Leonard Cohen, the legendary singer/songwriter behind “Hallelujah,” “Suzanne” and other classics, has died at the age of 82 on November 10. The Canadian artist never married, but he had two children, Adam and Lorca. Adam Cohen is a musician, with a handful of albums recorded during his career.
Cohen’s family announced his death on Facebook, with a plea for privacy during this difficult time. “We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries. A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief,” the statement reads.
Adam issued a heart-felt statement about his father on Facebook, confirming that Cohen was buried in Montreal.
Adam also has a son, named Cassius. His sister is Lorca Cohen, who has a daughter with Rufus Wainwright.
Here is a look at Adam Cohen’s life and career.
1. Adam Co-Produced His Father’s Last Album, ‘You Want It Darker’
Cohen released his final album, You Want It Darker, in October 2016. The 44-year-old Adam Cohen is listed as the acclaimed record’s co-producer with his father and Patrick Leonard, who produced Cohen’s 2014 album Popular Problems.
Adam is unlike other famous rock star children who try to escape their parents’ shadows. In a 2010 interview with SunLive, Adam said that his father has been “tremendously helpful” in his own career.
“He’s tremendously helpful,” Adam said. “Forget that I am his son. I was tutored in lyric-writing by Leonard Cohen and I had his sensibilities to draw upon… How can I consider myself anything but incredibly fortunate?”
You Want It Darker was a critical hit for Adam’s father and a commercial one as well. The record debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 chart with 25,000 albums sold.
In his statement on Facebook, Adam wrote:
My sister and I just buried my father in Montreal. With only immediate family and a few lifelong friends present, he was lowered into the ground in an unadorned pine box, next to his mother and father. Exactly as he’d asked. As I write this I’m thinking of my father’s unique blend of self-deprecation and dignity, his approachable elegance, his charisma without audacity, his old-world gentlemanliness and the hand-forged tower of his work. There’s so much I wish I could thank him for, just one last time. I’d thank him for the comfort he always provided, for the wisdom he dispensed, for the marathon conversations, for his dazzling wit and humor. I’d thank him for giving me, and teaching me to love Montreal and Greece. And I’d thank him for music; first for his music which seduced me as a boy, then for his encouragement of my own music, and finally for the privilege of being able to make music with him. Thank you for your kind messages, for the outpouring of sympathy and for your love of my father.
2. Adam Was Raised in Montreal & Recorded His Second Album in French
The singer was born on September 18, 1972 in Montreal. His mother is Suzanne Elrod, who split from his father when Adam was five. After she and Cohen split, Elrod and Adam moved to France. He also spent time in Greece and Los Angeles while growing up.
In a 2012 New York Magazine interview, Adam called his mother his father’s “crazy concubine” who is “every bit as much or more eccentric than my father.” He also called his childhood a “circus with two tents.”
“Hey, I’ve never been particularly prickly about it because I’m a fan of my father’s as well. I’ve always had an easy time celebrating him with whoever else wants to celebrate him,” Adam told The Guardian about being the son of a music icon.
3. Adam Almost Quit the Music Business Completely in 2007
Adam’s first two albums failed to chart. In 2004, the same year that Melancolista was released, he released Ex-Girlfriends with the group Low Millions. But three years after that, he was ready to quit the music business.
“I was miserable. I really felt like I had squandered time and resources and exercised poor taste and wasted my prime,” Adam told New York Magazine. At this point, he decided to really embrace his family and began singing songs his father wrote.
“I had his inner compass even though I wasn’t paying attention to it. I knew it existed and knew it was something that, should I be truly lost, I could refer to. And guess what? It’s precisely what I did,” he said.
At the time of that 2012 interview, Adam released Like a Man. It ended up going gold in Canada, but Adam knew that being a folk musician wasn’t going to make him rich. So he doesn’t make records for the money.
“If my kid had only my first three records, to see what his dad was up to and what his dad did, I would be embarrassed,” Adam said.
In 2014, Adam released his latest record, We Go Home.
4. Although He Was Raised by His Mother, Adam Says Leonard Cohen Was Always a Part of His Life
When his father’s new album was released, Adam was interviewed by The Jewish Journal and said that his father has always been a part of his life, even though he was mostly raised by his father.
“He was very much involved and made an incredible effort to stay in our lives. It was very impressive and admirable of him. When we lived in the south of France, my parents weren’t getting along and my mom was living with another man,” Adam said.
He added that Cohen wasn’t actually allowed to visit his home in France because his parents weren’t getting along, but they would walk to school together and visit Cohen’s home there.
“During the holidays, we used to go to Greece, where we felt the most at home,” Adam said. “Still, to this day, that’s the place we call home. Sometimes, when my father and I sit at a cafe, cigarette in hand and a cup of Ouzo, we feel like two Greek men.”
In that same interview, Adam explained that he has always known how famous his father was, even as a child. “I knew as young as 4 or 5 years old that he was an exceptional person and that he made a difference in the world,” he said.
5. Adam Recovered From a Injuries Sustained in a Terrible Car Accident When He Was 17
In a 2011 interview with The Guardian, Adam revealed that he was in a terrible car accident when he was 17 years old. At the time, he was a roadie for a calypso band. He broke his neck and nine ribs, and suffered a punctured lung. During the recovery process, he put aside music to study in college.
“But I don’t think I ever had any real intention of actually completing the course,” Adam said. “I’m an industrious busybody, sure, but I’m nowhere near as dynamic as I would like to be.”
Adam didn’t complete his degree and he joked that many of his subsequent endeavors didn’t turn out so well. But through it all, his father has been supportive.
“The guy has been tremendously supportive, always, but then that’s what characterises my old man,” Adam said. “He is abnormally generous, and it’s his sutra, his mantra, his practice to anticipate other people’s needs and to give them what he thinks they require. In many ways, you want him to take a load off, to relax, but he never did.”
In addition to working with his father on music, Adam has also worked as an ambassador for his father’s art for exhibitions.
Read more about Leonard Cohen’s children in Spanish at AhoraMismo.com: