Adrian Hibbs is a true artist in every sense of the word. Recently, when I was exploring his songs I quickly got hooked by his original funky style. Besides that, he’s a man with many skills, especially as a keyboard player. Well, after reading this interview article you’ll agree with me his music is cool, and his personal stories too.
1 – What was the very first instrument that you laid your hands on?
When I was about seven or eight my Grandmother taught me some boogie-woogie licks on a Casio keyboard I was obsessed with but it was the fourth grade where I joined the school band as an alto sax player. The competition was fierce lol but I made the band and had recitals thru out grammar school and junior high. I really didn’t get serious with piano until I was 16 and dreamed of going to Berklee College if music which eventually happened. I was self-taught on the keys so I had my obstacles in music school. Singing & writing came later in my 20’s after I left Berklee and moved to NYC.
2 – Was there a moment in your life that allowed you to discover who you are and enabled you to translate it into your music?
The high school I attended had a very large theater that I would sneak into. I loved setting the lights blue, rolling the nine-foot grand piano on stage and playing by myself for hours and hours. I miss that environment and it was a part of my life that definitely had a huge impact on me. I still enjoy exploring empty churches or old theaters and there is always a piano, hidden, waiting for my confessions. Looking back though I think that I knew I wanted to give people the business from a young age, always inspired.
3 – How would you describe your sound?
I’m such a sucker for the classic soul artists before me and over the years it merges with modern production… Kind of a neo-funk / soul mash-up. I tend to collab with people who share a divine love for Stevie Wonder, Prince, Earth Wind and Fire and a lot of bands from that era. As a solo artist, I have the ability to rotate chairs in my band. Also living in LA grants me access to some of the greatest players in the world and each of them has an influence on me and shapes the sound but if I had to describe its genre then “Feel Good, funky soul”
4 – What ideas were put on the table before producing your new single “Voodoo”?
Most of the time I start writing with a bass and drum groove. I had been playing with melody ideas for weeks and weeks over the two changes in the Verse (B-7 / Bbmaj7) and knew I was onto something but it was a hard range for me to sing in. I had my close friend Lex Sadler lay down some more bass for me and then the song kind of evolved on its own.
It was a bold move for obvious reasons but to the objective listener (who will enjoy the most) the feel of the instrumentation with the lyrical content made sense to title the track with the hook. You know that pull someone has on you? That’s their own Voodoo that they’re putting on you.
6 – How did you discover the talent of Myra Washington? Where did she record the vocals for “Voodoo”?
Myra and I first met during a recording session for a FIFA World Cup commercial that aired for the Brazil Games. We are also both session vocalists and played phone tag for about a year until our schedules aligned. When she came over for the first writing session last April I had a track in mind for her because Voodoo was actually taken by another artist (who will remain nameless) but I could tell the original singer ( for Voodoo) was not super excited about the track. When Myra heard it she stopped me and told that is was hers so that was that. Her enthusiasm won her the track in the beginning but she made it her own after we started punching her verses right in my apt in Hollywood. I made most of the track here then went to a few different studios to get the drums right and some final mixes then I sent it off to mastering back east.
I have been grateful to tour all over the world with some incredible artists and bands but most recent I have been stepping in as a keyboard player for an Australian band ‘The Intergalactix’. They are so much fun with a huge indie- electro/funk sound. I’ve been working with them for about two years touring both the east and west coast and Canada. The last time we went out to support “Strange Talk” also from Australia and every moment felt like a comedy. The border agents did not like us so we missed a few sound checks getting to the Toronto and Montreal shows but let’s just say what happened in Canada stays in Canada lol 😉
8 – What has been your favorite performance show so far?
That is a hard question. I can’t say I have a favorite because all the experiences are so different but the best shows are usually a product of a well-rehearsed band, I’m always more confident when I don’t have to cut parts live and make sure they’re playing all the parts that were written. Over the years my whole setup changed from just playing keyboards then singing, now I’d love to not play keys and just sing…. We’ll see, I’m nervous, the keyboard standing or sitting is a crutch on stage so I look forward to having a bit more freedom to move around a bit. I think my favorite shows will be in the future.
Believing that I have something to offer this world. It’s our job (as artists) to reflect what we experience in life and then report it back thru songs and live shows and it I feel extremely undervalued most of the time, I live for the moment, for the performance, the rest of the time is preparing for that moment which only lasts for about 40-50 minutes. You really have to mean what you’re saying because there is a lot of noise out there. I don’t want to feel like I’m adding art for art’s sake, especially since so many people are hustling their creative talents. Man, I could go on and on here but this is how I am feeling today, ask me tomorrow and I’ll vent about digital streaming or pop music (haha). Honestly, though, anytime I have that self-doubt monkey on my shoulder I ask myself right then and there “What the f*ck else is there to do?”
10 – What can your fans be expecting from your future releases?
I have another record with Myra “Silk Blue Birds” scheduled early May and then a few other artists I am excited to feature. Chenai out of the U.K. and Maiya Sykes to name a couple so I’m pretty busy finishing these other cuts. I want to get back to performing soon, I’ve taken a lot of time off to focus on production and it’s been a transitional period for me cause my performance was full time to a screeching halt since last winter. I really needed the time to focus on these songs but I’ll surface, soon.