Adam Yarger was going off script.
Whether they’ll cop to it or not, most people have a detailed outline stored somewhere in the back of their mind, the simple, three act structure that will comprise the movie of their life — and nowhere in any of the previews had the young man glimpsed himself working in the vicinity of the family business.
Yarger Precision Machining is a custom manufacturer of defense, high tech and commercial components based in Centre Hall. On any given day, an employee could find himself contributing toward the production of an aluminum motorcycle wheel hub or aluminum power amplifier housing for the aerospace industry.
It sounds, for all intents and purposes, like exciting work.
“I had no interest in it whatsoever,” Yarger said.
He has significantly more excitement regarding his upcoming engagement with the Grandstand during this year’s Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair, where he will perform as a full-fledged country artist at 8 p.m. on Aug. 20.
For the last two years, Yarger has been grinding away in Nashville, Tenn., trying to make a name for himself in an industry where proper introductions — at least with the right people — are a hard thing to come by.
“The first two years, I absolutely hated it,” Yarger said.
While he always had a sneaking suspicion that he would wind up as a performer, Nashville had originally registered nowhere on the young man’s radar.
He had been a wrestler — and a good one, too — from the time he was in kindergarten through his senior year of high school, when a series of concussions forced him off of the mat and curtailed plans for a collegiate encore.
Yarger spent two semesters studying kinesiology at Penn State before deciding that it wasn’t for him.
“I just wasn’t happy with what I was doing,” Yarger said.
Working at his family’s company didn’t change that, but it did give him the chance to regroup and put a little money aside to fund his next great ambition.
Yarger told his parents that he wanted to be a musician.
On some level he had always known that he was a performer. Yarger remembers jumping up and down on his bed as a child, singing along with his favorite songs.
He described his talent level as… Lacking.
Fortunately, people change — and Yarger now had several years worth of guitar playing experience to back him up. His parents were surprised but supportive, and the newly-minted musician made tracks for Nashville, the country music capital of the world.
And for the first two years, he hated it.
Yarger had grown up with a cornfield for a backyard and adapting to Nashville’s more urban environs would take some time.
In the interim, he had work to do. There is no set trajectory for making it as a musician, which meant that Yarger had to more or less figure it out on his own.
“The only thing you can do is just be positive about it and hope for the best,” Yarger said.
He played open mic nights, wrote songs constantly, and put videos of himself on YouTube — one of which even attracted the attention of a talent scout from the NBC reality series, “The Voice” – but the audition never amounted to anything.
Yarger has remained doggedly undeterred. His single, “Find Me Fishing” is available on iTunes and he continues to produce his own music videos.
It’s time consuming work but it pays off. The video produced for his song “Back Road” received more than 10,000 views on YouTube within a couple of weeks.
It’s the kind of single-minded mentality that he believes will be the key to his continued success.
“It’s definitely how bad you want it. You have to literally eat, sleep and breathe music,” Yarger said.
The musician, who has been attending the Grange Fair since he was only a year old, understands the significance of a spot on the Grandstand stage — which is coincidentally located roughly three minutes from his parent’s house.
“They told me that the Grandstand holds 5,000 people alone,” Yarger said.
This is a benchmark, not an ending. Yarger knows that there will be more transitions to come in his career.
“The door to opportunities after the fair could be enormous,” Yarger said.
IF YOU GO
- What: Adam Yarger
- When: 8 p.m. Aug. 20
- Where: Grandstand