Adrian Daniel On Life’s ‘Disillusions’

At the start of April, Brooklyn based artist Adrian Daniel shared his debut LP Disillusions. It was a generous 15 track offering, delving into the depths of love and relationships, all while oozing his delicious modulated vocals.

Inspired by the likes of James Brown, Michael Jackson, D’Angelo and Maxwell, Adrian Daniel is a soul man. For an artist with such intrigue and a clear tale to tell, it’s only right we get the lowdown with Brooklyn’s latest singing sensation.

The evening was in full force in London, it was 8:30pm and 3500 miles away, it was 3:30pm. The all too familiar FaceTime dial tone starts, appearing on my grainy screen is Adrian Daniel. He’s into “movies and anime” and just likes to tell stories in his music.

Like most musicians, Adrian has that triple threat ability: singing, dancing and songwriting. As a trained dancer, Adrian has been dancing since he was six, “Dancing gave me a purpose and kept me off the streets, sometimes I wouldn’t want to go but my Mom wanted me to. It kept me focused and gave me purpose and disciple. Those same principles carry over into music”. That purpose eventually became a career. Before singing Adrian was a professional dancer, working as a teacher in a high school: “I was making a living, but I wasn’t satisfied, dance was something I did to get out aggression. One time I couldn’t balance doing music and teaching and it forced me to leave dance behind and focus on music”. It was in 2011 that Adrian’s brother told him that the music was something he should really do and eventually that’s what drove Adrian to do music full-time.

Since then Adrian Daniel has released a series of EP’s,  Memoirs of a Stoner in 2012, then Fkkking High in 2014. His debut LP Disillusions, is a direct calling to calling his reality and wanting to share that story with others. As a title, ‘Disillusions’, conjures up images of a pessimistic, almost bleak, yet entirely honest and real outlook.  In the flow of our FaceTime convo Adrian says: “Disillusions has always been my reality since I was a kid. You walk outside, you go to the internet, and everything is a disillusion. Take the internet – it’s innovative, I can talk to you on the other side of the world, but it has a dark-side, like cyber bullying. You turn on the TV and expect entertainment and you get Donald Trump or kids dying… It’s all a disillusion”.

We’re all defined and made up of a variety of factors, Disillusions sums up the weird and wonderful human experience. No one is really one-dimensional, I know I ain’t. Adrian adds, “There are days when I really feel what’s going on, or I look at my peers and they’re depressed. Or there are days when I’m super horny or wrapped up in my feelings [laughs] maybe I had too much drake that day… But everyone has different sides and it was important for to show these different sides when I was making the album”. 

One of Adrian’s favourite tracks is ‘Pride’, which has these distorted vocals with guitar hooks and a real funk sound to it. ‘Pride’ didn’t always sound like that, “Pride was a folk song, it was a folk song on a guitar, and my producer Rudy and I played it. Then the computer glitches up and it kept repeating and I felt it would be a dope song like that. You didn’t expect it, it just happened.” There’s also ‘Runaway’ – another fav of Adrian’s, that shows off his falsetto abilities, was made at the Converse Rubber Tracks studios alongside his band members. Adrian’s memories of making Disillusions is filled with little random and organic anecdotes that make the realness of the album, just that little bit more, real.

Being a singer in a musical period when a lot of listeners are only here for the dab can be a tough one. You go to live shows and more often than not, artists are singing on a PA, the live band element is lost. “Music is an experience” Adrian explains, “I always wanted to give a different dimension to my music when you see it live, so it’s not the exact same as the recording but a new flavour.”

Four years after taking that plug to leave a fledging dance career and pursue music, Adrian Daniel has the right mentality. As our conversation draws to a close, Adrian looks back on how far he’s come, “I think I just got better over time and I’m determined to do better than I did before”.  With music videos for tracks on the album to come, and a continuous work ethic of self improvement and development, it looks like Adrian Daniel will be one who’ll be around for a while.

Disillusions is available via iTunes here, and you can stream below.