Adam Zuniga is a guitarist who has a real talent for creating fresh new melodies, both in his compositions and in his improvisations. His performances include aspects of ambient, jazz, and Latin music, featuring his very attractive guitar interacting with electronics on one memorable theme after another. He is very much in his own musical category.
Growing up in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Adam’s first instrument was the violin which he played in junior high. “I attended band classes with my sister, who also played violin, and we were regularly competing for first chair,” remembers Adam. “She would always win since she was ahead of me. She now plays keyboards and piano and is a songwriter. The violin really helped me with my pitch since it does not have any frets, and one of these days I’m going to pick it up again.” By the time he was 17, Adam had switched to the guitar, learning about several regional styles of Latin music from other local musicians. “We would have jam sessions that would last almost all night, or until the drummer couldn’t take it anymore.” Adam also learned bass and drums and, while attending the University Of Texas at San Antonio, he took two years of classical piano classes but settled on the guitar. “For me the guitar is the ultimate melodic instrument and on it I found my own voice.”
Adam developed a strong interest in studio production, electronic music and midi programming. Moving to San Antonio when he was 20, he spent his days as an intern at a local recording studio. “The studio recorded not only bands but jingles and music for commercials, utilizing a lot of original music. Eventually I did commercials and jingles myself in my own studio, and that was my main activity in the 1990s. I had a friend who ran a video production company. I wrote and performed a lot of custom music for his company and for all types of commercials, hiring singers to record jingles that I wrote.”
Signed to a deal with ModernGroove Entertainment, a Vancouver-based game and multimedia company, he wrote original music for their upcoming Sony Playstation title but, after two years, the company folded.
Other projects were much more successful. Adam recorded songs that he released on independent EPs over the course of five years, displaying his own fresh and new style. “I experimented with different sounds, putting out the music for my own satisfaction. People wanted me to release it on a larger scale but I told them to hold off, that the EPs were for me but the next project would be for them. It was really good training for Echoes & Light.”
Echoes & Light is the first full-length project to really show off Adam Zuniga’s music and talents. He wrote all ten selections and, other than Xavier Espinosa’s keyboard on “Unspoken,” Adam played all of the instruments which include guitar, piano, bass and drum programming. He is inspired by the work ethic of Prince and Trent Reznor, other musicians who are known for performing all of the music on their albums. “Walking In This World” is a particular favorite of both the guitarist and his fans but each selection (which includes “City Lights,” “Unspoken,” “Secret Place” and “Through Your Eyes”) has much to offer with the melodies and the beauty of Adam’s guitar being a perfect match.
Adam Zuniga works as lead guitarist with the eight-piece Latin ensemble VIVIR (formerly Grupo Geno). The band has been a local favorite in San Antonio since 2006 and is currently working on its first CD. Its music falls somewhere between the Gipsy Kings and Santana with the rhythm guitar section being influenced by flamenco music. In addition to their regular performances, Grupo Geno has performed at such events as the Alamo Bowl, the NCAA Final Four, and on live television during the Fiesta Opening Ceremonies.
Other recent activity includes Echoing Sentiments, a solo project that gives Adam an opportunity to explore Shoegaze. “It is primarily echoing shimmering guitar with a little bit of overdrive. Hammock, which has a big guitar sound, is a band that has really influenced me.” In addition, Adam stays busy with live performances and has played for a such shows as Late Night Live, Despierta America, and A Más Tardar with Gloria Trevi.
Adam Zuniga looks forward to the future. “My main goal is to get the music on Echoes & Light out as far and wide as possible. If I could duplicate the enthusiasm that I have received locally on a more national basis, it would be exciting. I want it to reach as many people as possible.” Considering how accessible, infectious and melodic his music is, it will not be surprising when Adam Zuniga reaches his goal. Echoes & Light is an important step forward.
Biography by Scott Yanow, author of ten books on jazz including The Jazz Singers, Trumpet Kings and Jazz On Film