Many people know Adam Orringer-Hau as an elite swimmer who splashed his way to a state title in the 200 freestyle, took second in the 100 free and helped lead his Pioneer swim team to a sixth-place finish at the state finals in March.
But there is a “flip side” to Orringer-Hau that not many people know about – and, yes, part of it has to do with the senior being a musician but it has more to do with his perspective, his vision and his soul.
In Orringer-Hau’s song “Break My Heart,” the 18-year-old sings, “I’m losing my grip on life.” In the song, he’s dealing with the pain of losing someone special: “But it’s not new I’m getting used to feeling blue cause every time I get my hopes up you split my heart in two,” he sings on the title track of his recently released eight-song album.
It’s hard to believe that someone like Orringer-Hau is “losing his grip on life.” It’s reminiscent of John Lennon singing “Help” or “I’m a Loser” during the height of Beatlemania. Orringer-Hau isn’t a Beatle but he certainly has a lot going for him, including a spot on the Boston University swimming and diving team roster. He will study marketing and music production at BU.
He also will be chasing his dream of pursing music, so with all that how is this young, talented man losing his grip on anything, let alone life.
The easy answer is that he really isn’t. That was the character in that song which may or may not be a little autobiographical – hint, most songs are. But the song is as beautiful musically as it is sad lyrically with a simple piano introduction brought to life by imaginative beats, the instrumental backing of the track.
“The album title came after I had recorded track two, ‘Break My Heart,’” he said. “I wanted it to be the ‘focus’ track, per se, of the album, hence why I named the album after it. I think it best represents the message of the album as a whole, it really establishes the general mood.
“Heartbreak, figuring out relationships, and reminiscing on past experiences are common themes touched on throughout the album.”
Orringer-Hau, the son of Lisa Orringer and Errol Hau, has been impacted by music his entire life. He took piano lessons early in life until he was about 14 when school and swimming took over his schedule. But the passion for music was always with him.
“In fact, my interest in music only grew more,” he says. “I experimented in producing music (digitally) throughout high school, but it was never anything too serious, more of just a hobby. It wasn’t until the start of my senior year (around eight months ago) that I decided I wanted to make music of my own – not just instrumentally, but with vocals and all other aspects of production.”
Orringer-Hau dedicated time to work on his music and improving his sound. Suddenly, an album appeared. And when that magic happens, you reach out and grab it.
“I never thought I’d be putting out an album so soon, but I’m really happy with how it turned out and I hope others will be able to identify through listening to my album just how much I care about the music.”
While swimming will be a staple on his calendar over the next four years, his plan at BU is to improve his knowledge of music production. The university will offer many more resources than he had in his “simple studio setup in the basement.”
“Nothing’s impossible,” he says. “I didn’t enter my senior year of high school planning to release an album, but I did, despite the fact that the bulk of it was made during the most difficult months of swim season. I’m aiming high – I hope to one day make it big in the music industry, move out to LA. Until that becomes a reality I plan to keep improving as an artist, and keep making music, because it’s what I love to do.”
The album, released under the name Adam Oh, is a sort of melodic rap crossed with R&B – something you might hear from artists such as Post Malone, Lil Skies, and Bryson Tiller.
“With this type of music, the melody of a track is crucial, so I wanted to come up with melodies that were both memorable and unique,” he said. “In the melodies, I really wanted to play with the ups and downs in vocal pitch, and you can hear that come through most strongly in the verses on “Break My Heart.”
Orringer-Hau says songwriting is one of the best parts of the entire process.
“Once I have a beat that resonates with me, lyrics just start coming to me,” he said. “I love incorporating clever wordplay into my songs – it’s something that I enjoy picking up on when listening to other artists’ music. On certain songs (Love is Gone, Break My Heart), I wanted a more dramatic and dream-like sound with deeper, more meaningful lyrics.”
Lyrics are important to Orringer-Hau, who strives to create a story the listener can connect with and relate to. His approach is to play to how the beat sounds when writing.
“I usually start by creating a hook, something memorable,” he says. “For each song, I’d record the hook first, and if I liked the way it sounded, I proceeded to finish writing it.”
With these eight songs, Orringer-Hau has certainly created something that resonates and something memorable – for both artist and the listener.
Link to the album on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/2D7jLt31o4b1n0TugF6sy5?si=nv1s_HViTZqiAm5p29vjgA
Link to the album on iTunes: