he says. “When I go back later and listen to my music, to feel those emotions again—and be reminded of the place I was in—that’s really important to me.”
Don’t fret too much over music industry’s rules
Bagdasarian credits his dad, a guitarist, for introducing him to music early on. As a kid, Adrik Bagdasarian always had instruments within arm’s reach. He started piano lessons at 8 years old and, about five years later, took banjo and guitar lessons.
He immersed himself in the classic country music of Jonny Cash and folk music from groups like the Avett Brothers. Then he picked up an electric guitar and explored grunge and later hip-hop.
“It’s been a weird journey,” he says.
“For the industry labels, they might say you need to abide by the rules of specific genres.”
But he points to the success stories of artists like Post Malone and Lil Nas X who’ve combined hip-hop and country.
“People have loved that clash of those two genres… I’m not sure if that’s a reflection of where the industry might be heading, but that would be awesome if we had musicians bold enough to mix genres and have them be a commercial success.”
Adrik Bagdasarian – Play music that’s unique to you
Moving from Leesburg, Virginia, to Nashville placed him in the middle of a lyrical tug of war, between doing what it takes to make it in the dog-eat-dog music industry and staying true to himself and his craft. He’s bold enough to try to do both, producing music that blurs the line between genres.
“There’s a lot of rock star personalities, and that’s not me,” he says. “Once you’re around so many egos, people recognize the good people over the people who only care about themselves. So that’s what I try to work on.”
He encourages artists to not be tempted to be the nest Ariana Grande or Taylor Swift, but to instead create their own art and leave their own mark on the world.
“No matter how talented you are, there are hundreds of could-be Taylor Swifts that are just as talented. You need to do what is unique to you, because you can only go so far with just talent.”
He released his first five-song EP in the summer of 2018. It’s a blend of hip-hop and R&B. He says, if all else fails, he just wants to put out music no one has heard before—and have listeners feel the emotion and passion that he puts into his work.
Find KirdA’s song “Outside” on Spotify and you’ll hear for yourself, that’s exactly what he’s doing.