Adrian Chalifour finds joy in life changes

West Coast artist to perform at Musiikki 

Adrian Chalifour to play concert at Musiikki on Oct 9 at 5 p.m.

Though Adrian Chalifour got his start in his local church, it was never where he saw himself long-term.

Hailing from Victoria, BC, Chalifour is stopping into Kingston’s Musiikki on Oct. 9 at 5:00 p.m. as part of his Ontario tour.

The artist’s youth was spent leading his worship team and singing, drumming, and playing guitar in church every week. It gave him confidence and taught him how to perform in front of a crowd, moving them with his music. Despite this, in his twenties, he started moving away from the institution.

“I stepped away from faith,” Chalifour said in an interview with The Journal. “I never saw my calling to be in the church. I always felt that I wanted to be doing something outside of church. That’s where I felt the most myself.”

He began playing by himself in Vancouver cafés, but the transition wasn’t as smooth as he expected. Playing in front of strangers in coffee shops was nothing like playing in front of his church congregation.

“I played my first show in a café and it was just a terrifying experience. It went horribly.”

Chalifour describes this show in the café as one of many nerve-wracking, unsuccessful performances at the start of his solo career.

“I got three chords into the first song and was sweating so badly, all my hair gel was running into my eyes, [they] were burning and I couldn’t see. I was forgetting all the words and my mouth was dry like I was sucking on a sock, but I battled through it.”

This period of nervousness and uncertainty led Chalifour to almost give up on music altogether.

“I basically wasn’t where I thought I would be with music and I didn’t know how to get where I wanted to be. I felt like I had failed to achieve the dream or the destiny of who I was meant to be,” Chalifour said.

That’s why, for a brief period in his twenties, he gave up making music and performing.

“I locked off that aspect of my personality. Unfortunately, it was a period that lasted four years of my life. I came out of that and got help and started going to counselling.”

This led to his return to music, and ultimately, a change of heart and mind.

“I told myself at the time that I had the agency to define my own parameters of success. Success was something that I was going to define for myself, it wasn’t going to be something people defined for me,” he said.

“In that moment I decided that my definition of success is creating music and sharing it. If I’m doing those two things, then I’m succeeding.”

This is around the same time Chalifour started his band Towers and Trees. As a constantly rotating group of musicians, he describes the band as “always changing.”

Since becoming a father in 2016, Chalifour’s tried to pull inspiration from the positive things in his life. His new album, Joy, is a fitting example of this. 

After all the uncertainty and struggle he’s faced while pursuing his dream, Chalifour is keeping his spirits up.

“I want to think about how I can share joy with my spouse, I want to think about how I can share joy with my bandmates.”

Where in his last album—2018’s Head Down / Heart Up—Chalifour was so focused on just getting through the tough times, the songs on this album were inspired by the stress he felt in 2016 when he was preparing to become a dad, around the time of the U.S. elections.

With so many major changes going on in his life and around him, he felt like he didn’t know what it meant to be a parent in this world anymore.

Now, four years later, the artist has learned from his daughter that there is still joy to be found in the world.

“There’s so much joy to be experienced and to find in even the most trivial moments.”

His decision to focus on the joy in his life wasn’t easy, but he’s pleased with it.

“I wanted to look back on this time, especially when my daughter gets older, and be able to say, I took some risks, and drew outside of the lines. I got out of my own comfort zone and tried new things.”


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