Putting personality on the playlist
Adam Fridman, better known as Freeds, was always creative. He may not have known he wanted to be an artist right away, but he was always drawn to creative outlets.
If Adam Fridman had to choose a favourite musician (which he admits is very difficult), Frank Ocean would be pretty high on the list. “His storytelling is out of this world. I love his melodies and the influences of soul, R&B, hip-hop, gospel and more. His voice is crazy, but for me it’s just how creative and conceptual his music is. It’s so warm and nostalgic,” he said.
Fridman, known to most people as Freeds, has always had a connection to the Jewish community. Growing up in Bondi, he told The AJN that he was immersed in Judaism – attending a Jewish high school, playing for Maccabi and even working shifts at the Hakoah Club. “I was always excited when bubba popped in to play cards,” he recalled.
The fact that Judaism was so entrenched in his everyday life means that it comes as no surprise that it’s there in his music as well.
“All my grandparents came from Poland and were Holocaust survivors,” he explained. “From them I learnt the importance of family, sticking together, working hard and preserving traditions.”
Freeds explained that he believes it’s important to embrace who you are, in everything you do. The musician, who is now based in Melbourne and has been for more than a decade, said that his uniqueness is what makes him who he is.
“I think it’s super important to embrace who you are, in music and life in general. Everyone’s unique and has their own story, and you should be proud to share that,” he said. “My personality is on full display in my music, so when people hear it, they immediately go, ‘That’s Freeds.’”
While Freeds didn’t always want to be an artist, he was creative as a kid. He was always playing piano or drawing, but it wasn’t until he was a young teen that he began writing hip-hop songs. His obsession, he said, grew from there.
The feeling and emotion that music evokes, he said, is transcendent.
“It can take you to another place. I love the stories lyrics can tell and I’ve always connected with artists who are not afraid to be vulnerable. When hearing artists talk about their personal struggles, it makes you feel like you’re not alone. I also just love the creative element of music, the ability to express yourself in your own way, it’s really freeing.”
Despite getting into music at a young age, he recalled only ever producing tunes for fun, never taking it too seriously.
Still, he said, getting on stage for the first time was the scariest thing he ever did. Confidence has developed over time, and now, music is the only thing he can see himself doing, “despite the concern of my obviously Jewish parents”.
Freeds also includes a lot about mental health in his music. He describes it as therapeutic. He also sees it as a community service, encouraging others to talk openly like he does.
“I write a lot about mental health because it’s therapeutic for me to express how I’m feeling and what I’m going through. It’s healthy for the mind when you can be open about these things. I know it’s not an easy thing to do but I think when people hear it in music, it can give them courage to do the same,” he explained. “It’s also important for male artists to talk about mental health due to a greater stigma around expressing emotions.”
Freeds’ music has been described as sunny-bedroom pop style tunes with an added modern flavour.
Last year, he released his second EP, Still Not Finished Yet – a follow-up to his debut Not Finished Yet, released in 2021 – which features five tracks, including Fuzzy, the music video for which he has described as a career highlight so far. When the EP was released, Freeds shared a post to his Instagram account, excitedly sharing that Spotify had included songs on various playlists, including Fresh Finds AU&NZ Best of 2022 and Indie Arrivals. He has had more than 800,000 streams, and over 315,000 listeners in 165 countries.
When asked about what lies in store for the future, Freeds said he’s working on building a career in songwriting, which is what he loves doing most. Ten years down the track, he sees himself writing hits for pop artists around the world.
Of course, he’ll also be working on his own personal songs as he gears up to release his debut album. In the meantime, though, he’ll continue to play gigs.
Last week, he performed at the FOJAM concerts, Carole King: Hits & Rarities.
Describing King as a “true master of the craft”, Freeds said he’s honoured to have been included in the line-up of the incredibly talented cast.
“I think Carole King is an incredible songwriter,” he said. “The voice, lyrics, tunes and soulfulness – it’s timeless music. Given her personal experiences and success as a female artist, she will always be an empowering and important voice for women.”
You can find Freeds on Instagram, @planetfreeds.