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Adam Cohen’s last name has been both a blessing and a curse. As the son of Leonard Cohen, the Montreal-born 39-year-old singer-songwriter was pretty much guaranteed an express pass to the major label world, which he employed swiftly, prompting a bidding war and likely making out handsomely from the signing.
That was 1997, when companies like Columbia Records (his father’s alma mater, and the label that would release Adam’s self-titled debut in the U.S. a year later) didn’t blink at a $250,000 music video budget or recording costs that hovered near the half-million mark. Neither did Adam, but when his album yielded only a modest hit, 1998’s “Cry Ophelia,” and commercial success continued to elude him for the next decade, a once bright outlook turned grim.
So he took off — internationally, that is, where over the last 10 years he’s built up a loyal and growing following as well as a career with more modest goals and expectations: to bring forth honesty in his music and a true sense of who he is.
The result: Like a Man, being released today (April 3) by Decca Records, a collection of songs from the last decade-plus which, Adam says, never made it onto albums because they either sounded too much like his father’s music or were least commercially viable. These are wistful, pensive, sometimes forlorn acoustic numbers that, yes, feel at times like the poetic Cohen patriarch and, dare we say, hallelujah for that because they’re simply stunning.
In what he says was his first U.S. interview in six years, Adam sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to talk about the promises and pitfalls of his tumultuous music business experience and how he lived to tell (and sometimes joke) about it.
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