WV musician Adam Yokum’s new music calls on home

By Joe Severino, RealWV

When Adam Yokum moved home to West Virginia from Los Angeles, he found the sound he’d been searching for.

A musician brought up on his father’s bluegrass, and his brother’s talent for guitar, Yokum found success in West Virginia as a rapper. He studied at WVU, also performing shows to excited crowds in Morgantown. After graduating, he moved to California to chase his dreams. 

Yokum spent a year sharpening his skills and growing as a person and artist, he said. He returned about a year later.

Today, his sound leans on acoustics and melody – a reflection of who he is now, driven by the perspective he’s found in life, and the stillness he’s found at home in the Appalachian Mountains.

“There’s something about the peace and quiet here that is more inspiring than anything. Something that I felt like I was missing when I was out there,” Yokum said. “I’m here finishing up this album and making new songs.”

Yokum’s latest release, “Right My Wrongs” taps two other notable West Virginia artists – rising star Philip Bowen on acoustics, and Huey Mack featured with a verse. It’s gathered more than 21,000 streams just on Spotify in the first weeks of release.

Bowen’s opening chords and Yokum’s melodic lyrics create a harmony that elicits hazy dreams of country roads on sunny mornings.

“I heard heaven is a place on Earth

So take me there and pray it works”

Yokum grew up in Whitmer, Randolph County, West Virginia – a town on Dry Fork of the Cheat River that at the last Census count was home to 82 people. A deep love of music fostered through his family and community.

“I found happiness in making music,” he said.

Like many talented Appalachians from a small town, Yokum knew he wanted to one day leave and pursue his craft. Los Angeles, home to 3.8 million people, offered access to artists and industry folk who could give Yokum the help he was looking for.

In California, Yokum said he grew tremendously. His professionalism was heightened by those around him. His improvement came through soaking up knowledge from honest, hard-working artists he’d surrounded himself with. 

Huey Mack was one of the artists he met out West. Mack first came up in music by lighting his hometown Morgantown on fire with his early 2010s hip-hop releases. He later grew a regional and national following as a rapper.

Today, Mack is going through a genre transition similar to Yokum. Notably, Mack released “Dear West Virginia” last year with country music star and Glen Dale native Brad Paisley. Mack has become a role model to him.

Yokum said he’s set to release his new album, “Evergreen” in the Spring. 

He’s also dropping his new song, “gretzky,” Nov. 17. The song features Mike – the genre-bending artist formerly known as Mike Stud – who came up in hip-hop, and still holds more than 3 million monthly listeners on Spotify.

Mike has similarly given advice to Yokum on blending his sounds, as well as navigating being an independent artist, he said. 

As he looks back, Yokum said he’s happy with how he’s developed as a person and artist. He is proud of the journey he’s taken to be here. 

And he hopes his new album lives up to its name, and sticks with people throughout their lives.

“The whole symbolism behind it is just to make something that’s going to live forever,” he said. “Something that can touch people in a way beyond just, ‘This song is cool.’

Yokum credited his friends growing up for giving him the confidence to pursue this career. Similar to many Appalchian artists, he had no classical training in music – just an ear for his own sound, and a tight-knit crew around him.

“I’d always had this blind belief that I was just like, the best thing since sliced bread,” Yokum said. “Looking back now, it’s like, ‘Oh, my God, so many people could have told me to just stop.”

You can stream Adam Yokum’s music on Spotify, Apple Music and other platforms, and text 304-902-2407 to receive updates on his music.

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