Ady Suleiman doesn’t disguise his emotions. He doesn’t hide behind abstract lyrics or leave it to strings to suggest how he’s feeling. His frank, unfiltered, soul-baring songs offer more than an insight in to his life – they’re a front row seat to real situations relayed in real time, to conversations typically held behind closed doors, to self-confessions related out loud.
Memories, Ady’s extraordinary debut album, is at once intimate and universal. Whether backed by a band with brass and strings or stripped back solo, its dozen, story-telling songs draw you in with details that feel both familiar and intrusive. Whether singing about sex or self-doubt, describing relationships going wrong or right, examining his own anxiety issues or pondering his place in the world, the 25 year old can’t lie, to himself or to his listeners.
“For me, the most important aspect of writing a song is that people believe it,” says Ady. “If they believe it, they can relate to it. There’s no point pretending. I know I’ve done a good job when fans come up to me after my shows to say that my songs spoke to them.”
Musically, Memories is as restless as its writer. Vintage soul rubs shoulders with contemporary R&B. Songs dip in to reggae, jazz, funk and folk. Members of Ady’s six-piece live band breeze in and out. The setting is led by the story, delivered in Ady’s warm, conversational vocal style.
“I don’t decide in advance how a song will sound,” says Ady. “I go with my gut. I have eclectic taste – I grew up on everything from reggae to Hendrix to jazz. I love Frank Ocean and James Blake. The song is what matters. How I present it depends on the subject matter.”