(October 23, 2012)
You might think you know Cisco Adler. But you don't really know the one-time bad-boy of Hollywood until you hear his debut solo album. Until now, Adler's treated music fans to bits and pieces of his musical self through various projects he's produced or collaborated on, and of course through his notorious rock band, Whitestarr. But the complete picture of what Adler is all about is what he's poured out onto his debut solo album, ALOHA, which drops on October 23, 2012, on his own Malibu-based indie label, Bananabeat Records.
"This is the first time, after making music for so many people that I looked inward and said, 'It's time to do me. It's time to present my real self to the world,'" says the Maui, Hawaii, and Malibu, California-bred artist/producer/entrepreneur. "This record is the perfect entry point for people who have never heard of me to discover my music. For the people who have known me in various different vignettes, I think it really paints the complete picture. First and foremost, I hope people see that, I'm a musician. That's why I was put here, and that's what I wake up to do every day in my life."
Of course, for those following his prolific career, the artists he's worked with as a producer, writer, and/or collaborator over the years include hip-hop artist Shwayze, his first production/collaboration gig after Whitestarr disbanded after two releases in 2006 and 2007. Shwayze's 2008 self-titled debut album hit the Top 10 on Billboard's Album Charts, and his 2009 follow-up, LET IT BEAT, hit No. 3 on Billboard's Top Rap Albums chart, securing Adler's position as a hip-hop/pop producer to be reckoned with. What followed was work with a variety of artists, including Mike Posner, Mickey Avalon, Yelawolf, Wiz Khalifa, Unwritten Law, G. Love, Lil Jon, Mod Sun, and others.
"Even though it looks like I'm hopping all over the musical map – going from rock to hip-hop – it's really this natural progression," says Adler, who also produced and engineered the 12-track ALOHA. "The Shwayze project was definitely the missing link between Whitestarr and what I'm doing now. I don't think a lot of people know that I grew up on an island (Maui, Hawaii) from age 9 to college. This record is about recognizing where I came from, truly, and where I want to go. I'm paying homage to what really made me."
Since childhood, Adler's always had one toe in hip-hop, one toe in rock, and, as cliché as it may be, one toe in the sand. "I was obsessed with The Pharcyde and A Tribe Called Quest, and before that, gangsta rap like N.W.A. I started out wanting to be a rapper, like every white kid from the 'burbs, or in this case from the 'bu," he says with a laugh. "I'd spend hours every night making new beats. But then hip-hop started getting really watered down, and that's when I went back to my childhood roots of growing up around rock and roll and oldies. That led me down the path where I was like, 'OK, how can I fuse the two?' The one consistent thing is I've always made feel-good summer jams with a vibe, and that's what you get on ALOHA as well."
ALOHA's a homecoming party of sorts for Adler, who finally gets to fuse all of his musical passions and show his real childhood roots. "The island is just coming out of me on this record," he notes. Indeed it is. ALOHA features a mix of reggae, pop, hip-hop, island rhythms and percussion, and a hint of Bob Marley-inspired horns baked to perfection into 12 laidback summer (and post-summer) songs with a mix of special guests near and dear to Adler's musical heart. "At the end of the day, the hip-hop spirit of the album is that I started with a beat and a melody and then got this expansive collection of musicians to help complete the picture," he explains. "I think what contributes to the overall vibe of this record is that I wrote it at my studio in Malibu with no timeline, no pressure, just letting the music flow out naturally and focusing on making the best songs I could make."
Guest vocalists on the album include G. Love, reggae legend Don Carlos, G-Eazy, and Mod Son, while the eclectic array of guest musicians include the North Mississippi Allstars' Cody and Luther Dickinson, Slightly Stoopid's Kyle McDonald, and guitar virtuoso Josh Randy. Hit-making producer Jim Jonsin (Beyoncé, Kanye West, Lil Wayne) also lends a creative hand to the album as co-producer of "California In The Winter." Jeff Wooten, who has played with The Gorillaz and many more, also lays down some licks and a solo on "Tha Good Life."
"G. Love, who murders it on the first single, 'You're a Fool,' is one of my true inspirations as an artist, so to have him do a guest appearance on my record was huge," says Adler. "The song is about realizing what life is about." And what is life about for the artist these days? "You know, I'm not 22 anymore," he explains. "I met the love of my life and she influences me in a positive way. I have a different perspective on the world and it's not all about chasing women and partying. It's just living a good life. It's about being happy with what you have and not worrying about all of the other bullshit. That's what I want to ultimately get across. I'm in a real happy place in my life right now and I think it shows on this record."
The vibe of good living washed over ALOHA with feel-good songs such as the second single, "Boom Boom Boom" (featuring Don Carlos, G-Eazy, and Slightly Stoopid's Kyle McDonald). "That song came out in five minutes and is a perfect example of how easily the songs were coming out of me for this record, writing about two songs a day," he says. "It's just a classic island-infused hip-hop track. I wanted to make sure it bumped like a basement in Kingston." The third single, "Classic," is "just a classic summer song. It's a playful jam." "'California In The Winter' is one of the first songs I wrote for the record and I just wanted to get into the other side of Cali. She's a moody lover. 'Tha Good Life' is one of my favorite songs to play live because it's a feel good sing-a-long about living life to the fullest, finding true love, and enjoying the moment. This record was made for people who want to live life to the fullest," he adds.
Say "Aloha" to the real Cisco Adler!
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