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Best of both worlds: Drake athlete pursues passion for music, track and field

Business, communication, and kinesiology are some of the most common majors among college athletes. One not so common major? Vocal performance.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Upon first glance, you could probably tell Adam Phillips is an athlete, and you'd be right. He's a thrower for the Drake track and field team, but there's more than what meets the eye with Phillips.

He's a vocal performance major and has a voice as powerful as his throws.

"It's a very bass, baritone, resonant voice. It's big," said Drake professor of voice Leanne Freeman-Miller.

Phillips is from England and took to sports pretty quickly as a kid and eventually he took to singing as well.

Considering he came from a family of musicians with a culture that embraces the arts, it was bound to happen.

"My family, a good chunk of them come from Wales," said Phillips. "We have in our national anthem, in the opening phrase, 'It's the land of the singers and the poets'. So, it's sort of a very proud thing, [for a] Welsh person to embrace their singing side."

When it came time to deciding where to go to college, Phillips was forced to expand his search beyond his home country if he wanted to pursue both singing and track and field.

"In the UK, that wasn't going to be possible," Phillips said. "I could go to a good school for music or for track, but not really both."

That's what led him to Drake, where he's now pursuing both of his lifelong passions. Instead of choosing just one to pursue after college, Phillips is aiming to do both.

"That would be the ultimate dream," said Philips. "Travel the world, sing, throw and be happy."

In fact, he's got it all planned out.

"My aim is to the Commonwealth Games," said Phillips. "That's a big target now in 2026. There's obviously the '28 Olympics in LA, so that would be a dream come true. Then, after that, I'll be winding down starting to think about singing professionally. Hopefully full time at that point. If there's an opportunity to sing, and that could take me around the world, that would be fantastic."

Freeman-Miller believes it's definitely something he can achieve.

"When I heard him sing, I said you're going to be the next Bryn Terfel who is a famous Welsh opera singer," Freeman-Miller said. "I think Adam could be, actually. He's got the voice."

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