Adrian Fullerwinder's voice commands your attention
Updated: Mar 14, 2021
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Greensboro, NC, and currently live in Charlotte, NC. I moved to Charlotte about five years ago to pursue a degree in music at UNC Charlotte.
Tell us about your family:
My father, Arthur Fullerwinder (who is 51 years old), was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina. My mother, Sharon Fullerwinder (also 51), was born only eight days after my father in Lynchburg, Virginia. They met while in the Air Force in Minot, North Dakota, where they had my older brother, Antoine Fullerwinder, who is 28 years old.
Where do you work?
Currently, I work part-time at a cool salad shop called CHOPT. I am also a tenor section leader at Selwyn Presbyterian Avenue Church, where I sing every Sunday. On occasion, I sing for Latin Masses at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church; all the music there is sung in Latin. It was a huge culture shock at first, but after a couple of years it became very natural.
What experiences lead you to where you are now?
Well, I went to Sumner Elementary in Greensboro, North Carolina. I then went to Allen Jay Middle School, and then graduated from Southern Guilford High School.
I began singing at church with my father, who is the minister, when I was younger. In middle school, I joined the choir where I sang my first solos - that’s when I started taking it more seriously. When high school came around, I was a part of several choirs and had a supporting role in the play Oklahoma, and the lead as “Tony” in West Side Story. While in high school, I began to compete in several singing competitions. I then began playing the piano and bass guitar in my church's worship band. I learned to play classical guitar at a local trade school. I continued with formal training at the UNC Charlotte Music Department where I had three separate voice teachers.
Do you play any instruments?
I mostly play piano; I learned from watching my dad play. I also play bass guitar, however I haven’t picked up a bass guitar in a few years. While in high school, I went to a trade school for a semester and learned to play the classical guitar.
What surprised you about your singing career?
Not many people I know are section leaders at a church or sing in Latin at Catholic churches. I know a few other people who are section leaders at their churches, but our numbers are very small. I didn’t even know it was a possibility until I moved to Charlotte for my studies.
How did you discover the opportunity to sing with these choirs?
I was at the right place at the right time! I knew a guy who parted ways with the music director and I was the only tenor available at the time.
Who is your role model?
My biggest role model is probably my grandfather, John Fullerwinder. He is not only a great vocalist - which is an obvious reason to look up to him - but he also was forced to be the man of his house at a very young age, where he became a very inspirational and powerful patriarch of his family. He also has many “children” that are not by blood but have been positively affected by his presence. To top things off, he and my grandmother were one of the first African American educators to integrate school in Danville, Virginia.
Any advice to your younger self?
I regret not practicing piano when I was younger because it would have made my college experience easier.
What challenges you each week?
Finding time to practice because my day job takes up a lot of time.
What do you like to do during downtime?
Cooking, working out, meditating, dancing, and video games.
What motivates you to keep going everyday?
I’m very passionate about music and the positive influence it has on other people. Music has always been therapeutic for me and it's rewarding when my music can do the same for other people. I am very passionate about helping people with mental and developmental issues. I am also very passionate about ending social injustices of people of color.
Who inspires you?
My family, especially my mom. She has always been a positive, motivating force within my life.
What do you love about the Carolinas?
I like the variety of terrain and the people.
Where do you vacation?
I frequently go to Myrtle Beach.
What are your proudest accomplishments?
My proudest would be when I was first runner up for Triad Idol! Another accomplishment that I’m proud of would be my very first professional singing gig at Mouth Holly Pentecostal Holiness Church.
How do you stay fit?
I love to run and play tennis on campus at UNCC.
Where do you see yourself retiring?
I want to be in a big city - I’m not sure which one yet - in a penthouse suite!
Favorite spot in the Carolinas to visit?
I like to visit various parks and any and every Taco Bell. I know it’s horrible for me but it’s one of my guiltiest pleasures.
Favorite TV series?
I enjoy watching the American version of The Office.
If money wasn't an issue, what would you do with your time each day?
I would record music in a personal home studio all day!