A Brooklyn native, Adrian Daniel‘s sound has been compared to greats like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, and modern artists The Weeknd and Frank Ocean. Propelled by a constant stream of ear-catching music, which have garnered features on Spotify, Tidal Discovery, VIBE, Complex, The Fader and more, Adrian has built impressive momentum that culminated in the release of his debut LP “Disillusions“, which dropped April 1, 2016. The project was a therapeutic storytelling endeavor for Adrian about things he’s encountered in life that are supposed to be perceived as good but in actuality are not.
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Mike O’Keefe: Describe your hometown a little bit. How is it growing up in New York City?
Adrian Daniel: I’m from Brooklyn, New York. Growing up here was really interesting. It’s a melting pot of everything. There were times, I grew up in the hood, so you had your dangerous moments. It also made me really tough, really strong in order to do what I do now and be confident in it. I owe a lot of who I am with where I’m from.
Photo courtesy | Roman Königshofer
MO: That’s cool, because I can understand where you’re coming from where you always have to be on your toes. You can apply that elsewhere. That’s cool. What is the first destination that comes to mind when you hear the word “vacation”?
AD: Paris is chill. I went one time and it was amazing. I’ve got to go back!
MO: What’s the first thing you try and do when visiting a new destination?
AD: Try the food. That’s probably the first thing that I try and do. I want to know if there is a difference in the food then here in the [United States] — how it tastes.
Photo courtesy | Gacabo
MO: Definitely. I always feel that when I travel somewhere and they had something that I would never eat at home, I probably eat it there.
AD: Yeah! Right? Me too man. I went to London and I had a pot-pie kind of thing.
MO: Like Shepard’s pie?
AD: Yeah, and it was terrible. It was like gee this is not what I thought it was going to be! It wasn’t what I thought at all so.
MO: Yeah you definitely get to experience some things. If you could perform or record music anywhere in the world where would you choose?
AD: I would want to record by the beach somewhere. In the Bahamas in a beach house maybe — record the whole album in a beach house. That would be tight.
Photo courtesy | Ricardo’s Photography
MO: Yeah, warm weather. Just completely secluded. Perfect place for creating.
AD: I did see this one place though. I think it’s like Costa Rica? It’s a treehouse in the forest. I was like, “I would definitely record and album in that.”
MO: That’s sick. Where do you pull inspiration from when creating music?
AD: Everything really. The scenery. People. Basically everything I really come in contact with or come across seeing. A lot of the times it’s my environment, where I walk outside, talk to people and see what’s going on. It could be two people fighting in the streets or two people kissing in the streets. That’s really where I pull my inspiration from. And, a lot of movies!
Photo courtesy | Bert Kaufmann
MO: Hell yes, everything in front of your eyes. That’s cool. At the end of the day, if you could take all your family and friends to a destination to live where would it be?
AD: Dang, you really ask some great questions. I would have to say Rome. When I went to Rome the people there were so nice. It was these really great people. The food was amazing. The architecture was amazing to look at. To be inside of it and be around it was truly amazing. Or, Africa. Probably Africa, because I’m from Africa.
MO: How does music and travel fit together?
AD: Everything. I think music is how we travel. When we go anywhere, on a bus, on a train, in a car, on a plane, we always listen to music. We went to have music for that trip. You’re trying to feel a certain type of way getting some place. I think it’s very important when you’re traveling to have the right kind of music you want to hear to get you through it. To keep you awake or to help you sleep. Whatever really helps you in your trip.
MO: Yeah, it was funny. The last time we were on the plane I completely forgot my headphones. It was the worst. I had to get those cheap headphones that made the flight horrible. Even something down to that makes it worse.
AD: Yeah, but it was still better than not having any music at all!
MO: That’s true, exactly.
AD: If you don’t have music it’s like, “What am I going to do for the next two hours?”
MO: What does seeing and experiencing different cultures mean to you?
AD: It’s everything, because I feel like that’s part of living. That’s part of understanding people. As a musician, as an artist I want to make sure that my music and art is not just for one type of people. It’s for everybody. You have to experience those different cultures and people to understand, relate and talk to them. I think that’s very important for everybody. It helps us be closer as people.
Photo courtesy | Jonathan Leung
MO: Absolutely, and with music being universal they go together perfectly. That’s cool. Is there any destination that you haven’t been to that you’ve got to see?
AD: For sure! Japan, I haven’t been to Japan. That’s one place I know I have to go. I have to go for sure.
MO: I would love to go there too. It would be worth the flight for sure.
AD: Yeah, I’m an anime fan, so I’ve got to go there. I have to see what it’s about. I’ve got to be there in the center of it.
MO: I hear you on that. Lastly, what’s the next trip? Are you playing any shows?
AD: We’re planning a tour right now. I’m trying to, I really want to tour overseas. We’re trying to figure that out now. We’re definitely going to make that happen.
MO: Sick. We’d love to catch you at your shows in New York. Good luck!
AD: Definitely. When we get the dates we’ll shoot them over to you!
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For more on Adrian Daniel’s album “Disillusions” click the album art:
Cover photo courtesy | Ryan Plett