R&B Artist Adrian Daniel: Determined to “Claim My City”
While growing up in East Flatbush and Brownsville, Adrian Daniel heard “all types of music playing around the house,” he tells Brooklyn Roads. Classic rock from groups such as Chicago and Journey were part of what otherwise was a heavy mix of R&B and soul (Anita Baker, Whitney Houston, Bobby Brown, Luther Vandross, En Vogue) “and of course Prince, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Lil Kim, Tupac and Young Jeezy,” he says.
As a performer, he tells us his influences range from rap (Kanye West, 50 Cents, Jay Z, Kid Cudi), R&B (Lauren Hill) and soul (Sade) to classic rock (Queen), Britpop (Coldplay) and psychedelia (Tame Impala). Living in Brooklyn has also nurtured and shaped his musical creativity.
“I live in a community surrounded by music and rhythm,” he tells us. “I live near Eastern Parkway where the West Indian Day parade takes place and I am exposed to a variety of Caribbean music practically every day.” At the summer music concerts at Wingate Park, he adds, “You hear R&B, gospel, funk and soul music. Then there’s BAM DanceAfrica, with the draw and power of African drums and dance, and also rap blasting from cars. This ongoing exposure has helped shape my creativity all my life as a Brooklyn native.”
It was only natural, therefore, that Daniel chose to record his new album, FLAWD, “mostly in Brooklyn, at [Greenpoint’s] Shifted Recording Studios, though there were a couple of songs recorded in L.A.”
He notes that while a great number of rappers and hip hop artists who call Brooklyn home are widely known beyond the borders of our borough, “most singer/songwriters, especially R&B artists, who come from families born and raised in Brooklyn have remained under the radar” — and he says he’s not sure why.
“It surprises me when people are surprised that I come from Brooklyn,” he tells us. “The last major R&B pop superstar born and raised in Brooklyn was Maxwell. That’s why I am determined to change this and claim my city.”
Toward that end he has released FLAWD, which he says reflects “another phase in my journey, my own self-reflection and self-awareness that help me realize my role, my choices in being in disappointing situations that Disillusion, the first album, touched on.” Every song on FLAWD, Daniel tells Brooklyn Roads, “helps me move forward past the setbacks, the discouragers, the naysayers.”