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YouTube hit who was born to play guitar

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Adam Rafferty got a feeling for the guitar when he was in the womb.

His father would play it to his pregnant mother.

No real surprise that it has remained a constant.

The 47-year-old started playing blues guitar when he was 6. By the age of 12 he was a regular in a hard rock band; three years later he had his first gig, and was ripped off by a club owner.

He had a short stint as a rap artist at the age of 18. He's now a professional guitar player, having performed with a host of celebrated performers including The Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, LA studio legend Bennie Wallace and bassist Bob Cranshaw from the original Saturday Night Live band.

Views of his solo acoustic guitar performances are in the millions on video-sharing site YouTube. Mr Rafferty will perform on Saturday, as a headliner for the 13th annual Bermuda Guitar Festival. Lifestyle caught up with the musician ahead of his visit to the island.

What is your earliest memory?

When I was a kid my dad played his old Martin guitar for me — that's the original magic that turned me on to music. I remember the smell of the wood, the crispy sound of the steel strings, and my connection with my dad. Playing acoustic guitar feels like coming home to me.

Can you tell me a bit more about that?

There was never pressure to play. I always wanted to play the instrument — the smell, sound and visual became bound with the sensation of love.

What is it like to be “discovered” on YouTube?

It was exciting to have a whole new phase of my career unfold. Then, I started taking for granted how easy it was for a few years. I was lucky that I started early on YouTube.

Can you tell me a bit about the places you've visited? An anecdote from the road?

Germany the most — many concerts. Other than that, Italy, Switzerland, Barcelona, Bangkok, Singapore, Malaysia, Bermuda, USA, Scotland, Canada, Russia, Czech Republic, Finland and this year Kazakhstan.

The newest anecdote is coming into a hotel in Austria and falling in love with the girl at the front desk four years ago … I now live with her.

What other instruments do you play?

A little piano, bass and drums. Just enough to work on ideas, no professional level for performance though.

Who or what is your biggest influence?

Too many to list. Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Alexandre Lagoya, Julian Bream, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, my teacher Mike Longo, Tommy Emmanuel, Run DMC, James Brown — to name a few.

Tell me about your former life as a rapper?

It was a time that I was very discouraged about guitar and fell into being an entertainer totally by accident. I learnt a bunch of other stage skills which really help me now ... things that music school will never teach you.

•The Bermuda Guitar Festival runs Friday through Sunday at St Andrew's Church on Church Street, Hamilton. Tickets are $30. For more information visit www.bermudaguitarfestival.com

In full flow: Adam Rafferty will perform during the Bermuda Guitar Festival
Mr Rafferty will perform on Saturday, as a headliner for the 13th annual Bermuda Guitar Festival
Adam has performed with The Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, LA studio legend Bennie Wallace and bassist Bob Cranshaw

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Published May 26, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated May 26, 2016 at 5:10 pm)

YouTube hit who was born to play guitar

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