1883 Magazine

Born and raised in Brooklyn Adrian Daniel has always been surrounded by legendary Hip-Hop and R&B music from a young age. Starting out as a professional dancer and performing at Apollo Theatre and Brooklyn Academy, he soon started developing a real passion for singing and song writing and decided to leave his life as a dancer behind in order to focus on music entirely.

His previous album ‘Disillusions’ has received enormous support and anticipation by major platforms and industry figures. Now, the Alternative R&B singer has released his follow-up album ‘Flawd’, another project which boasts with stunning vocals and excellent lyrics. We sat down with the witty artist and had a chat about coming from Brooklyn, Skepta and hot grandmas at his show.

Who is Adrian Daniel? 

Adrian Daniel is a kid from Brooklyn, New York, that likes to tell stories with music and sonics that are as honest and as relatable as possible. In the best way possible. 

Coming from Brooklyn how has the musical legacy from there influenced you, considering Biggie and Jay-Z are coming from there?

That’s all Hip-Hop, there is a toughness coming from Brooklyn - you had to be real. They’ll call you out and realise when you are being phoney. It requires you to have this realness about it which comes to my music a lot, also the hip-hop sounds are in my music. But there are so many other things, there is so much culture in Brooklyn, the West Indian Parades are basically next to my house so growing up I’ve seen it every year. Also, everyone comes to New York, every nationality. New York is like a melting pot of everything. 

Which artists did you grow up listening to? 

Initially, my Mum used to play Michael Jackson, Prince and Steve Wonder but also a lot of Queen and Journey all the time. But also artists like Toni Braxton, it could be random. I heard a lot of stuff just randomly around the house. My godfather was Lionel Hampton, a jazz musician. He was famous for playing the vibraphone so when I was six I always had to go to his house and learn how to play it. We didn’t play games, I had to learn the vibraphone instead. My mum wouldn’t let me listen to hip-hop. 

So are those artists that you drew most influence? 

Definitely, especially Prince or Stevie Wonder. sonically, it is Kanye West. He has the biggest influence on me when it comes to that. But I could go on for days who I draw influence from. Tame Impala, Daft Punk. Tame Impala is one of my favourite bands, I met Kevin one time and geeked out. 

You started out as a dancer initially, why did you gave it up to dedicat yourself to music? 

Dancing was an outlet for me, it was never something I wanted to do as a career. I became a teacher, I was teaching at 18 at different dance schools and high schools, middle schools. It was a job, I was making a living out of it. When it started feeling like a job, I just wasn’t feeling it anymore. So I needed another outlet. My brother forced me to make music, he told me to write songs. I was so bad! I could sing though. Once I started doing it I really wanted to continue and became addicted to it. I knew how to sing from early age because my mum always told me to stop singing all the time, not because I was bad but because she didn’t want to hear it.  

What would your life look if you hadn’t chosen dance or music? 

Dance kept me out of the streets and out of trouble. If I hadn’t danced, I would probably do something reckless. Bad things. So that forced me not to be on the blocks. I never had time to do that because after class I had to go dancing. 

Who are your top artists to collaborate with? 

When it comes to London it’s definitely NAO. I adore her. But also Skepta. 


Yeah, I should reach out to him and slide in his DM’s. 

Is Grime popular in Brooklyn? 

Grime is definitely starting to become a thing, you can start hearing the influences for sure. I was on Skepta since two years ago. I was somewhere in Brooklyn and somebody told me ’Yo, you gotta hear this’, I think it was a photographer from AfroPunk who showed me. He’s from London actually. I listened to it and thought it was crazy! I nearly lost my shit! I’m a huge Skepta fan, I love Grime. I’m also a huge Dizzee Rascal fan. 

How would you describe your own sound? 

I guess I would say that you would find happiness in it. I was driving in an uber the other day and my driver was a old Russian guy, I started playing the album and he asked me who it was so I told him it’s some dude called Adrian Daniel. He was like ’that’s your name!’. But I just walked away and didn’t confirm it. But that’s the thing, even a 60-year old can enjoy it. It’s definitely a lot of energy, a lot of emotion. Just feelings. I love impactful music. 

What is your writing and recording process like? How do you approach a new song? 

It’s random, different every time. People go to the studio and write and record something but that never works for me. I had to be doing something. Either walking, talking or even this conversation right now, and a song would come up inside of me and I’d note it down on a voice note on my phone. This one time I actually used a voice note as a proper recording, not the best quality! But on the album, one of the skits is a voice note, I just mixed it myself. Just really random. 

So your previous album ’Disillusions’ gained you massive support, can you tell us the story behind the project? 

That was a labour of love. That was the first time I had to really think about what I was doing for the first time. When I sat down and really made that record it felt very deliberating. It was about how my life was at that time. I was living in this world where everything wasn’t as I thought it was. People, relationships, everything. You think it’s okay but it’s not, and that’s how the record came about. Also with the new record ’Flawd’....

Yes, tell us about that!

In parts of my life, growing up, I realised we walk around with these scars and baggage we carry on to different people and different relationships. We never really accept them and deal with them. We will blame people for things. But you gotta say, I’m not perfect either but that’s what makes me even. Accepting and dealing with that, and talking about it is what ‘Flawd’ is about. 

What has been the most memorable moment in your career so far?

I have high standards. Everyone could be like ’this is crazy’ and I’m like ’nah..’. No, but one time I had a show in Brooklyn and it was sold out. I was finishing a song and the crowd just clapped for like eight minutes. I just stood there and didn’t do anything, I was just looking and they didn’t stop clapping. That was a moment when my band and I knew we did something good. One thing about myself, I never allow myself to live in the moment. I’m always ten steps ahead. 

And what’s the most bizarre moment? 

There was a lot of weird moments! But one time a grandma came up to me and tried to holla at me. She was at the show and she was lit in the crowd. She was kinda hot though, if I only had been a few years older... So yeah, that was definitely a moment. 

What do you ultimately want to achieve? 

Just to be awesome as fuck. Whatever it is that I do. I’m really into architecture right now, design, buildings and all that. I am always gonna make music but I like to do other things as well. I have been reading a lot of books about architecture lately, and I’m also into interior design. So I was like, you know why not learn about it. And I’m gonna be awesome at that too! Just be awesome. If I’m gonna do something, I’m gonna do it 200%.

What is next for you after the album release? 

After the London shows and Paris show, and the album has been released we will be doing shows in the States. Like I said, it is gonna be awesome. We always have a plan but it never really goes after plan. Sometimes you wanna do this, but end up doing that. But we know where we wanna be. While we are there we are awesome as fuck! 

Adrian’s album ’Flawd’ is out now and you can listen via this link. For all his latest info head to www.adriandanielmusic.com

Interview Antonia Künzel

Photography Anna Urik 

Location Drink Shop Do, Kings Cross London  

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