No Place Like Home For Adam Awad

Wanderlust reigns supreme on singer-songwriter’s debut EP 

Adam Awad
Sallie Pisch
By Matt Ross
Nov 05, 2013

ENGLISH-EGYPTIAN SINGER-SONGWRITER ADAM AWAD will finish up work on his debut EP this month. The 21-year-old, who has spent most of his life split between London, Cairo and Saudi Arabia, recently graduated from university, and is now taking a few months off to concentrate exclusively on Sheer Honesty, a five-track EP that will showcase his folk-tinged rock-pop sound. “I’ve finished recording the drums, violins, trumpets, things like that,” Awad says. “I have bass and a few other things to record. It’s quite exciting for me because it’s the first time that I’m recording full songs at a studio, as opposed to at home. I’m so used to sitting at home and doing everything myself. Now I’ve got friends of mine, who are session musicians, playing different instruments in the studio. It’s a big deal for me.”

The switch from home recording to studio time has actually been a boon to Awad. “I find the company quite motivating. It’s quite nice to be around other people while recording. The only thing is that it can get a bit stressful trying to organize when everyone is free. Everyone has full-time jobs.” Awad, however, has a few months to focus solely on his music. “I graduated in June, so I’m just kind of freewheeling it. I’m putting all my time into [the EP], because I need to be free to do this. There’s no plans in the immediate future, with regards to work. I’m just seeing how far I can take it, financially, with music. But I’m being realistic.”

Sonically, Awad is sticking close to the no-frills, rich acoustic edge that has defined his material so far. But, he adds, he’s also using Sheer Honesty to branch out. “The overall sound is quite varied. I’m exploring different sounds. If you listen to my music, it’s very heavily folk-based. But on the EP there are more rock influences.”

With track names that include “Not That Easy,” “Reminisce,” “This City’s Not My Home” and “Lonely Before,” the EP seems to find Awad in introspective mood. “That sounds right,” he says. “It’s quite gloomy actually. It’s got a few themes, but I guess it’s mostly about not knowing what you’re doing with your life. Not in a fumbling way, more in a kind of, ‘F*** it. I’m kind of excited. What are we doing right now?’ way. There’s also a bit of homesickness in it. A few songs about love lost.”

If there’s a sense of wanderlust in Awad’s material, it’s no great mystery where it’s springing from. “I’ve moved around my whole life, so I’ve never really settled anywhere I’ve lived. I’ve only ever been somewhere for three or four years at a time. But I feel like I’m homesick for somewhere that I still haven’t been to yet. I feel like there is a home for me that I’m sick for. But I’m not sure where it is yet.”

But rather than getting weighed down by the uncertainty, Awad is using that sense of restlessness. “I’m trying to make the most of it; trying to look on the bright side. I was thinking, ‘Why am I recording this in Cairo when I could be in London, trying out the scene there?’ But then I thought that recording in Cairo is extremely cheap, and I’ve got good friends here, really good musicians. I like the vibe of musicians here. It’s a positive environment in that respect.”

Besides, he’s got a few months before he needs to figure out what he’s going to do next. “My initial plan was to finish uni, go to the U.K. for the summer, find a job and then settle there,” Awad says. “But I’m here now, and I’m recording. Maybe at the beginning of next year I’ll go to London and see what’s available. But I have a feeling that’ll just keep getting pushed. I think there’ll be an excuse every time I come to settle.

“What I’d really like to do is pursue music in any city I choose to live in. Pursue my career as a singer-songwriter, or whatever it’s called, and see if I can develop fanbases wherever I live. But I’m not sure which avenue I’m going to take to achieve that. Not yet.”

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