Adam Cohen (born September 18, 1972) is a Canadian musician and singer-songwriter. As a recording artist, he has released four major label albums, three in English and one in French. His album We Go Home was released on September 15, 2014. Currently residing in Los Angeles, he is also part of the pop-rock band Low Millions from California.
He is singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen's son, and is also the ambassador of the Cohen family to art exhibits of Leonard Cohen Art, attending and doing press and media for openings around the world for his father's paintings and drawings.
Cohen was born September 18, 1972 in Montreal, but spent many years of his childhood living with his American expat mother, Suzanne Elrod, in Paris and in the south of France, after his parents separated. He spent parts of his childhood on the Greek island Hydra, in Greenwich Village, and in Los Angeles. Though he is attached to different parts of the world, he considers Greece to be his home. He taught himself to play guitar, drums and piano by age 12. He worked as a roadie in 1990, and studied international relations at Syracuse University. He moved to Los Angeles in 1996 to focus on his music career, after having lived and played in bands in New York City. The "song demo" that led to his signing his first record deal created a bidding war between Maverick, Capitol Records and Sony, Adam (then 26 years old) eventually signing with the same label as his father, Columbia Records.
He was signed by Columbia Records in 1997. He achieved some success as a songwriter for other artists. He co-wrote "Lullaby in Blue", a song about a woman who gave up a child for adoption. Bette Midler recorded it for her album Bathhouse Betty and described it as her favorite on the album: "I've never heard a pop song about a person who gives their child up and is missing the child... The first time I heard that song, I burst into tears."
His 1998 debut album was well regarded critically--Stephen Holden of The New York Times called it "grimly perceptive" and "a promising beginning". The album went on to produce a radio hit "Cry Ophelia" 1 which was well received and charted (Canadian radio charts in particular) but the project as a whole was not a big commercial success.
He decided to focus on French-language material and was signed to Capitol Records Canada, which released Mélancolista. Featured on this French language record is a popular duet with famous French actress Virginie Ledoyen (the song is entitled "Happiness" 2), evoking the well known duet between Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot.
Representatives from Capitol inquired about English-language material, and soon after being signed to a deal for his French album, Adam traveled to New York to meet with executives from Manhattan Records. He was signed to a deal after 15 minutes of a solo acoustic performance; the deal led to the Low Millions project.
Low Millions went on to have two charting hit songs at AAA radio in North America, with the songs "Eleanor" and "Statue".
Regarding the influence from his poet-balladeer father, Cohen has said, "He's tremendously helpful. Forget that I am his son. I was tutored in lyric-writing by Leonard Cohen and I had his sensibilities to draw upon. And I'm not just talking genetically. I could literally talk to the cat and he could lean over my notebook and point to a couple of phrases and say, 'These are strong, these are weak.' How can I consider myself anything but incredibly fortunate." In addition to his father, he has said that his musical influences include Randy Newman, Serge Gainsbourg, Prince, U2. He characterized his French-language work as musically distinct from his English recordings, the former being more "sumptuous and cinematic", and sounding like "Sade--if she were a Frenchman". In 2009, Adam recorded a cover of his father's song "Take This Waltz", which appeared on the benefit album War Child Presents Heroes.
In 2007, Cohen effectively quit the music business after deep disillusionment set in. Despite his having a few modest hits at radio and opportunities to tour the world, fame and fortune failed to materialize with the release of Cohen's three major-label albums,1998's self-titled debut, 2004's French-language Mélancolista, and 2004's Ex-Girlfriends, which Cohen made with his band, Low Millions. "I was chasing a sound that was not entirely my own," Cohen says of his pop-rock efforts. "My goal wasn't to be good, my goal was to be successful."
Cohen's latest album We Go Home was released in September 2014.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license