The international music scene, like a menu of infinite pancake choices, can overwhelm you with its endless, dubious promises of fulfillment. Seedling Records recording artist A.J. Croce knows how you feel. He doesn’t want you to fill up on empty carbs or predictable music. A.J.--considered “one of our greatest young songwriters” by David Wild of Rolling Stone--wants your ears satisfied, like they just ate the best pancakes ears ever ate, and with his tasty singing, songwriting, and musicianship, A.J. delivers.
I know what you’re wondering: can A.J.’s music be categorized as easily as it can be digested? Consider this: each of A.J’s five CDs has hit the radio charts in a different genre. His debut, A.J. Croce entered the top ten U.S. jazz chart in 1993; the follow up “That’s Me in The Bar” landed again in the top ten in 1995, but this time in the Americana and Blues chart; Subsequently, 1998’s Fit to Serve placed again on the blues chart, but also on the AAA chart, and 2000’s Transit garnered a spot again on AAA and also the American college radio chart. His current single “Don’t Let Me Down,” from his new CD Adrian James Croce is the only song by an artist on an independent label to hit the US top 40 charts in 2006. Such diverse acceptance cannot be aimed for: AJ makes music he loves, grounded in his wide range of influences, and lets the chips hit the fan, confident, as he says, that “an eclectic taste in music, “ is “the foundation of versatility.” This eclecticism has gained A.J. a reputation as a one man music festival, who’ll pull an old barrelhouse boogie woogie stride piano jam out of one sleeve, a psychedelic pop gem or New Orleans funk groove out of the other. Imagine an American roadhouse nightclub on a warm summer night, poised between city and country, where folks of all ages and backgrounds come to dance, listen, drink, and occasionally start a romance or fistfight; AJ would go over in there. You would buy him a beer.
In childhood, A.J. lost his father to a tragic plane crash and his eyesight to a brain tumor. From the ages of four to ten, he gradually regained sight in his left eye, learned to play the piano, fell in love with the music of Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, and came into possession of his multi-platinum recording artist father’s weathered songbook and guitar. Raised by his mom Ingrid near the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, California, A.J. began writing songs and performing locally—first for $20 at a Bat Mitzvah and later as a sideman and bandleader—eventually launching his recording and touring career, modeled after the epic tale of Gilgamesh. Having survived his challenging childhood, A.J. was able to overcome another unexpected obstacle as an adult: he blew out his powerful voice during the recording of Fit To Serve, had to learn to sing all over again for Transit, and is now in better voice than ever.
Adrian James became A.J. as a young man in order to combine his two first names into one, making room for his new middle name: Adventure. From his days living in a London flat & playing local pubs to his climbing the Himalayas in 1987 & the Oldavai Gorge in 1989 (where he became interested in early man as an early man); from his performance before Czech president Vaclav Havel in Boston, with whom he exited through the kitchen of the theatre singing harmonies to Bob Dylan tunes, to his monkey levitation experiments in the Far East in the 1990s, A.J. has never stopped seeking new joys and possibilities for filling his life with life, and his humorous, fresh, and often touching songwriting reflects this passion. A.J.’s recordings have traveled even further than he has, having been launched into the far reaches of our galaxy on two space shuttle missions. A.J.’s goals these days include continuing to love and celebrate his wife, kids, family, friends, and fans, overcoming his fear of sea otters, and nourishing his label Seedling records as it sprouts a big dark forest full of delights. He is currently living in a hotel near you.