[ ART DECO WEEKEND >LIVE MUSIC ]
Since the beginning of his professional career more than 30 years ago, Adam Falcon has been one of New York City’s most sought-after studio and touring musicians, forming lasting musical relationships with some of the world’s finest musical artists … JONATHAN BUTLER, PHYLLIS HYMAN, WILL DOWNING, WHITNEY HOUSTON, SOPHIE B. HAWKINS, ROBERT PALMER, ROY AYERS, NONA HENDRYX, and writing and producing Grammy nominated songs and recordings with longtime collaborator, teacher, and friend GEORGE BENSON.
"I WANNA BE WHERE YOU ARE"
w/ Joe Scott (keys), and Ray Levier (drums) at Sully's Pub & Tiki Bar (Hartford, Connecticut)
Adam Falcon's Bohermian 959
SEEKING (AND FINDING) THE TRUTH
So many musicians spend their whole lives trying to “get there” and “make it," and in a way, Adam has actually "made it" twice. You could say being born and raised in the Bronx, with a mother from Harlem and a father from New Orleans, Adam was surrounded, taught, and nurtured by music.
In a time when New York was still gritty and thriving artistically, Adam was discovering music as any rambunctious 15-year-old would.
Tuning into WNEW-FM to hear innovative DJs like Rosko, Scott Muni, Pete Fornatelle ,and “The Nightbird” herself Allison Steele, and taking the same risks they once did, such as sneaking into The
Fillmore East to watch Sly and The Family Stone, his first concert experience.
From those days of watching The Everly Brothers, B.B. King, and Led Zeppelin in Central Park, Falcon had the musical energy of the city coursing through his veins. It became his soul; his passion and he wanted to translate that into his playing. He always new he could sing, but guitar became his gift news of his talent spread, first through the Bronx, and soon throughout Manhattan and all the Boroughs. At 16 he and his band recorded a record with the Drifters' Clyde McPhatter at Atlantic Records Midtown studios.
McPhatter died before the record could be released, but Adam's working in the studio didn't go unnoticed, and was the beginning of his becoming one of the city's most sought after session guitarists ... eventurallly working with Phyllis Hyman, Will Downing, Jonathan Butler, Sophie B. Hawkins, Roberta Flack, Arif Mardin, Robert Palmer, and George Benson, who an underage Adam befriended in Greenwich Village club he had snuck into to see his guitar idol play.
MEETING GEORGE BENSON
Between sets Adam approached George at the bar and asked if he could sit down and talk. George bought Adam a Rum & Coke, but said he wasn't a teacher when Adam asked if he would give him lessons. George relented when Adam persisted, and invited Adam to his house for a lesson. Turned out that George lived just a few blocks away from Adam, and the two became good friends and Adam studied with George for the next three years, until he moved to California after signing with Warner Bros. Records.
Adam also worked as a pit musician on Broadway, and it was then he had a significant chance meeting with Rick James.
After that meeting, the Grammy Award- winning James invited Adam to another recording session at Atlantic Studios. There, James was working on a duet with Chaka Khan, which was being
produced by the legendary Arif Mardin. Mardin and Falcon both shared an acquaintance with George Benson, and Mardin asked Adam to play and contribute one of his songs (and arrangements) to Benson's
new record he was producing. The tune, "In Search of a Dream" appeared on Benson's In Your Eyes album, that eventually earned a Grammy nomination.
Soon after writing this hit for the singer/guitar virtuous Benson, famed record producer Tommy Lipuma asked Falcon to collaborate with Benson a second time. Out of Prince’s Paisley Park Studio in Minneapolis came Falcon’s sophomore hit for Benson, “True Blue” on the album That's Right.
ERIC CLAPTON, LIZ TAYLOR, PRINCESS DIANA, AND AN EPIPHANY
Adam had "made it" as a songwriter and guitarist, but despite being know today as a "singer," to that point in his career, he had never been recorded singing.
Then one night in 1989, 30,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, on a 747 between London and New York City, Adam had an epifinay, and his second career was born.
Earlier that night, he was onstage with Jonathan Butler's band playing as part of Eric Clapton’s 25th Anniversary Concert at London's Royal Albert Hall. Backstage, as Adam said was "littered" with glamour. ... Elizabeth Taylor, George Harrison, Steve Windwood and even Princess Diana. “It was definitely a scene. Something by then I was somewhat used to ... the parties, the people, the five-star hotels, but this was over the top.
“At one point Liz Taylor was passing around her enormous diamond ring, and we were all trying it on ... It was a trip.”
Adam was indeed still flying high later that night on his return flight to New York ... having just been a part of such a scene, he could think of nothing other than his own life as an artist. As he streaked through the moonlit clouds and into the distance, he remembers that being the moment when he decided he couldn't continue as a side-man.
Newly married, and newly mortgaged, Adam did consider the risk, but he had been struck and the decision to follow his own calling had been made.
After completing that final tour with Jonathan Butler, Adam walked away, from the glamour, the money, and the travel. Most importantly he walked away from other people’s artistic vision and proceeded to find his own.
A PAINFUL SEGUE
Adam considers it the "right" decision, but it wasn't without pain. The financial struggle in the beginning did cost him his first
marriage, nearly his house, and did throw him into the most lonely period of his life ... he couldn't help thinking about the exotic travel, the big stages, the adoring fans, and the glamorous life
he had left behind, Adam was in his most disillusioned state, but he knew he had "truth" on his side.
"At that point, it didn’t matter that I had “made it” as a guitar player, and that I had done all those things ... starting down a new path, I was like any other struggling young artist, back to square one.
Adam spent years at home, and in small clubs in and around the city, honing his songwriting and singing talents. He produced a couple of EPs (Piece Of Mine and I, too, am colored, in black and white), and received praise from his big-name musical friends, fans, and critics alike.
FINDING HIS OWN VOICE
After seven years, Adam released Bohemian 959, and to him, the record represents his "true" artistic voice. It is also "true" to call
it honest Rhythm & Blues, sung with all the honest soul we first heard out of Motown, Donny Hathaway, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, and Bill Withers.
Bohemian 959 (named after his boyhood address in the Bronx) captures the true pulse of New York City, back to the day Adam was first inspired to pick up a guitar.
“I was going for a live sound, with an old school feel," Adam says. "Like what you hear in the streets of the city ... Every song tells a personal story. I wanted a positive note to be the thread tieing the record together, and I'd like people to come away with nothing more than a good feeling ... No need to get too heavy or esoteric."
The choice Adam made to walk away from the "fame and fortune" is one he will always reflect on, but will also know was right ... and TRUE.
“Just the other day I got a call from a "famous" friend asking me to join her band for a world tour. I paused for about three seconds before I answered "thanks, but no.
"I knew it would take me away from what I've always been working for, which is what I now have."
After many exciting years supporting others, Adam Falcon is now his own musician, and importantly lives comfortably with his lovely wife and two young children in (of course) New York City.