Solo Musician Interview: Adrian Cohen

Adrian Cohen Photo

What Instrument(s) do you play, if any? And how long have you been playing your respective instruments(s)?
I play the piano, and I’ve been playing it for close to 12 years now. I sang on my first 3 albums, but now I just sing background. This is my first album where somebody else sings lead.

Who are your biggest influences?
I would say Elton John is my biggest influence, since he’s never away from the piano when he performs, and also, he writes music and his partner Bernie Taupin writes lyrics, sort of like how my dad and I write songs, with him writing lyrics and me doing music.

 What song(s) do you remember most from your childhood?
“Something” by The Beatles (#24 on 1) I remember what # every song is on nearly every CD that I own. I used to listen to that over and over when I was 3. I used to put the CD in the CD player myself.

 Do you perform covers and if so what’s your go to?
I do tons of covers. The cool thing is that I play the vocal melody on piano, too. I have a bunch of go-to songs, such as Come Sail Away, Light My Fire, Hey Hey What I Can Do, Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, and Limelight. As you can tell, I like a lot of classic rock.

 What genre of music do you consider your work to be?
Overall, I’d say pop rock/indie alternative, but I’ve done a mix.

 Do you have a process for writing your songs?
My dad usually writes the lyrics first, and then we sit together at the piano and I would come up with music to put into the song. Other times he would have me sit at the piano and come up with the melody and music on my own, and then we would talk about it later on. Then we would go into the studio and record the piano, my scratch vocals, drums, and bass in one session, and later on, after several days, we would talk at home about what other instruments to add, and then put them in at our next studio session by midi. My sound engineer plays the guitar that you hear on the tracks. The last step is to have my Berklee College of Music classmate, Josh Witt, re-record the lead vocals. My upcoming album is the first with him singing lead.

 Have you released any music yet, and if so how has it been received?
I have released an EP and three full-length albums so far. I haven’t made a whole lot of money from them, though, mainly because nobody buys music nowadays, but rather they just stream it. The EP had a couple songs that got onto Grammy ballots, but no nominations. I had a couple of Xmas songs that got played a little on the radio. Every album I make has a Xmas song on it. Actually, the current one has 2 Xmas songs because I release a Xmas song every year, and this album took 2 years to make instead of one. It took longer because I’m in college now.

 Are you planning any music releases for the near future?
My next album, Jinx, comes out on March 8th 2019.

 If you have released music, where can fans to be find it?
Streaming services everywhere, along with iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon. A lot of my released songs have videos on Youtube.

 Do you have social media, if so please provide links?





Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite venues?
Venues I’ve performed at include the Bean Barn (formerly called Indigo), the Bebop, Stadium Theatre, the Red Room at 939 Boylston St. I think the Bean Barn is my least favorite of those because they don’t have any pianos or keyboards, meaning you bring your own. Plus, I think actual pianos sound a whole lot better than a keyboard. The best venue I ever performed in was the living room at 20 Forthlin Road in Liverpool. A few years ago I went on a trip to England with my family, and we did a tour of John and Paul’s childhood homes. They let me play a few songs on the piano at Paul’s house!

 Do you have any gigs in the near future, and if so where and when?
Probably open mic nights at Berklee and/or the Bebop.

How do you balance your music with other obligations?
School usually comes first, which is why it took 2 years instead of 1 to make my album. I still work on new songs in my spare time as well as school breaks.

 Following on from that question, what has been your biggest challenge as a performer and have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so then how?
I would say singing was my biggest challenge. I never had a professional-sounding voice and had trouble finding people to sing for me. Now that I’m in a school with a few thousand musicians, I was able to find a fantastic singer. Josh is a voice principal who can easily sound like one of the Beach Boys or the lead singer of AC/DC. I actually took three of my favorite tracks from my third album and re-recorded them with Josh singing. And now they are bonus tracks on my upcoming album.

What advice do you have for beginners?
Work with other people. Find what you’re good at and keep doing it. Find people who are good at things you aren’t good at and work with them. Slowly try to get better at the things you aren’t good at.  

 And let’s end with something a little different…Which famous person, living or dead, would you have dinner with and why?
I would have dinner with Stevie Wonder because I love his music, and I think it’s amazing how he is able to make all this music and tour and stuff without vision. I have always wondered how he manages to do this, too. Also, I’d like to talk to him about his key changes, which I think are pretty cool and I have done that several times in my music, too.


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