Exclusive: Adrian Daniel embraces past through phenomenal storytelling

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As music evolves, it becomes more and more blended. Rappers becoming singers and singers becoming rappers. Adrian Daniel wants to keep it simple. An R&B artist born and raised in Brooklyn, NY the simplicity and vulnerability in his songs are what make Daniel stand out from the rest of the noise. HYPEFRESH's (@MEGBERB) had the opportunity to chat with Daniel about storytelling, musical influences and the one book Daniel keeps on his nightstand.

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HF: You’re known for being a storyteller as opposed to just a song writer. Can you tell us what story you’re trying to tell on your next album?

AD: I’ve been trying to tell this specific story for a long time and I’ve been learning every step of the way. I’m trying to make this book the way I want it to come out. It’s about two worlds. One’s the reality of things that don’t seem to be. You know the world seems to be one way, but they don’t ever come out that way in reality. So it’s a lot about what I see especially in life and love and relationships, you want them to be a certain way but it might not pan out that way.

HF: Your single, “Pride” has been getting a lot of good reception, can you talk about what story you’re trying to tell there?

AD: Pride is something that you should have. A parent’s love, but how sometimes we don’t notice how when things are missing our missing in our lives (like this love). We need to learn how to reciprocate this love to other people. For me, "Pride" just started out as me talking about my dad, and him not being there. So for me, as a man I have to really seek out what it looks like to love a woman or to interact with women, without a male role model showing me how to do it. Women can tell me how to do something (like my mom), but as a boy you really want to see another man show you what it looks like. And I didn’t have that. As a grew older, there were moments in relationships where I thought I could have handled it so differently but I never got that ‘training’ from my father. There was that duality, even though I had my mother showing me how to love, I still didn’t know how to love a woman.

"Pride" represents that type of feeling for anyone, those seeking how to love.

HF: Can you talk about your relationship with your producer Rudy Carino? How important is it to be working with someone who has the same vision as you?

AD: Yeah, that’s my best friend. We met in college, my first few days there. It was funny because we actually didn’t like working together at first. Well, it was actually more that we loved the same things but he was very ‘big’ and I was making a song in my dorm room. But now, the way we work is very cohesive. We produce together. I might tell him, ‘Hey, the chords should be like this, the melodies should be like this.” Then he might say, “I don’t know man.” Then we do it and he says, “Ah this is tight.” That’s how every song we made has happened. Sometimes he just knows, I don’t even have to say anything. He just knows what I want done. We just have a duality as brothers and working together.

HF: What artists influence you?

AD: Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, huge Prince fan. De’Angelo. Journey and Queen. My love for them is phenomenal. Jay Z. Kanye. As far as today, MGMT, I listen to them a lot. Kid Cudi. I love Kid Cudi. Bruno Mars. Frank Ocean, he’s like the god. He’s like the missing link in music.

HF: How did growing up in Brooklyn influence your style?

AD: Growing up in Brooklyn made me who I am. Especially musically. Bringing me up, literally. It has picked me up, literally. Without Brooklyn, I don’t think I’d be who I am and see things the way I do. It’s so multicultural here and I think that’s why my music sounds the way it does. I pull from reggae and then you go across the block and there’s a Jewish community. That’s why I talk the way I do and I write the way I write. It’s very harsh but it’s very open to everything. I just want to be able to change the way people look at Brooklyn as far as music goes. There hasn’t been a male singer come out of Brooklyn for a long time since Maxwell. I can change that for sure.

HF: What do you think the stereotypes are?

AD: They’re looking for the next big rapper. Don’t get me wrong I grew up on hip-hop. On Jay and Biggie and Raekwon and 50 Cent. But I think for me, a lot of people want me to be a rapper. There’s a fine line between hip-hop and rap. You don’t really know which is which. And same with pop and R&B. Everything sounds the same and rappers are singing, singers are rapping. I respect hip-hop and rap so much that I would never try to do something that I am not trying to spend time mastering. We need to respect that craft. I want to be timeless. I want my song to be so good that they’re playing it 20 years from now. I want to make something that lasts.

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Quick Questions with Adrian Daniel

Favorite Books and Movies

  • The Alchemist (I keep on my bed all the time, I've read it for times already)
  • Eyes Wide Shut
  • Training Day
  • Tron Movie (The visual aspect is incredible)
  • Any Sherlock Holmes book - I'm a huge fan
  • Interstellar
  • Fruitvalle Station

Quick Fire

What's one collab you want to see in 2016?

  • Frank Ocean / James Blake (that would change the world)

Best lunch spot in Brooklyn?

  • Tony’s pizza on Brooklyn Ave.

Beaches or mountains?

  • Mountains.

Favorite emoji?

  • That new one with the black face.

To hear more music from Daniel, check out his SoundCloud.

 Adrian Daniel

Adrian Daniel