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Adam Friedman Is Sweet and Soulful

The singer-songwriter talks about his first EP, collaborating with Mike Posner and the conversation he had during his last Uber ride

Born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, Adam Friedman always had his sights set on California. Los Angeles, California to be more specific. He arrived in Cali and immediately teamed up with “Ibiza” artist Mike Posner to make the summery single “Lemonade.” While riding the wave of “Lemonade,” Adam performed on The Today Show, Elvis Duran and even opened for Maroon 5 on tour.

The chilled out singer is not taking any moment for granted. “I honestly didn’t know what to expect from ‘Lemonade.’ I still don’t know what to expect. Having Mike [Posner] sing on the track was great, especially since ‘Ibiza’ was blowing up at the time. It’s been a great step in the right direction for me.”

Adam’s debut EP Green will be released on February 10, 2017. When asked about the sound of the EP compared to his singles “Lemonade” and “Pretty Things,” Adam said, “The lead single ‘What If’ has a darker tone. There’s edgier production behind it. I think the EP as a whole shows a wider range of… me.”

Adam spoke with DuJour about his musical roots, Hooked on Phonics and his recent Uber driver’s story that inspired him.

When did your musical career begin?

I was eight years old. We moved into a newer home and we had speakers in the wall, which was mind-blowing. We had just started to transition into CDs but we still had all my mom’s old vinyl records. She would play Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton and Fleetwood Mac. She was always playing music. My obsession truly began when my older brother started listening to Blink-182, Green Day and Third Eye Blind.

When did you start to learn how to play instruments?

I was a slow student at school, so my mom got me Hooked on Phonics. She took me to the store and I picked one out that had a cassette player on it. This way, I could listen to my music whenever I wanted. Once I got a guitar, after several weeks of begging my mom, I started to play my guitar with the music and learned I could actually record it. My mom only recently found out that I had recorded over all my Hooked on Phonics tapes. She wasn’t too mad since it’s working out for me so far.

Image Credit: Tynan Daniels

Tell me the story behind your single “Lemonade.”

Mike Posner was one of the first people I met when I moved to California. I started working with him on his album At Night, Alone. I would drive to his house in L.A. and we would jam. One day I had my strat and I started playing the chords of “Lemonade.” We both thought it sounded cool.

I sang the lyrics, “I went down to Georgia…” and then, in true Mike Posner fashion, after about twenty minutes, he just laid out the foundation for the lyrics. The only thing I really had to change up was “Carolina” to “California” to make more sense for myself.

What was it like touring with Mike Posner?

The Ninja tour was incredible. We had this RV and we just vagabond around the States. A funny story happened while we were touring. We made our way to Mount Rushmore. I climbed up on to this rock. It wasn’t a mountain, just a huge rock. I got up there and wrote the bridge to “Lemonade.” I was so psyched because I had been missing the bridge. But I quickly realized that I couldn’t get down from the rock. It was a treacherous thing. My guitar has a bunch of scrapes and scars from the trip down but at least I got the bridge.

What inspires you when writing lyrics?

I fell in real love two years ago. And then I fell out of love. She moved away and I had to accept that. This is so cheesy but, after falling in love and losing that, I learned that I have so much more to gain than lose.

There’s a lyric in “What If” that says, “I don’t need no religion, you’re enough to believe in.” There’s a lot of crazy stuff happening lately in the media citing differences that separate us as humans but I think if you can find something to believe in, whether that’s love, friends or your career, you can get through anything.

As an artist, do you ever feel the urge to express your stance on some of the issues that are circulating the media right now?

Absolutely. If I complain about something, I want to back it up with action though. I think the best way to articulate how I express my stance on political issues is from a recent conversation I had with my Uber driver.

My Uber driver was a refugee from Syria. He came to America to study music. He can’t go home because when you’re in a war-torn country, you get a certain allowance on your visa. He can’t go anywhere else. His whole family is back in Syria and he’s stuck here. I was really intrigued by his story so I invited him to my show. In my eyes, that’s me taking a stance. In America, I don’t close a door on someone. This guy just wants to learn music and be a part of something. I say, come on in, brother. When I stand for something, you can see it in quiet ways.

What is a band or artist that fans would be surprised to hear you listen to?

Sheep in the Rainbows. Just joking, that’s not a real band. My real answer is still going to sound fake. It’s an Israeli band that someone randomly introduced me to in high school. They’re called Infected Mushroom.

That’s not real.

They’re real! It’s really crazy electronic music. It’s like, hardcore EDM. If I’m going to go for a run and I play Infected Mushroom, I’m going hard. It gets me pumped.