I first came across Ady Suleiman’s music off of a friend’s recommendation and instantly became a fan. His music is often described is ‘neo-soul’ and his smooth vocals arrest the listener upon the first few notes. Recently, Ady has supported Anne-Marie on her European tour and released his debut album, Memories. Here is what Ady has had to say on his sound, his inspirations and parting ways with Sony.
1. What got you pursuing music?
It was Jimmy Hendrix. He put me onto the electric guitar and the whole sixties culture. This eventually lead me to blues and jazz where I began experimenting with my voice and started writing songs.
2. Who inspires you?
Jimmy Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, James Blake, Sonder, Frank Ocean, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Chaat Baker, Bob Marley… the list goes on!
3. What was the first record you ever bought?
Will Smith – Big Willy Style. But the first record that was bought for me was the Back Street Boys album!
4. How was touring Europe supporting Anne-Marie? Where you a fan of hers beforehand?
It was amazing. She’s a beautiful and special person. It gave me a lot of inspiration [by] being around her and her team. It’s always a pleasure to be a part of someone’s journey. Her performances and live shows were incredible and the fans were amazing. One of the best experiences in music that I have had to date.
5. You were previously signed to Sony. How did you come about the decision to move on and release independently?
It is pretty simple when you realise you’re in a bad relationship. When you have respect and love for the other person but know you’re not going to get married and have kids. At the end of the day, we wanted different things.
6. You’ve spoken out about mental health. How did you get involved with CALM and what does that mean to you?
It’s hugely important to be working with an incredible charity like CALM. It’s amazing to think that I can be of assistance to what they do. Mental health to me is a natural thing as I deal with mental health issues every day. It’s a natural part of my life and therefore it’s a part of my music. If talking about mental health will bring relief to others then let’s keep telling the world.
7. Your music is often described as ‘neo-soul’. How did you find your sound and what makes it different?
It’s really difficult for me to define my music because I don’t have constraints when I’m curating. But my music’s only going to pull from places inspiration from genres I’m inspired by and neo-soul is one of the genres, along with soul, hip-hop, RnB, reggae, jazz and so on. The thing that makes my music different is my voice. Anyone who sings on their records is already going to have a uniqueness because no one else is going to talk or sound like that.
8. What can you tell us about your writing process?
There isn’t a process. I struggle with writing – it comes and goes but it’s worth it for when you get a special moment. I can’t give too many tips on this because I’m still figuring it out for myself!
9. You work with guitarist Ed Black. How did this collaboration come about and how does it work, especially when it comes to songwriting?
We went to Uni together [and] we were flat mates for a number of years – one of my best friends so everything is natural. When it comes to writing with Ed he will usually play me a chord loop on guitar and if I’m feeling it I will ask if I can use it and write the rest.
10. Congratulations on a fantastic debut album. What can you tell us about the making of it and what this release means to you?
Ahhh it was such a bizarre process and I think my over-riding feeling is relief that it’s over and the music is out. It’s a special record for me and I’m so happy with how people have responded to it. This will always be the start of my story and the first songs I ever wrote. It was a great chapter but I’m ready for the next.